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Lunker City Fishing Specialties

Interesting day on the Housy

Launched for a solo excursion at 7:45 this morning. Since Tuesday’s “move after 10 fish without a keeper” game plan didn’t put me in contact with anything of note, today I went with a new strategy.  Only check areas where I have a big fish history, and when I find something interesting, put the i-Pilot Spot Lock on and try to extract every bite I can out of it, as long as the fish hold out.

My first couple stops turned out a few fish each, but I didn’t really see anything that made me want to lock in and sit on either of them for any length of time. Spot # 3 was something else entirely. I put the Terrova on spot lock and did not move again until it was time to start working back toward the ramp. I’d given myself a 1:00 deadline to get the boat out of the water, as the tide would be low enough shortly after that to make taking out at what’s left of the Derby ramp iffy.

I set the counter to zero when I locked in on spot #3. It was 8AM.

I turned off spot lock and pointed the Terrova toward the opposite side of the river at 11:50. The counter read 100. In the almost 4 hours that I sat in one spot, there were a lot more productive casts than empty ones. The hundred stripers I caught there were mostly schoolies, but it included quite a few 23 ~ 25″ fish and a pair of 29 inch keepers as well. My first legal size fish since Friday the 17th!

There were 4 or 5 boats within sight on and off during the morning, and from what I could see, everyone was catching some, and a couple guys were catching a lot.

I also had a couple bonus fish that added to the interesting factor at that spot without actually making it into the boat. Shortly after I locked in on the spot, I made a cast with a 1/2 oz jighead and a 5.5″ Sexy Shiner Freaky Fish, and felt a slight tick in the line before the lure sank more than about 6 feet. I swung and came up extra-empty. Empty as in nothing at all there. Reeled in the empty line and tied on a new lure.

Grabbed a head rigged with a 5.75″ Ice Shad Fin-S Fish this time. A half-dozen fish later, I swung on a light tap and came up heavy. Very heavy. Thought I might have my first keeper in nearly two weeks. It pulled hard and bulled-dogged for the depths, but didn’t seem to exhibit the head shake I was expecting, and I started to suspect that it was snagged. But when I finally got a look at it, it wasn’t snagged. And it wasn’t a striper. It was a northern pike. I guessed it to be about 32 inches long. I brought it alongside the boat, and tried to figure out how to get it to open its mouth so I could get the gripper on its lip.

That’s when I noticed the tail of my lure is sticking out between it’s toothy lips. But it’s not the tail of the Ice Shad Fin-S Fish that was tied to my line. It’s the tail of the Sexy Shiner Freaky Fish (affectionately dubbed Sexy Freak) that had gotten bitten off earlier. Now this fish has two of my lures in its mouth, and the 10 pound test braid is in contact with its… oops. Too late. The damned thing just bit off a 2nd lure.

Not sure I’ve ever lost two lures in less than a half hour, to the same pike before.

The toothy critter was the 1st of the two bonus fish that didn’t make it into the boat. The other was a salmon that short-lined me right next to the boat as I was reeling in to make another cast. Had it on for maybe 10 seconds of non-stop cartwheeling across the surface before it too, broke my 10# braid.

During the time I sat in that one spot, I caught fish casting in every direction. Toward the shore. Toward the middle of the river. Up current. Down current. And just about all angles in between those directions. For a while, it seemed like casting almost directly down current drew the most bites. But eventually, I figured out that it wasn’t the direction of the cast that mattered, as much as it was the water resistance on the line keeping the bait higher in the water column when it was hanging downstream behind the boat. I adjusted my retrieve when casting any other direction, to keep the lure within a few feet of the surface, and suddenly, all directions paid off more-or-less equally.

Since running the lure high was working so well, why not try a topwater? Rigged up an unweighted, 7″ Fin-S Fish, and went to work with that.  25 of the last 40 fish I caught from that spot came on the topwater. In 44 degree water, on the last day of November!

Shortly before noon, for the first time all morning, I made a half-dozen casts without a bite. The Dragonfly on the front deck didn’t see any fish under me now, either. Did they move up river, or down? Only had about an hour of fishing time left, so I opted to just move toward the opposite bank and see what I could see before picking a direction to go.

Went right past the middle of the river and found a ton of fish on the other side of the river now. Were they here all the time, or had the school I’d been beating on relocated across the river? Do I care? Not if they will bite, I don’t.

Started throwing the unweighted Fin-S Fish and working the surface. Third fish in the new spot was also my 3rd keeper of the day! Put the Minnkota on Autopilot headed north, and set the speed to a nice comfortable, fishable level, fishing my way toward the ramp. Didn’t throw anything but the topwater. Caught fish the entire way, and when my alarm went off to tell me to get my ass to the ramp, the counter said 124. Took the time to catch one more, and went right in.

It was a good day of fishing, made more interesting by my first three keepers since the schoolies moved in big-time, a short, but exciting battle with a good sized salmon, losing two lures to the same northern pike, and catching nearly half my fish on a topwater presentation.


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