End of Summer Update

End of Summer Update

Finally got a minute to sit down and give an update to a very busy and exciting summer…  Early summer started off with a couple big National Walleye Tour events on lake Winnebago and out of Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin.  Winnebago was a last minute deal that I hopped in as a co-angler, which is something I had never done before.  I drew and got to fish with Tom Keenan and RJ Hardwood.  It was a great learning experience to sit on the other side of the boat and watch these guys go through the thought process and decision making I am doing.  Both guys, incredible anglers, did not have the days theyIMG_5324 were hoping for, but it was still a great learning experience for me.  I wanted to co-angler this event because I knew how versatile the Winnebago fishery is in terms of variety of techniques: lots of pitching, jigging, pulling flies, shallow water bites and all other kinds of things I don’t get to do at home on Lake Erie.  That’s exactly what I got to do and I picked up a lot from 2 of the best in the industry on that body of water.  Thanks Tom and RJ.

Next it was off to Sturgeon Bay with my rig for a full week of practice and my normal thing fishing as a pro.  I was real fired up about tIMG_5341his tournament after coming off a top 5 up there last year in the NWT.  Practice had its ups and downs, mostly the ups being when we had wind blowing against the Eastern shoreline of Green Bay, much like it did last year in the tournament, I did real well.  When the wind wasn’t blowing, the only bite I could find was in the ‘mud’ in the south part of the Bay.  The problem was that it is a huge area that fish just constantly roam, and it seems like you almost have to stumble into them.   They’re weren’t that many fish there either and there were a ton of tournament boats fishing those fish, lots of competition, and I believed it was going to be hard to win the tournament there.  I had heard of a bite, tough one be it, up in the north part of Wisconsin waters and in Michigan by casting lipless cranks and swimbaits.  I tried and never got it going.   So when gameday came around, of course we had no wind…  But my mentality was that I had to try that eastern shoreline where I had caught tournament winning fish.  I tried and it didn’t happen, I needed that wind.   After a try each day, I ran down south to the mud and tried to grind out a pay check.  The first day I got a couple nice fish, second day it didn’t happen.   The guys who won and mostly finished in the top 10 were all on that casting bite up North.  Lesson learned, work harder on that casting bite in practice!  Hats off to the guys who figured it out there, you kicked my butt!

So after that NWT, I had to take my frustration out on some Lake Erie hawgs and run some charters.  TIMG_5764he fishing this summer has been different and outstanding in the same way.  I have hardly spent any time this year chasing walleyes in much more than 40′ of water, and I haven’t been out on the Lorain sandbar once!  What?  I would have never believed that if you told me in spring, the only thing that could cause that was if I were in prison.  Thankfully that is not the case!  The shoreline bite from 15-35 fow has stayed strong all year from Lorain all the way to Fairport harbor.  Its nice to cruise IMG_5431out and be setting lines within a mile or 2.   Big fish are around, but they are becoming fewer and far between as the fish from the 03′ are mostly to the end of their life cycle.  But the amount of fish from the 14′ – 15′ year classes is mind boggling.  I have never seen anything like it.  The future of Erie is bright, very bright.  The fish from the 14′ year class are mostly 15-17″ by now and fun to catch casting.  Limits of these tasty fierce creatures have been easy to come by.

News early summer broke that the 2017 National Team Championship will be held out of Lorain, OH here on Lake Erie.  This is an event that you need to qualify for through various club tournaments throughout the season.  The NTC is then a big money team format tournament that is always something you want to be a part of; especially when its in your own backyard.  Coming into this seasIMG_5736on, I didn’t really have any specific plans of fishing qualifier events for the NTC until I found out it was on Erie.  After finding out, I had to get in.  So I took a crack at it by fishing an inland lake event in August with friend Dan Johnson.  This event was held on CJ Brown Reservoir with the Western Ohio Walleye Club.  In order to get in, we would have to be the top team in either day of the 2 day tournament; they were giving away 2 NTC
bids.   Turns out we swept everything in the tournament, winning each day to get the NTC bid, then winning the tournament itself, and winning big fish pot both days of the 2 day tournament!  Mission accomplished.  It was a tough bite tournament for everyone, but Dan and I worked very hard each day casting jigging spoons, shiver minnow, puppet minnows, and lipless crankbaits on submerged structure in this reservoir.  I love this style of fishing and need to make an effort to do more of it in the future.  It was nice to get back to winning ways after a tough 2016 season in the NWT.

Perching has really picked up here in the later part of August and I expect it to be great all through the fall as it IMG_5787usually is.  Using my Lowrance HDS 9s matched with the Aqua Vu camera make finding perch super easy, its almost like cheating…

Also winding down now is a hot bite for steelhead over in the Wheatley and Erieau areas across the pond.  We made a trip over there and hooked into a few silver bullets.  Since that trip early August, fishing had gotten considerably better and guys are regularly getting 20+ hookup days.

Coming up: more perching, fall night bite and derby, and aIMG_5607 family trip to the Cape Hatteras in the OBX, the Starcraft and big game saltwater gear are coming with, expect some more exciting and regular updates here on my blog in the near future…

Cheers,
RB

IMG_5622