Walleye… One Hell of a Predator

Walleye… One Hell of a Predator

The fall night fishing this year has been outstanding over the last month or so.  With a unseasonable warm autumn so far, El Nino in the forecast, and water temps in the mid to high 40s still, the great fishing could continue for at least another few weeks.  The shoreline from Cleveland to Marblehead is all good with key areas being near the river mouths and warm water discharges that attract bait and the big predators.

One of the highlights of this fall for me was the Cleveland Cold Water Classic on November 21st.  It was blowing 25-35mph out of the southeast and switching all the was around to the west/southwest during the tournament that ran from 3:30-10:30 that day.  We started off fishing around the Cuyahoga River Mouth with no luck but great marks on the Lowrance Electronics.   This was an open communication tournament so my buddy who was down by E.55th called to tell us the bite was ON right away.  We fired the Merc 25ohp and zipped down there in no time.  Right off the bat the fish were snapping.  It was daylight, and they were hitting short leads 10-20′ on Perfect-10s and Husky Jerks.  Typically more of a lead and bait we would use at night, but I wasn’t about to argue with the fish about how they were suppose to wait until after dark to bite on that program, we went with it.  We were fishing out in the open water between the shoreline and outer break wall and catching just OK sized 5-7lbers.  This was a 3 fish tournament and we needed a big one.  From most of what I had seen and heard over the fall, the shoreline anglers were catching a bigger grade of fish and the closer I got to rocks or structure, the bigger the fish were.  So I snugged up against the steel wall over by E.55th right along the shoreline and POW!   Board went back on a clown rogue and we popped a 9lber, that’s more like it I thought!   After it got dark, the wind started screaming and shifting west.  The bite totally died in that area.  We moved around a bit, boat pressure started to get to the fish, and it was time to make a move.  With the wind screaming, this area inside the breakwall was one of the only protected areas to fish, so a lot of the 50 boat field took comfort in grinding it out there.   Not us…  My Starcraft is not built for protected areas inside the breakwall.

We fired the Merc and ran back to Edgewater, and started working the rocks on the west side of the river leading up to the mouth.  With the strong southwest winds, there were HUGE waves crashing up against the rocks that our boards were bobbing around in.   All by ourselves too, something I really like in tournaments.  As I was approaching the west light at the mouth of the river, my boat was in 5-7′ troughs and I had to make a bit of a turn into the waves to not get smashed into the steal wall in 50 degree water.  My electic motor or kicker just couldn’t do it, so I fired the Mercury 250 to turn us out a bit, it was unbelievable the washing machine we were in, and how violent the water was as the waves were crashing off the wall, and slopping around.  I was just able to make the turn out without my boards hitting the wall.  Outside board maybe just 4 feet of the wall and the husky jerk was only 15′ behind that.  Since I was turning, that board had to be sped up considerably, its almost surprising that just of load of the increased speed, turn, and sloppy 5-7′ waves didn’t snap the 10lb XT line down to the board, but no it didn’t…  Instead the bait got wacked and we were hooked up, unbelieveable I thought.   It turned out to be the biggest fish of the night for us at 9.5lbs.   I was kind of in awe that a predator fish could be in that water and hit a bait like that.  To me its be the equivalent of trying to trying to eat a chicken wing on a Cedar Point roller coaster using chop sticks only.   It made me stop and think about what a hell of a predator and species the walleye is.    It makes sense though, in that slop and those waves, the smaller bait fish are all disoriented and the walleye is still capable of controlling itself and attacking in that water, so it makes for a good ambush point.   No coincidence that it was our biggest fish of the night, big fish don’t get that big being dumb and weak.

Our 3 tournament fish weighed 26.53lbs and got us a 4th place check in the 50 boat field.  I want to thank my great tournament partners for this, Jason Bond and my brother Kevin Buddie, you guys were studs in the boat and were a great helping in making team decisions that led to this.  I also want to thank my boat buyer Craig who actually let me use his/my old boat that he had officially bought a few days prior to fish this tournament.  I love that boat, and it was great to send it off to a great guy with some good tournament mojo.