11 2009 »

I do this when I’m desperate

I do this when I’m desperate

The dock talk is no one has been on the water for the past 3 days due to wind and rain. From the looks of Pelican plenty of rain fell north of Devils Lake during the passing storms. I’m struck by the contrast from last week when water was clear and warm looking. Today the water is 66 degrees and very dark. The kind of water that says tuff bite. We have absolutely perfect conditions otherwise. Low 80’s with sunshine and a light wind out of the south. My favorite wind when fishing walleyes on cranks.

Yesterday wind was pushing water under the bridge into Pelican with a 15 plus south wind. Today, with lighter winds, Pelican is pushing back and the contrast in water is apparent. Pelican just looks cold and dark, maybe it’s just me but I don’t like what I see.

First pull is along a ridge in 15 feet and ends in nothing. Next up is another rocky ridge that comes up as high as 12 out of deeper water, nothing. Off to a couple of sunken humps that top out in the 12 foot range. The second island gives us our first fish and Jesse, my oldest, gets his picture taken. I have two Bomber 24’s down and a mixed bag for the other two lines. Before long I even get in the action with our best fish of the day. While that may sound like good fishing it is past noon and past time for a change.

We head back under the Highway 19 bridge and make our first stop at an outside corner. Yesterday Jesse and I spent the day on the lake talking to tech support. No GPS. Geez, I had no idea I couldn’t fish without GPS. I’m not kidding, I have become so dependent on mapping I don’t know where to start. I felt lost, where do you go without a map? Thankfully by late afternoon we got the unit working and with that began to catch fish.

Outside turns are what I turn to when I’m out of places to check or just learning an area. In fact I’m certain I would catch more fish if I forgot most of my spots and simply used the map to pick my locations. This particular outside turn got us 6 fish yesterday but today only gave up one keeper. We stayed too long and then pulled the shoreline but nothing doing.

By now it’s apparent if things don’t change we are going home with a pretty light load. With no idea where to head next I decide to follow my heart and check out the north side of Grahams Island. I do this when I’m desperate. Ask for help I mean, tune in and see if I have a connection and then follow. For some this is second nature but I’m more of a do it by the book, follow what I know about fishing type. Maybe a balance of each would be better.

On the way across the lake I spot a likely looking location on the map. Yep, another outside turn. I have driven over this location 15 times and never given it a second thought. Today it catches my attention. We change depths from 12 to 15 feet and begin pulling toward the outside contour. Five hours of fishing netted four walleyes and in two minutes we jump up to six with a double. In fact we are at nine before we realize we need to count fish.

Best spot of the day by far. I pass on the GPS Hot Spot whenever I have something I feel is worth checking out. Keep in mind they are only a place to check, not a magic formula for filling the livewell. If you don’t have Google Earth take time to do the free download. It’s really helpful to see the location from a bird’s eye perspective. It takes all of those obscure numbers and puts them into a location on a map complete with a picture. Well worth the effort.

I’m sure you know the story of the last fish. We went straight to 9 and then spent the next 30 minutes straining for the finish line. We did get there though with a short, plump, Devils Lake, shrimp gorged walleye. I saved some of the goodies for an inside look. From the looks of the picture one of today’s catch was eating little northerns for afternoon break. Don’t you love it when an underdog comes out on top?

Much of what I learn while fishing is a result of some negative experience. Ranging from coming in last in a tournament to GPS not working, there always seems to be a lesson. In fact over time I have decided it’s the negative lessons that stick with me. Maybe cause they seem to turn into a positive experience later. Certainly was the case this time.

I think next season I will try to implement two new strategies. Since I know I can’t fish without a map I will start depending more on my map to pick new locations. Not run to old locations right away, be more adventurous and use the map first. Second, I will start depending more on help from God, not run to old locations right away, be more adventurous, use His help first. You know, ask and you will receive.

To view other reports, pictures and Google Earth GPS locations please go to: www.ndlive.com

Courtesy of Greg Schoneck of ND Live, Wet and Wild

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