Author Topic: Good days and bad offer lessons on lake  (Read 2289 times)

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Offline RGecy

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Good days and bad offer lessons on lake
« on: April 23, 2009, 11:18:45 AM »
Mike Frisch
Published Friday, April 17, 2009


Every year when the open water-fishing season ends I like to look back and evaluate. I make note of the fishing trips where lots of fish were caught and the reasons they were successful, but also look at the less successful days and try to figure out ways that could have made those outings more successful. Here are some ideas I generated from my 2008 reflections that can maybe make for more success in 2009 for me and other anglers as well.

The 2008 walleye season opener offered my first lesson. Traditional wisdom says that live bait fished slowly on jigs and live bait rigs is the way to catch cold water walleyes. I started the ’08 season doing just that with very little to show for my efforts.

Saturday night I received reports that a few anglers did well trolling shad-style crankbaits. Sunday I made the switch to those baits and was somewhat surprised when several walleyes ate my small Frenzy Flicker Shads trolled two miles per hour using the main outboard engine. Too fast for that time of year, but someone forgot to tell the walleyes!

I’ll stay more open-minded in 2009. Another early season outing served as an important reminder regarding a lesson I’ve learned before regarding the importance of not locking in on pursuing one fish species.

I headed out in early June intending to pursue largemouth bass. I caught a few fish, but the action wasn’t fast by any means. After a couple hours, I pulled into a small bay with clear water and was pleasantly surprised to see numbers of big bluegills swimming ahead.

I backed off and fetched a light spinning rod and reel from my rod locker that was rigged with a tiny pan fish jig and slip-bobber from an earlier trip. My bobber had barely settled on the surface on my first cast when it disappeared. I set the hook into a bluegill, the first of several to eat my jig. The next hour was spent watching the bobber disappear and catching and releasing these scrappy fighters. They weren’t bass, but they sure were fun to catch on light line and tackle!

That day reminded me of a saying one of my fishing mentors often used, “I just like to feel something pulling on the end of my line, I don’t care what it is!” That lesson served me well a couple of other times during 2008 and will keep being remembered.

Another thing that ’08 taught me is the importance of continually staying in-tune to the new technology available.

In 2007, I was introduced to Side Imaging, a feature on Humminbird sonar units that allows anglers to “see” what’s off to the boat’s sides. Traditional sonar allows us to see below the boat, but this advancement allows potential fish-holding structure to be seen on each side of the boat making searching for structure and fish much more efficient. In ’08 I used Side Imaging a great deal. Late in the summer, I also started to use some of the new lake mapping software available.

A chip added to my sonar/GPS unit added an actual lake map to the screen making navigation to potential hotspots a breeze. In addition, I also installed software on my home computer that allowed me to study and make my own lake maps and save actual GPS coordinates for potential hotspots. I’ve been somewhat hesitant to try new gadgets but this new technology is easy to use and can really be beneficial.


My time on the water in 2008 had some successes and some less-successful days. Regardless, I tried to learn from those experiences. Here’s hoping that some of the things learned will be of benefit to me and other anglers in 2009. As always, good luck on the water!

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