13 inch Jumbo Perch – 16 inch White Bass
13 inch Jumbo Perch – 16 inch White Bass
If you come from the west like I do, living in Minot, the first big section of water is Pelican Lake to the north and to the south the Minnewaukan area. Moving east is Grahams Island followed by Six Mile Bay. Next up is Creel and Main Bay which finally gets us to the City of Devil Lake. So far we covered over 25 miles and we are only half way there. East Bay is up next and on the eastern edge is my destination, EASTBAY CAMPGROUND. Still have some lake to go, East Devils Lake, where the action is!
Let me introduce you to Bill and Valerie, owners of the campground. I’d say big, in a lot of ways, but mostly big in the sense of service, hospitality and care. We were on a drive around the camp when Bill noticed a guy coming in from fishing. After a quick yell out the truck window, “Want me to back you in?” he bailed out and helped the guy load his boat. I think he knows everyone here personally which amazes me. His wife Valerie, on top of holding two jobs, bakes a terrific cake. I know, since in my first hour here I was invited to supper. ND hospitality at its best. If you like attention you‘ll like Eastbay.
Tom and I met at the ramp just after morning radio. If you are not listening to ND Live, tune in every Thursday to KFYR am 550. With radio over till 12:55 we head out for East Devils Lake in anticipation of a repeat performance of yesterday’s walleye limit. Very light winds again today with light overcast makes seeing the weeds easy. Something that is important to me, since for the first time in my life I’m fishing weeds on purpose. I fish weeds a lot but never planned. You see I’m a crank guy and all weeds do for me is foul up a perfectly good set of crankbaits and mess with my patience.
One more first ever is Berkley Gulp. Fishing guide Mark Bry early this season introduced me to the 3 inch minnow in white and suggested I give it a try. It found a place in the bottom of a tackle locker which is where it stayed since. Don’t like the stuff even though several others have given it 5 stars for spectacular performance. I just don’t catch fish on Gulp so I don’t like it.
Change is good they say and I may be coming around. We are pitching into weed edges and open pockets with jigs and Gulp in 12 to 13 feet and I’m having the time of my life. When I get tired of pitching I can simply vertical jig right at the boat and get the same results. Walleyes are hitting it hard and after a little careful selection we have 4 in the boat. Tom and I make our first move to one of his secret locations and after two casts and a couple of missed fish I’m fighting something that don’t feel like a walleye. That’s cause 13 ¼ inch perch fight different. How I love this lake!
More walleyes and more fun and for no reason, we make another move to pull cranks. We motor past a group slip-bobber fishing and the lady up front may look asleep but when a bobber goes down she goes up. With the form of a professional the hook is set and Mr. Fish is in the boat. 10 minutes on the cranks is enough for me. Where is that Gulp, we got weeds to fish.
Next move, same story only bigger. Too bad too, since we already have our 10 in the live well. It’s a good experience releasing fish bigger than our keepers. Give it a try if you haven’t, and see if you don’t like the feeling. I know you will like the results. Conservation benefits us all. We are still on the same pattern with Gulp. Just to test the theory I grab another rod and hook on half a crawler. The test begins. Live bait verses Gulp. After the 3rd fish on Gulp I put the live bait rod in the locker. Geez Louise, I don’t believe it! Why have I been so stubborn all this time? Think of all the fish I could have been frying. Do you suppose I’m this hard headed about other things besides fishing? Nah, no way, not possible.
I mentioned to Tom I sure would like to get a photo of one of those legendary Devils Lake White Bass. He suggested a shoreline and we moved up to 7 feet pitching into shore but never made the big haul so common for DL. After two more moves it finally happened. Would you believe 16 inches and that ain’t even a real big one! Cripes I keep walleyes smaller than that. Dog Days of August, don’t you believe it.
I’m having supper with Tom tonight. Same old story, fish for the second night in a row. Tom even cleaned ‘em while I flapped my lips pretending to busy with important stuff. Two days at Eastbay Campground and I already feel like family. You’ll like it here, even if it takes a day or two to get used to all the attention.
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Courtesy of Greg Schoneck of ND Live, Wet and Wild