Do you love big bluegill?
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!
20181025-Near skunking in the Cold-Water Period
Checking my logs it was hard to believe it’s been over two weeks since I have been out on the lake last. In that period of time a fisherman easily loses contact with the pulse of fish activity on the BOW. We have made the quick change of summer like temps in early October to near winter like conditions at night currently.
We are now in the fall Cold Period historically my worst seasonal period to fish. Quantity and quality of fish are at the yearly lows. Much of this period is unfishable due to transition of soft to hard water. Many years I will lose an avg of up to 2 months of actual fishing due to this transition.
Estimating water temps in the mid 40’s I knew the bite would be tough but I didn’t think I was going to take a beating… near skunking… with only 4 fish in the boat in just over 3 hours worth of fishing time spent. This beating took place on a lake I have easily tagged over a hundred panfish in a single day several times this season!
It is certainly a tough time to be out on the water. If fishing was good there would be more fishermen out on the lakes. Like today I had the whole lake to myself.
Weather was good… sunshine and very little breeze with air temps near 50°. I layered up with sweats and took my ice suit.
Once on the water I confirmed mid 40’s for water temps and crystal clear waters.
I was without my sidescan imaging HOOK2… great tool for finding tight schools of fish over wide areas. At the time I was confident in my way points and knowledge base of the lake.
I did a perimeter check In the crystal clear flat waters in the shallows near my waypoints and found no fish activity whatsoever. One lowly crayfish was the only sign of life in many yards of shoreline of visual check. It was going to be a tough day I thought.
My first area of fishing was an expansive area of wooded flats with projecting stumps… scattered weed beds or better described as patches were noticed.
Two slip float/fly/waxie setups were immediately employed as I fan casted the area in between with micro-jigs and crappie swim jigs… nothing.
Moving on I encountered the same pulse… negativity! I was on a Major.Major and striking out! I projected casts tight to cover in less than 2’ FOW and encountered a scrappy 17” class LMB on the slip/float/mousie-fly/waxie. The LMB got me out of skunking status and I moved on after zeroing out on any more tags.
Moving to a shallow expansive bay i made long casts with the slip/float/mousie-fly/waxie setups and detected no activity… long casting the Lil-Minnow proved futile.
After a long period of time I started working my way back to the boat launch still determined to find fish … any fish. I noticed a dimple along a line of stumps in 8 FOW/weeds on the flat water. I over shot the dimple with a long cast slip/float/mousie-fly/waxie and ended up with a lowly 7” B.Gill. Excited to find any activity I worked the area thoroughly and tagged a nice P.Seed with the long-cast/.016 oz Simple Spider jig.
The bite fell off so I decided to scan the creek channel with down scan imaging and sonar. I discovered a tightly packed school of small to medium sized fish. Vertically jigging the school produced a 7” single Y.Perch on a tiny tungsten waxie tipped micro jig. 4 fish in 4 hours… very tough outing.
I started back to the launch after scanning more channel area and deep flats coming up empty.
One of the main purposes of the trip was to work the newer jig and fly ties. I was completely satisfied with it’s action under the float and the jig on the cast… I have a good feeling it will be a top producer for next open water season.
20181029-~~<")))))><(-*Cold Water*--38%/Mid 40's
...looking to fill the gap on warm weather day to get some fishing in... intra-month solunar percentage FAL is at 11% ... very poor for fishing ... i will hit the Major.Period in the mid afternoon... i dont expect much given the low water temps.
20181031-~~<")))))><(-*Cold Water*--11%/Lwr 40's
...looking to fill the gap on warm weather day to get some fishing in... intra-month solunar percentage FAL (Fish Activity Level) is at 11% ... very poor for fishing ... i will hit the Major.Period in the mid afternoon... i don't expect much given the low water temps.
20181031-so the purpose of this trip would be multi faceted accomplishing a few goals with the serviced depth sounder as well as getting a few minutes of fishing in.
The last day of October would be nice to tag a certificate fish… would be a first for the October month and is a long shot. October, November, December, March are the elusive months for me for the certificate fish…. Most of the time is wasted during open water to safe ice transition… last year was a total of 4 months of no safe fishing!
Once in the water the temp registered a blistering 42° at shore... away from the shoreline kicked up two degs.
One of the goals to accomplish today is to get some sonar logs completed in some shallow flats without the weed congestion associated with the warmer seasonal periods. Some of the lake that needed to be logged and mapped showed some fish in the magic 6-12 foot range. I logged 0 fish out in the deeper flats. I marked waypoints where I saw the schools and continued mapping to fish later.
Since this was a new replacement unit for my faulty sonar I wanted to thoroughly run it thru it’s paces, buttons and features before the ice settles in for the hard water period.
After the logging of lake remainder I rigged up with some of my favorite micros and slip/floats and headed for the waypoints.
No matter what the presentation… even dropshotting I could not entice a strike in about an hour’s time… wow! An could be an official skunking! I see the fish on the sonar but they will not bite… given I was on a lull period between a Minor.Period and a Major.Period on a 11% FAL day… I fished up the leg of the Major.Period hopefully to end the skunking at hand but ended up empty.
Going in on this trip I knew that fishing would be tough but I needed to finish up on that lake map and test the replacement sonar… I honestly cant remember a date of a skunking in my history of fishing! Especially for panfish!!... this lake also gave up many 100+ fish/trip totals for me in the past.
This only consolidates affirmation of the Solunar tables and strategy for me for fishing success. So combined solunar low for intra-year (Cold-Water Period) as well as intra-month low at 11% for the day and some fishing during the Lull.Period and Uptick Major.Period resulted in poor fishing for the day. i knew this going in
Knowing what to expect on days like this per solunar tables I don’t rethink my strategy s or presentation… I didn’t do anything wrong or pick wrong lure colors and choices… my methods are confirmed and I have faith in them...it’s all in the tables
20181118- Big Pred Loses Microlite Battle While Fishing For B.Gill Long-casting the
Micro-Jigs for B.Gills I come into an occasional Big-Pred taking the bait to be fought with Micro lite rods and reels. I hold an advantage… my microlite reels are loaded with super lines very thin in diameter but 4 to 6 times the strength of mono with greater knot strength. The below video is a segment of a controlled drift over 6-9’ of water varied with weed patches and open water… the bottom is covered with 1-2’ of Starry Stonewort. If the fish reaches the weeds they are typically gone with 2# test.
Watch how I defeat this 4# C.Cat on Micro Lite Equipment by not giving an inch just the bend of the rod. The reel is loaded with 4# NanoFil but seems to test just a bit stronger maybe 6# mono equivalent.
The fish was brought to net in just over a minute.
Fish was tagged 2010925
I thought I would post a video on tying the “Mousie” tipping fly… hey it’s one of my first videos of fly tying… give me a “LIKE”.
20181121- (from last fall)... During most of the season… I can come to this isolated spot and tag some nice fish including Small Mouth Bass. After a handful of casts around the perimeter of the bridge and rubble and rip-rap along the bank I tag a nice one under the bridge with a 1.5” swim bait mounted on a 1/32 oz jig.
20181122-finally see some normal temps coming in the short term forecast… up here in the tundra of mid-Michigan we have been thrown into transition since mid October since this Polar blast continues to linger.
El-Niño in the forecast for the rest of the winter supposed to deliver above normal temps and below normal precipitation… we will see.
Currently the pond out back has over 3” of hard ice pretty much equivalent to some small natural lakes I fish. A drive to the local reservoir appeared to be about 70% iced over… wow I have never seen safe ice this early in the year.