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As I turn the last page of the “SLIP’S 2017 LOGS, STATUS AND STRATEGIES” log book on an astounding year of angling… I think back on the initial strategies and goals for the year. I wanted to tag at least (4) Trophy Master Angler Panfish and that would include one thru the ice which would be a PB using that method. I ended up with 2 trophy P.Seeds thru the ice with a PB at 9.8" as well as(13) total Master Anglers thru the rest of the open water season!

To accomplish this feat I would greatly scale down my presentations to micro lite equipment… rods, reels, lines and baits. Careful considerations of lines were incorporated into my methods which would not exceed 2# mono diameter…and super lines that would approach 8# test or above to handle the trophy quality of fishes sought.

I would also aim to make my time on the water more productive by timing the trips with solunar periods… majors and minors on New and Full Moons. I've discovered big fish follow the moon… period! 2017 proved that especially considering the hard water Ice Period. I was on the big fish spots on the peak periods and it paid off!... BIGly!!!

I think I coined a phrase “Fishing for the Numbers by the Numbers” by incorporating all methods and strategies to gain my odds on the water for numbers as well as numbers of trophies. By the end of the day and all the numbers were tallied for 2017 I broke many records for the Master Angler Program in at least 2 counties.

I’m hoping for an even better season for 2018 and success for the fishermen following BBG!


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20180420-~~<")))))><(---*Cold-Water Period*--44°

20180420-did a little scouting today…

I was not impressed... since I always stow tackle in the vehicle at all times… (ya never know when an emergency arrives!) … I stopped at a few local shoreline spots that offer the premiere early fish activity meters in my area. The earliest fish activity  is measured at these spots accurately … after ice-out these are my earliest go to spots… throw a slip/float with a waxie or long/cast a little minnow/jig combo… hookup… fish are in. very simple equation.

There was no action today… I threw the go to baits and no hits. Just to test. Usually the fish are in with visible minnow activity in the sandy shallows… nothing… no visible life. The ice and snow melt off is a bull in the china shop indicator this is not the time… too early! Water temps at the most near mid 40’s with the melt off

Still thinking though a deep vertically jigged ice jig/waxie combo would be the ticket at the first break off the flats at 9 to 10-0’ levels….I need the boat for this to happen. Soon though the launches will be in shape and accessible.

Today with the great weather however I mark as a pivot point on the calendar in weather activity… winter/ spring transition I feel begins here.

Soon enough… soon enough I’ll be on the water scoring tags.

20180421-~~<")))))><(---*Cold-Water Period*--44°

20180421-took a walk to the bridge to take a pulse of the reservoirs current condition… water temps etc. I of course took 3 long-cast/UL jigs set-ups with me to test the bite. As I started to take a temperature reading with the digital thermometer the battery died… but I’m guessing with the rapid snow and ice melt-off and ice and snow still on the bank water temps would historically read in the mid to high 40’s.

A great forecast ahead with sunshine and seasonal high temps we are headed for a fast warm-up into the water temps in the 50’s very quickly along with some fish activity.

with 20 mins casting during a major period i concluded no fish were present in this stretch of water presently.

20180422-~~<")))))><(---*Cold-Water Period*--44°

20180422-Opening Day

I decided to gear up and head to a local lake to test the waters for the panfish bite. Looking around winter evidence of ice is still present against the north facing foundations of the houses and garages and I’m going panfishing?

Looking at the solunar tables we were sitting at the lowest activity of the month at 13%. I would be fishing the lull approaching the major period. Today the weather was the trigger to get me out on the water.

30 short mins later im in the water scanning the shallows looking for the schools. Main lake body temperature was a cool 49° some calm shoreline waters broke the 51° mark where I started fan casting without a bite. This skunking went on for about an hour without a bite or signal from a fish.

During this skunking 2 other locals in their boats joined the pursuit and they seemed to be experiencing the same lack of success. I then started scanning with the side imaging looking for any sign of life. I then looked for them along the first and second breaks. Looking for schools of crappie would have been the easiest to spot on this lake… there are many as well as Lepomis. The search revealed nil.

Many times while out on the water during negative periods I would usually occupy my time by being productive in other ways like visual runs of the shorelines and contour mapping… just to keep me out there till the next solunar period.

At one point I started checking my phone for messages and position on the solunar graph while letting the boat drift slowly in one of the lakes shallow bays. Checking the surface temp on the sonar unit registered a blistering 53°. Just then I startled a large school of panfish in mere inches of water. Backing quickly out with the trolling motor I positioned the boat within easy casting distance to the bank.

I quickly rigged up the slip-float /fly/waxie setup and sent it to the school. The first cast was splashed on top of the school apparently alarming them sending the immediate shallows into a boil.  After repeated attempts with the rig ended with the same result the float spooking the fish in such shallow conditions.

I then started long casting the 1/64 oz jig/waxie combo into the school and started immediately hooking up which included the first fish/B.Gill of the season. I then let the jig settle to the bottom dead sticked it as well as a twitch and hop and increased the pace of tagged fish

After a short period in a flurry of fishing action I tagged 26 fish just over a Michigan limit and called it a day. In that mix were some nice mid sized B.Crappie and PSxBG hybrids in the lunker class… very nice.

I was able to recover the trip successfully by being persistent and adhering to a few basic early season principles. Fishing the warmest water, fishing tiny baits and fishing shallow. I missed the fish earlier in the trip fishing the same area but not shallow enough apparently.

A memorable opening day.

Highlights of the trip

fist fish/gill of the season

nice b.crappie

…lunker hybrid

…Lunker B.Gill

…virtual livewell of the trip... all CPR'ed

20180423-~~<")))))><(---*Cold-Water Period*--50°

20180423-Cold Water Period is on Fire!

this trip was to find my most recent pattern of “fish on the bank” on a public lake. Reason?... Master Angler trophy-sized fish are not eligible for Master Angler recognition when caught on a private lake. The first main goal is to tag the fish but we want them to count as well for the record.

With sun, above normal temps, and light winds we selected a public lake I’ve had very good luck on last year.

The solunar game plan was to be on the lake at 12:00 for the Minor.The period starting at 12:47 and leave sometime during the following Lull.Period

Once launched I noticed 54° temps at the bank, not a bad jump from skim ice and snow on the ground just a little more than a few days ago. Another thing noticed was an empty public launch parking lot. It is truly amazing the percentage of fishermen hang up their rods this time of year.

We headed out straight away to a waypoint we historically tag good sized B.Crappie early in the season on this lake. The spot did not disappoint. In a short period, we tagged several quality B.Crappie with 5 of them being lunker status. Earl leads the pace with 13” class bruiser sat a 93% Master Angler Rating.

Having a good feeling about this particular little stump field we decided to temporarily move on and let the spot rest for a bit. Earl mentions out loud he feels a Master Angler or two are definitely in the area. As we move away from the spot I side-scan the area and notice multiple fish in between the stumps.

We moved on casting tight to the bank and got a mix of Lepomis and B.Crappie in1 to 2-0’ of water. We were tagging combination of swim jigs or jigs and bait. Then Earl tags a Master Angler Monster B.Crappie stretching the tape to 15.5” on jig nite crawler combination. WOW!! I haven’t seen a B.Crappie that sized since I was 16 years old!

We tried slip floating but with little or no results.

The bite cooled down tight to shore so we moved back to the stump field and noticed schools of neutral fish just below the surface near the boat. I could literally touch the B.Crappie with the tip of the rod before they would move. Now that is a neutral fish!

We called it a trip in the middle of the Lull.Period.

The lunkers, as well as the Master Angler fish, caught measured this trip as an obvious success.

20180423- The Trip's Solunar Breakdown

20180423-Highlight reel of the day!


20180423-Lunker B.Crappie

20180423- another lunker Lepomis

20180423-congrats Earl on the Master Angle B.Crappie!

virtual live well collage... all CPR'ed

20180423-nice day fishing the minor period

20180425-~~<")))))><(---*Cold-Water Period*--50°


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