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Juls WFA Blog

Dreaming of Spring....:)

by Capt Juls on 01/14/19

Lake Erie Spring Walleye Tactics

 

My first trip to Lake Erie was in the fall of 1999, when I was invited by one of the areas greatest walleye anglers, Rick LaCourse, to do a little night fishing out of Huron, OH. It was a balmy December night, with a light 5mph South wind, and the temperature outside was 60 degrees. There was a full moon lighting up a clear sky, that shimmered on the calm water, making it look like it was made up of diamonds.

 

The fishing was incredible, and the size of the fish astounded me at the time. I’m originally from Wisconsin, where the walleye fishing is also very good, but it was nothing like what I experienced here for the first time at Lake Erie. 

 

That night, we trolled with crankbaits behind Off Shore Tackle inline planer boards at slow speeds. The boards were lit up with glow sticks attached to the flags, so when a fish hit, it looked like a shooting star going back in the water.  Seeing a large walleye, with a mouth large enough to stuff a grapefruit in it, coming up behind the boat elevated my excitement to the next level. I was hooked! I knew then that Lake Erie was the place I wanted to fish forever.

 

A couple years later, I had had enough dreaming and made the move from Wisconsin to Ohio. I had quit my job as a color correction specialist in the pre-press dept of Reiman Publications, sold my house, and moved to Ohio to pursuit of a career in the fishing industry. With much work and dedication, I have achieved that dream by first fishing for many years on the Pro/Am walleye circuits across the country, as a journalist covering the tournaments for Walleye Central, and for the past 8 years as a guide on the Lake I love. Many of my sponsors have been with me through this entire adventure and are the ones responsible for making all my dreams possible. 

 

The first spring that I fished Lake Erie with Rick, he told me that they start by “ice fishing” out of the boat and then, by jigging with ice fishing baits. Then, as the water warms, they would start jigging with regular jigs, and then on to trolling with crankbaits.  This made me scratch my head, because it confused me that we could troll in the fall when the water was almost the same temperature, but we couldn’t troll in the spring when the ice went out. It didn’t make sense to me, so I asked him if we could try trolling instead of ice fishing out of the boat. Being the kind of guy, he was, he indulged me, and we put the crankbaits out.

 

Now, I’m not saying that I’m the first one to try this, because I’m probably not. I’m just saying that in the circle I was in at the time, it wasn’t done that way.  As it turned out, it was successful, and we never had to ice fish out of the boat again, which is something that made me very happy!

 

In the spring, the walleye spawn in the Western Basin of the lake, where there are plenty of reef complexes and rivers. This happens in late March and April as the water warms after a long winter. The opportunity to catch trophy sized pre-spawn and post-spawn fish is at its highest during this time, and several tactics to catch them can be used.

 

For those that like to jig the reefs, a 3/8oz to 1oz hair jigs (best used with stinger hooks) are often tipped with Emerald Shiners, or soft plastics, but can also be successfully used without bait or plastics. Color can matter, so having an assortment of colors available to you will better your chances of catching fish. Popular colors are Purple, Chartreuse, Orange, Pink, Blue, Green, and Black.

 

For those who like to troll, most anglers will start out with some popular proven crankbaits like the Smithwick Perfect 10 and Top 20’s (very similar to their earlier “Rogue” baits), Rapala Deep Husky Jerks (size 12 and 14), Bandits, Bomber Long A’s, Berkley Flicker Minnows (sizes 9 and 11)  and both the shallow and deep diving Reef Runner baits. I know other baits get used, and the list could be extended, but these are the baits I have used over the years and are the ones that I put in my boat each season.

 

I was taught that when the water is in the high 30’s to low 40’s, the fish are sluggish, so trolling very slow is key. A speed of .8 to 1.0 has always been recommended.  However, that’s not always the case. For instance, over the years, I would hear of someone trolling at much faster speeds, at the same time that I was trolling slow, and they were catching fish too. So, keeping an open mind and trying new things can make you a better angler and increase your catch rate.

 

If you’re marking fish, and not catching for some reason, it only takes a few minutes to try a different speed. Get radical and try a fast speed like 1.5 to 2.0mph, to see if it triggers any response from the finny critters below.  Sometimes, I’ll use the “Rabbit” feature on my Minn-Kota trolling motor to speed up the baits, and then turn it off again, to slow it down. My thinking is, it gives the fish something to react to and can sometimes make the difference between a slow bite and a fast bite.

 

Changing colors often, until one stands out from the rest is another tactic I use while trolling. Sure, I have my favorites that I start out with, but if they are not in the mood for those colors, I have a plethora of other colors to try until I find the ones, they like best. It’s a lot more work, but it’s worth it when the bite becomes steadier.

 

Boat handling is another tactic I use to improve the catch rate. To help find the right speed, I will make turns during my trolling passes to determine if they want the baits faster or slower.  When you make a turn using inline boards, the boards on the outside of the turn will be moving much faster through the water than the boards on the inside of the turn. If a fish hits on one side over the other, and it’s repeated so I know it wasn’t a fluke, I will slow down or speed up to give them what they desire.  

 

The most actively feeding fish will be higher in the water, and not always seen on the sonar picture, so I always like to have at least one bait up in the top 10 foot of the water column, just in case. It’s not uncommon to end up having all the baits running that high during the spring.

The walleye I see on my Humminbird’s sonar screen, that sit close to the bottom out on the flats, are usually in a negative mood, and will not usually eat a bait that is trolled by them.  

 

The walleye up on the reef complexes, that sit close to the bottom are fair game for the anglers who prefer to jig though.  While I prefer the trolling game, I will take customers out to the reefs to do some jigging if they want to. Sometimes, it’s fun to feel that bite at the end of the line and feel the weight of the fish as soon as it hits. I must say though, that a jigging trip is much more fun for my customers than it is for me, because I don’t get to fish when we are jigging. I just man the net for them. It’s not that I don’t know how to jig, or that I’m not good at it… I just wouldn’t want to chance catching a big one right out from under them and steal that opportunity for one of them to catch it. 

 

If the chance of catching a trophy walleye is on your bucket list, then I highly recommend a trip to Lake Erie’s Western Basin from March through the end of May. June and July have some tremendous fishing too, but as the water warms the bigger fish that migrated from the east end of the lake, have already headed back to their summer haunts by then. That’s not to say, that some bigger fish do not stay in this area, because it’s not uncommon to find a trophy walleye hanging around from time to time during the summer. But, if table fare is your desire, then June thru September is the time to come here.  The catching can be very fast during these months, when conditions are right, and a ton of fun! Come fall, until ice up, the big fish move back from the east and we start the process all over again.

 

If Perch fishing is more to your liking, then I recommend looking at August thru ice up for limits of the green and gold treasures.

 

Now is the time to book your Spring Lake Erie fishing Charter for a chance at a trophy walleye, so don’t procrastinate, or you might be left wishing you had reserved your date(s) earlier!

 


 

Fishing with Steve and Jeremy Chapman 1/4/19

by Capt Juls on 01/06/19

It was windy in the morning, so we planned to meet at Mazurik's at 10am when the wind was forecast to die down for the afternoon.  Steve and Jeremy, who I know you all know by now, since they have fished with me for the past 7 years, were just a few minutes late, so we were in the water a little after 10.


It was a bluebird sky, with winds dying down to around 15mph out of the SW. The forecast called for the winds to die down to around 5mph for the afternoon, and air temps to reach as high as 50 degrees. The water temp was at 34.9 degrees.

My original plan was to head east towards Huron, but found that the water was mud inside, and I didn't think it was going to clear up the further east we went, so I turned the boat and headed north from the Marblehead lighthouse to find cleaner water. It would have been nice to have the previous day's satellite picture, but with the shutdown the link on my website for the NOAA Modis satellite pictures wasn't in operation. 

We headed to the east side of Kelly's to start, and I marked some fish on the southvside of Airport Reef, so we set up with Bandits running 60, 80, and 100 back (no weight) on the starboard side and P-10's with 2oz weights run at 20/20, 30/30, and 20/50 on the port side.  We had one fish hit the P-10 20/50 shortly after setting up, and as soon as that one was in the net, the Bandit running at 80 back took a fish.

We thought with that quick bite it was going to be a slam fest, but just like that....then, nothing.  We trolled up along that reef in 37 foot of water for another mile or so, before picking up and running back down to make another pass through where we caught the first two.  We passed a boat that was making a southerly trolling pass near the same area, but deeper out.  So, after passing them, I turned the boat to get inside again, and set up a little further down from my original pass, and set up again.   

We picked another one up short of where we caught the first two, and as I was turning to cut along the south side of the reef to stay in the same depth, I noticed that other boat had turned back around and was headed north again. This time, they were cutting in and were going to block me from finishing that pass. They would have had the right of way, since they were on my starboard side, so we decided to pick up and make a move out to deeper water, to give them the line.

There were several boats out in deeper water, so we moved out to the 40 foot contour and marked some fish, but not what I usually like to see. While we were setting up, they asked that I make a call to Bays Edge Fish Cleaning to see what time they were open till, because they didn't want to take uncleaned fish home. Their plan was to fish until we needed to get fish over there. Unfortunately, they were only open until 3pm, so that was going to only give us a total of 4 hours of fishing.

After about 20 minutes fishing the 40' contour, I decided it might be better up on the north side of Kelly's, so we picked up and headed up there. Driving around we found some...not a lot...of marks on the SW corner of Gull Island Shoal, so we set up and made a northerly pass towards the west side of the shoal.  Zip...nada...nothing happening.  However, the up side was the lake was getting calm and the sun was shining, so nothing was going to ruin the good mood the boost of vitamin D was giving us!

Soooo....due to the fact that my back Humminbird didn't have the time set correctly, we were going off that to keep track of what time we had to go in. So, when we picked up to go in, and were on our way back, I picked up my phone to see who just texted me, and noticed the time difference. We still had another hour to fish! I showed Steve, and smiled....shaking my head.

I took them to the NW corner of Kelly's and we pulled the rods out again and set up in 38 foot of water, where there were some decent marks, and we picked up one more fish...biggest one of the day in fact...but, it was still just an eater. That one came on a black and gold Bandit at 100 back.  We tried different speeds throughout the day, and it was different for each fish. The first two came at 1.4-1.5, because I hadn't dialed the speed yet, because we were just setting up. The next one came at .9-1.0, and the last one came at 1.3 mph....go figure. lol

We headed in at the right time, this time, and got to Bays Edge just as they were turning off the lights, and they were nice enough to cut their 4 fish for them, so we waited there the 10 minutes it took him to clean them and bag them. Then, headed to Casa Las Palmas to get some good grub before they headed back to Columbus.

That evening, I got a message from a friend that had seen us on the east side of Kelly's and told me that they were out deeper than us in the 40 foot, and had caught their 3 man limit. (deep sigh) 
They had started several hours ahead of us and finished up later too though, so I think if I had had more time to work with, I may not have left that side to go find better marks and cleaner water. Oh well...that's the way it goes sometimes.

We had some fun in the short time we were out there, and that's all that matters. The "water therapy" was something the three of us really needed, and the day's weather made it a very enjoyable trip. :)

To be fishing out of a boat in January is always a good thing. I'm sure the ice fishermen would disagree, but I'm hoping we don't get any ice this year! Ha!

Until next time...

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing the Day After Christmas 2018

by Capt Juls on 12/26/18

Woke up this morning, and went outside with the dogs for their morning ritual. I was greeted to a warmer than usual morning for the end of December. There was absolutely no wind, which made it feel warmer than it really was.   The morning started out at around 32 degrees, and was expected to get as high as 40 degrees.  


I wanted to go fishing.  I shot Kevin Swartz a text and asked if he wanted to go today. He did. We would be taking his boat for the trip, while mine stayed put over in the building she's tucked in at.

We hit Mazurik's boat launch around 9am and headed east out of the launch. We would be fishing the east side of Kelly's Island today.  We started a bit SE of the airport in 40 foot of water. The marks on the sonar were very good, and we hoped it would be a good bite.

Most of the marks were deep, but there were plenty up higher in the water column too, and those were the more active fish, so we targeted those with Smithwick Perfect 10's using 2 oz Guppie Weights (Guppie's can be used as inline weights or snap weights, so today they were used as snapweights.)

The most productive program for us was 20/20, 30/30 and 20/50 with the 2oz weights at a speed of .9-1.0mph. We found that when we made turns, the slow side was doing pretty well, so we dropped from 1.2-1.3 to the .9-1.0  speed. ;)

Again, for those that don't understand what "20/20" means....you let the bait out 20 feet, attach the snapweight, and let out another 20 feet before putting the Off Shore board on. The same goes for the other numbers listed above.

Color:  Lemon Lime Crush w/orange belly, Chrome Pink Lemonade, and a Chrome Perch were the best for us.

The weather was perfect. We started out with a light south offshore wind that gave us 2 foot or less sized waves out there. Then, the wind was switching to the SE and it basically died to nothing and the lake went flat.  

The bite was never hot for us. We had one double, but otherwise, we would pick up two or three...and, then, nothing for a long time. We made adjustments when it was slow, and we would pick up another 2 or 3....and, then,  nothing.  Nothing was really dialed in.

The water temperature was 35.4 degrees on that side of Kelly's today. The water was stained, but you could still see your cavitation plate, so in other words...perfect.  

There were a lot of fish that were stacked closer to the bottom...  Kevin and I discussed it at one point, and concluded that some of those marks might be the big gizzard shad that live in the lake. It certainly wouldn't surprise me. Some of the shad that die over the winter and litter the Portage River shoreline in the spring are a good 3-4 pounds each.

It was nice to get out today and catch some fish. It made it a very Merry Christmas indeed!

Looks like we have some wind and rain coming to town again for the next few days. Lousy weather, but it's bringing warmer temps along with it.  Every day we don't have ice....I like it! Sorry ice anglers....I had to say it though. 

So, until the next nice fishable day.....thanks for taking the time to read this...:)

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Merry Christmas! 12/24/18

by Capt Juls on 12/24/18

I just wanted to take a moment to say, "Merry Christmas" everyone! :)


It feels like this year just sped by. As I get older, it seems every year gets faster too....deep sigh. But, I guess that also means that the next fishing season will be here sooner than I realize too, eh? lol

I'm looking forward to next season already, because it's going to be fantastic fishing!  Even though, there's going to be a plethora of smaller fish from the 2018 hatch out there, there are tons of good sized eaters out there now too, along with the usual big fish this lake is known for.

I still have several dates available for those that would like to fish Lake Erie, so if this is the year you want to give it a shot, give me a call or email/text me, so we can get you on the calendar!

Have a safe and Happy New Year...and, I hope to fish with you  next season!

I might be going fishing tomorrow (Christmas Day), but it depends on whether my fishing partner is feeling better. We would be using his boat. We would have taken mine, but I did an update on my both my Humminbird's, last week, and had to send them back, due to a glitch that happened, (hey, stuff happens!), so until I get them back, (next week some time)...my boat will be nice and warm over in her heated storage building. 

Looks like we might even be open water fishing into January, so that may be a possiblity.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

$11.00 Permit Required on top of your License to fish Ohio Waters of Lake Erie in the Spring

by Capt Juls on 12/20/18

I just wanted to bring this to the attention of all the folks who come from other states to fish Lake Erie's Western Basin in the spring for Trophy Walleye.


This is a one time purchase each spring, over and above the non-resident license required to fish here. 

Per the ODNR site:
Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, a Lake Erie permit ($11) will be required for all nonresidents to fish Ohio waters of Lake Erie from Jan. 1-April 30 each year. Money generated by this permit will be used for specified purposes related to the protection and improvements of Lake Erie, such as combating invasive species, securing public access and providing for fish management projects in Lake Erie. 

93 More Days Until the Official Day of Spring!

by Capt Juls on 12/17/18

I'm counting down the days until Spring, when I start the 2019 Lake Erie charter fishing season.  It's been relatively warm for December, and we've gotten out a couple of times, but it's been windy for the most part, keeping us on shore more than we would like.


Tomorrow (12/18) looks like it's going to be a good day to go out, so I'm heading out with a friend in his boat...probably to Canadian waters to look for some perch this time. Do we have to run all the way up there to find perch? Absolutely not, but when the lake is flat, it's an opportunity to run up there. There are some big perch over there, and we want to find some. :)

Wednesday, looks like another good day to get out, but this gal has to go in for a root canal and crown...again...so, I'll be stuck on shore nursing a numb jaw for the day. :(

They are doing well walleye fishing here in the Western Basin, as the big walleye migrate towards their spawning grounds. The biggest fish still seem to be over towards Clevleand, but are making their way west each day. When the weather allows, many folks are still heading out in the  smaller boats, as the big charter boats are all stored away for the winter.

Smithwick Perfect 10's with 2oz snapweights seem to be the ticket for most. Bandits run without weights anywhere from 60 to 80 back is also a contender for good catches. Most are running a speed of 1.0-1.4mph. 

I've opened up my blog to comments, and would like to hear what techniques my readers have used successfully during the fall/winter months, that might be different than what everyone else here uses. So, if you are so inclined, please feel free to share your experiences here with everyone. :)

As for my 2019 season....I have open dates from April through November, so if you want to book a trip, the sooner you reserve your dates, the better!

Please contact me for open date information...as this website doesn't offer an online calendar. You can call/text or email me anytime!

Thanks, and have a great day!

Capt Juls






Oh...What to do all Winter?

by Capt Juls on 12/02/18

Well, it's that time of year...deep sigh. The boat is put to bed, and the cold/dark month are upon us....deep sigh.


Today's 50 degree weather and sunshine is a welcome, and much needed, change today. It feels like spring! 

I know tomorrow it turns into winter again, so I'm kind of getting the blues.  

I'm pretty sure the last trip was run this past Friday, unless we get some nice weather and winds, and the lake isn't muddy. I have a few customers that like to be kept "on call", and live near enough, to make it on a day's notice to get out fishing.

Like them, fishing is a form of "therapy", in that it calms us, focuses us, and allows us to make it through a long winter. lol

I don't ice fish anymore, so the winters seem even longer now between fishing trips....ugh.

I'm sitting here on this sunny Sunday afternoon, typing this at my desk, the windows are open, a Jalapeno/Cheese bread is baking in the oven, and I'm listening to the wind chimes dance on my front porch. It's December 2nd, and just yesterday, we just had winter temperatures and winds that would cut through a person's clothing and send a chill to the bones. While I want this nice day to never end, I know tomorrow will bring back those winter conditions again.  

The new boat is performing great! I'm still waiting on my one SmoothMove seat, for the passenger side though.  I only ordered the one, because as the driver, I like to feel what my boat is feeling. Those seats are so nice, you don't feel the abuse the boat is taking anymore, and I don't want any preventable damage done to the hull while I'm driving it.  The throttle is there for a reason, and it's not always to push it down! ;)

I'm already anxious for spring. This is the earliest I've had a new boat, and knowing it's over there in the heated storage building, in a spot that will allow me to take it out on a moments notice, is always tempting. But, at this time of year...one needs to be very safety concious, and pick the days, because the water temperatures are deadly from now until late spring. 

I've put her to bed for now. The weather forecast is not condusive to a fun trip for at least for the next week. I don't look to far ahead at this time of year, because you really can't tell what the forecast is going to do until a day or two in advance.

On another note, I started writing for an online magazine called, "Outdoor Unlimited", and sent in the first submission yesterday. It looks like a nice website, so if you get a chance...check it out.  www.odumagazine.com. I don't think my article will be posted until around Christmas time though. I'll write something each month, so it gives me something fishy to think about. ;)

Not much else going on now that the "Walleye Fall Brawl" is done. So, I'll try to keep busy this winter, and hope for an early ice out. Hopefully, we'll have a mild winter, and we'll get out here and there on some nice days. One can wish, anyway. lol

So, I'll think of some things to blog about through the winter, in case someone is actually reading this. ;)

I wish all of you a safe winter...a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls






Fishing with Mark Moser and Dr Steve Reineck 11/25/18

by Capt Juls on 11/25/18

I left the house early this morning to go get my boat out of storage for today's trip, gas up the Ranger, and get some breakfast at Big Bopper's before heading over to Mazurik's to meet my crew.


They were meeting me at 8:30, so I had a lot of time to visit with some other captains that showed up at Bopper's too. It's been a while since I had seen the bunch of them, so it was a good way to start the day! :)

Mark was driving in from Fremont and Steve was driving in from Sandusky. Mark showed up a little after 8, so we chatted while we waited for Steve to show up. He showed up right on time and we were launched and in the water by 8:30.

After letting the G2 warm up to temp, we headed to the northeast side of Kelly's to start looking.  I stopped short of the south green can at the shoal and didn't mark much, but saw a few boats on the west side of the shoal and north of north bay trolling. But, just before I was going to move west, I got a text from someone saying they already had 6 in the box (they had launched 20 minutes before me), and gave me some numbers, so we turned and headed 4 miles southeast to give it a shot.

We set up with Bandits behind Off Shore boards at 75-120 back at a speed of 1.3-1.4mph. We picked up 4 fish, but it wasn't on fire. The marks were spotty...really good...then, nothing...then, really good...then, nothing. 

Just about the time I was going to turn and go back through a pod of fish, I got a text from another friend showing me his screen full of marks from top to bottom, and said it was a pretty good bite, so we picked up and moved to the west again. Ha!

We caught their two limits, and three of mine (but one I let go,so it would get a chance to live a little longer), before we ran out of time, and headed in.

Bandits 80 back and P-10's 20/50 with a 2oz Guppie weight were our best leads overall.  The Lemon-Lime Crush P-10 with the orange belly took a bunch...as did the Attention Deficit Bandit. 

It was a very nice day on the water. The air temp was a warm 48 degrees and the water temp was 42. It was mostly overcast, but the sun did pop out in the early afternoon for about an hour. The wind died around noon and went to nothing, so the lake was like glass...which means...that's right...I got to open up that Evinrude and go fast. woot! woot!

The guys had a good time and learned some little tips and tricks for using inline planer boards, so they can apply it to their outings out on the lake too. :)

I might be fishing with the Chapman's again on Friday if the forecast holds.....fingers crossed!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Steve and Jeremy 11/19/18

by Capt Juls on 11/19/18

Got the call yesterday from Jeremy..."Looks like the weather is going to be nice tomorrow. Do you want a trip?" "It does! I said. Let's do it...it will be the first trip out on the new Ranger." I replied grinning ear to ear.


Steve and Jeremy Chapman are regulars of mine who fish with me about 8-10 times a season. And, it just so happens, Steve was my very first customer when I started this guide business almost 8 years ago. So, it was fitting that they were out with me on my inaugural run in the 2019 boat. :)

I met them at Mazurik's at 9am, and we launched. I let the ETEC sit and purr while she came up to temperature.  It was a slightly foggy morning with zero wind, and the temperature was only 35 degrees. The forecast called for winds less than 5mph out of the WSW all day, and temps to hit a high of 40, so I was really glad to get a chance to be back out on the lake.

I had no clue which direction I was going to go to find fish. I know about some areas to the east, and some to the north, but I had read mixed reports online about catches. I knew Capt Kevin was headed to Huron to launch, so he would be fishing from Huron to Vermilion....I didn't think I wanted to go that far with an untested boat at this time of year, so I turned to the east, instead of north and put the big girl on plane. 

"OHHHhhhhh Holy Moly!" I thought to myself, "This Ranger is AWESOME! I've had a lot of different Rangers over the years... most of them being 621's...this one included....To me, this one is a perfect combination.
I knew instantly that the boat and the 300 G2 were going to be best buddies. 
It just felt super-right this time.  Have you ever just felt like that with a boat? I've felt it maybe three times. You just KNOW when it happens, and it happens right away.  Some are good, but then, some are really-really good! I have one of the "laters" for next season, and I can't wait to use it again....woot! woot!

Anyway, I decided to go east and just watch the Helix for good fish marks on the screen. I turned the chart speed up to 10, and cruised at 40-43mph, and watched for little red "blob dots" on the screen. That's what they look like at that speed. 
If I saw any that were bunched up together, making it obvious that they were fish, I slowed it down to take a better look.   

As I come off plane, I turn the H'Bird's chart speed down to match the boat's speed.  If you don't turn it down, the arches are going to look huge, and you'll be given the false impression that there are giant walleye below you.  
When you turn the speed down, you get a better sense of the size of fish below. You'll learn the difference between the size of marks, and the actual fish, through practice and time on the water.

We dropped off plane at the 27/27 line (those are the middle numbers in the GPS coordinates for those of you who don't know). 
The marks were pretty decent, so I grabbed the remote for the Ulterra and crossed my fingers that it would work. It did! Flawlessly. She deployed and I set a course to the east. 

 We set a spread of 4 Bandits and 2 Smithwick Perfect 10's behind Off Shore inline boards.  The P-10s were used with a 1oz Guppie Weight (snap-weight) at 30/30. (Again, for those that don't know what 30/30 means...this time, it's the distance back using a weight. Put 30 feet of line out, attach the weight, and let 30 more feet of line out...for a total of 60 feet.

The P-10s took a few walleye, but were mostly tasty bits for a lot of big white bass too, so we ended up taking them off and putting all Bandits on.

Okay, so here's the info you want is:

Speed was 1.3-1.5mph....1.4mph was probably the best speed, but the other two worked too.

Depth of water was 40-44 with 40 foot having the most fish in it.

Colors: Anything with an orange belly.  The best colors today were the Blue/Chrome Bandit and a Custom by Domka Outdoors called, "Attention Deficit".  I heard from Capt Kevin during the day...he was further SE of where I was and had the Chartreuse WonderBread color working well. In fact, he said he switched all his baits to that color at some point. 

I put one of those out, but it did diddly-squat for us, until the very end. We put 3 Blue/Chromes, 2 Attention Deficits, and 1 Chartreuse Wonderbread out. 

The fish were coming in in singles, doubles, and triples...with a triple to end the day. When started to pull the rest of the boards in, there were walleye attached to all of them!

It was a great day to be alive today, and a great day to be on Lake Erie!

They're hoping that they will be able to get a few more days in next week too, since they are registered for the Fall Brawl, along with me, and we're running out of time. I think there's only 12 more days left for the tournament?  I hope the weather behaves and lets us get out a few more times.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

2019 Ranger is here and ready to go!

by Capt Juls on 11/13/18

Spent the day putzing in the new Ranger. She showed up last week, and I found some nice heated storage for her, for the winter.  However, she's not hibernating, and if the weather permits I'll be taking some late season trips before the ramps ice up.


Looks like we'll get some warmer weather mid to late week, next week...and, hopefully NO WIND!!  So, I'm looking forward to breaking her in, and catching some fish in the process. 

The walleye are feeding well, and fattening up now, so from now until spring...they will just keep getting bigger. :)

I saw a report from the ODNR stating that the 2018 walleye hatch was a "Record breaking hatch"....beating out the phenomenal hatch from 2003.  The 2003 hatch found 183 young of the year walleye in a hectare, and this year they were recording upwards of 255 per hectare....so you can see, if that's the case....this hatch was outrageously good!

They also mentioned that there was a really good perch hatch too.  I know from fishing this past season that there was also a very good hatch with the sheephead, white bass, and Emeralds too. So, it looks like the next decade or more will be fantastic fishing!

I'll be doing very select days the rest of this season, but if you want to try and hit one of those days....let me know. :)

I am taking reservations for the 2019 season now, so if you want in on some of this action, and would like to fish with me....give me a shout. My contact info is at the top of every page. ;)

Have a safe winter everyone!

Stay tuned...

Juls


New 2019 Ranger is almost here...

by Capt Juls on 10/14/18

The new ride should be here around Halloween, so I'll be running trips through November/Decembere as long as the weather allows...:)


I'm also accepting reservations for the 2019 season now, so don't miss out on the great spring fishing, and give me a call or email me to reserve your spot today! 

Fishing with Tim 9/29/18

by Capt Juls on 09/30/18

Today I had one of my regular customers, Tim McGlothlin out for a morning of perch fishing. He normally comes with his brother, Matt, but he had to stay behind for a soccer game. He coaches his daughter's team at school. 


We stopped at Rickard's for some minnows and were surprised to find that they had the elusive Emerald Shiners in...finally! Yay! We stopped off at Big Bopper's for breakfast, before heading back to the west end of town to launch out of White Caps on the Portage River. 

The winds were a little gusty out of the NW in the morning stirring up the lake with 1-3' waves, but was forecast to settle down as the day went on...which it did, by the way. 

We hit the green can at Catawba first, but there were few marks and the water was a bit dirty, so we didn't stay there long. Next, we headed up to the west side of the islands, to where I was last Sunday and moved around until the Helix showed me some good marks, that looked "Perchy". We set up on them using the Ulterra's Spot-Lock and went to work.

It wasn't long before we picked up the first one and then it was a steady bite...not too fast and not too slow. I think by the time we finally found them it took about 2 hours to get our 60 in the cooler.  The bite was sometimes aggressive, and sometimes it was so light that you never even felt it.

It was a relaxing day with no pressure...Tim just likes to be on the water and doesn't even care if we catch any fish at all. But, of course, it's way more fun when we do! ;)

We headed in, took the fish to Port Clinton Fish Co. to be cleaned and went downtown for some lunch. It was a perfect day in my book, and a good day to end the season out of this 2018 Ranger. 

The 2019 Ranger will be here sometime in November, and hopefully, I didn't just jinx us by getting it early...causing us to have an early winter!  That would be just my luck though..lol  We shall see.

It's been a great season, and I would like to thank all my customers for a wonderful year, and for all the fun memories. I hope to see you again next season too!

I would also like to thank all my terrific sponsors for their continued support, because without them I couldn't do what I love to do!

Vic's Sports Center
Ranger Boats
Evinrude Motors
Minn Kota and Humminbird
Off Shore Tackle
EZEEStep
Costa Sunglasses
World Wide Marine Insurance

Thank you all!!

I am now taking reservations for the 2019 fishing season, so don't hesitate to reserve your fishing adventures today! :)
So, until November....

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Joe, Phil, and Mark 9/27/18

by Capt Juls on 09/27/18

Since I hadn't been out since last Sunday, I was really looking forward to getting back in the boat this morning. The forecast was calling for light winds out of the south, and although they were really from the ESE...they were indeed light. 


I stopped at Rickard's Bait Shop for some minnows and ice, because I thought we might get some perch'n in today too, so if there was a chance, I wanted to have bait.  I hit the gas station and then headed on over to Big Bopper's to meet my crew for some breakfast. After some chatting over coffee and grub, I headed on ahead of them to get the boat ready over at Mazurik's.  

They showed up just before 7, so we could get on the water for my sunrise picture...unfortunately, the sky didn't want to dance this morning and was quite dull as far as pretty sunrises go, so I skipped it. 

We headed east to the Huron Dump and set up in 39-40' of water...trolling west. The baby ETEC was set to push us at 2.2-2.4mph. I was having a battery issue with my Ulterra today, so it stayed stowed and I controlled the boat the old fashioned way. Boy, I sometimes forget how useful a bowmount trolling motor is that has "iPilot" on it.  It's like having someone else do the driving for you, so you can work in the back of the boat without constantly looking to see what your heading is.  I got so spoiled!! I realize just how much now...lol   Anyway, that issue is being attended to, so it should be back in my equipment arsenal very soon.

We started out with dipsies on the 3 setting at 75 back, and the 1 setting at 65 back. A 40 Tru-Trip Jet swam out the back of the boat at 70 back.  Ripplin Redfins and spoons were both working today.  I give the nod to the crankbaits though, because they caught more than the spoons did...and, the walleye were also a little better grade too.

IB Frozen, Chartreuse with the Purple head, Blue/Chrome, and Black/Gold were good colors for us on the Ripplin's.  I don't know the names of the spoon colors, so I won't even try, but silvers with blues in them worked, as did a chartreuse one with 3 pink dots (it was one of the larger spoons).

There wasn't any time to perch fish, and from what I heard on the radio, it sounds like the perch bite is still a bit slow, so we didn't miss anything.  My neighbor's pond fish were happy I didn't get too, because they get to eat all my leftover minnows...they come swimming up when I show up. They know who loves them...lol  It's quite comical sometimes. :)

Joe, Phil, and Mark had a great time, and mentioned how relaxing it was to be out there today. The weather was very nice, and the company was too. Joe did 5 or 6 charters with me this season, and brought different people along each time....except for Phil...he was here in the spring with Joe, so he got two trips in...woot!woot!

This was the second to last trip using this 2018 Ranger 621. I have one more trip on Saturday with one of my regulars, before this boat goes to its new owner on Monday.  The 2019 Ranger 621 will be here around Thanksgiving, I think, so I'm looking forward to getting that one on the water before it freezes up for the winter.

So, until Saturday...

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Mark Bray and Hannah 9/19/18

by Capt Juls on 09/19/18

A little background on Mark Bray before I begin...


Mark hails from Wisconsin, and had fished on the Co Angler side of the FLW for many years...back when I was fishing it too. Mark was one of my Co's back then, but don't ask me which event, because I couldn't tell you! That was too long ago for this old brain to remember. lol

Hannah, is one of the engineers that work for Mark's company, and they were down in Toledo on business when I got a phone call Monday afternoon, asking if I had any availability this week. I did.  We set the date for today (Wednesday), and I explained that the perch bite had just started to pick up, so it might be a good idea to go after some, rather than the walleye. Mark said, "We're up for whatever's biting. Hannah doesn't fish, so this is new to her".  I replied, "I think we should go for perch then, it will be much more fun for her".

They met me at my house at 6am this morning, and we loaded up in my Excursion to head to Rickard's for some shiners and ice. Then, we hit the gas station to top off the Ranger. After a yummy breakfast at Big Bopper's, we headed to East Harbor to launch, because it would be a couple miles closer to my destination, than Mazurik's would be.  It would be nice if we had Catawba launch to use, but that won't be usable until next spring....we hope.  

The wind was out of the NE at 9mph with gusts up to 14. It was mostly cloudy in the AM, and the air temp was around 68 degrees.  The lake swelled with the NE rollers and occasionally white capped with the 2-3 foot waves on top of that....but, it wasn't that bad navigating out to the cans west of the islands, since we could ride the trough all the way out.

We set up over 27 foot of water, near one of the cans on the east side of the firing range. There was a pack of about 10 boats to the west of me, and as we motored closer, the Helix lit up with tons of marks that looked "perchy", so I deployed the Ulterra and hit the Spot-Loc feature to anchor us over that spot.

I gave them each a 4 1/2' Ultra Light rod to use and some homemade crappie rigs with different colored beads. Hannah's had chartreuse beads and Mark's had opaque pink beads.  Mine had chartreuse beads also.  Mark was the first one to catch some "Lake Erie Gold", and gave me confidence that what we had set up on was indeed perch.

Hannah needed some coaching on how to do it, but got the hang of it pretty quickly. Soon, she was catching perch too.  She also kept me busy, because I was baiting her hooks and taking her perch off for her, because she didn't want to touch them...lol  Which is certainly okay...not everyone wants to touch a slimy fish. ;)

When Mark's ratio was noticeably more than Hannah's I switched Hannah's bead color to dark orange/red beads instead of the chartreuse....it did the trick, because she was on fire!  I hardly had time to catch any perch myself, because she was keeping me busy, busy, busy! Woot! Woot!

We caught our 90 perch in 3 hours, and then headed in.  They wanted to get an early start back to Wisconsin, since it was an 8 hour ride for them.

They said they had a great time, and Hannah was such fun to fish with...a real "natural" if you ask me...she should really fish more in the future, I think. She would be good at it. 

I'm canceling my Friday trip, due to the wind forecast, and Saturday is still on the table as far as wind is concerned, so I'm watching that, but not making the call yet.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Brian, Danielle, and Shane 9/16/18

by Capt Juls on 09/18/18

My PA crew met me at my house at 6am and we headed over to Rickard's for some ice and shiners, before stopping to gas up the Ranger. The plan for the day was to go for walleye first, and if there was time we could finish off with some perch fishing. (Unfortunately, once we were on the lake, I realized I had perch bait, but forgot the perch rods in the back of the Excursion...uffda! lol)


We launched out of Mazurik's at 7:15 and headed east from there. Once we were out in front of Cedar Point, the Helix started lighting up with some good marks, so the Ulterra was deployed and the baby ETEC fired up to push us at the usual 2.3-2.5mph.  

The spoon program was the same as usual too, so there's no need to repeat that program here. ;)

It was a nice day with an easterly wind at less than 10 mph and sunshine.  The area we were fishing didn't have a lot of the floating weeds that was seen earlier in the week, so that was a good thing.

The crew did a great job of learning how to run dipsies and Tru-Trip Jets, and caught their limit of walleye. Our best bite was from an east to west pull, so a couple times, we pulled everything up and made a run down to the Huron dump and headed back towards Cedar Point. We were targeting fish at 20-30 feet over 40 feet of water.

I won't be back out until Wednesday. My original crew for Monday through Thursday panicked last week, and wanted to reschedule, because he saw an early forecast calling for stronger NE winds (original Hurricane remnant forecast I guess?) So, I let him reschedule.  I picked up a trip for Wednesday with a fella that fished the FLW on the Co side with me one time, and he and a co worker are in Toledo for work. He wants to bring her out on Erie, so she can catch her first walleye ever. :)

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Nick, "Pops", and John 9/15/18

by Capt Juls on 09/16/18

Picked up my crew at the White Caps Motel at 6:15 and headed over to Rickard's for some ice, and then across the street to get gas for the Ranger.  I took my crew from Illinois over to Huron to launch, because I thought it was going to be foggy as hell again, like the day before was, and I figured it would be a shorter run to my fish.


It wasn't foggy in Port Clinton, but after crossing the Sandusky bridge, headed east, it turned into pea soup fog with a visibility of only a couple hundred feet...if that.  Luckily, it cleared about a mile west of Huron and I breathed a sigh of relief.

As we headed out of the Huron River, I could see there wasn't any fog on the lake, and it was pretty calm, so I pointed the Ranger ENE for a 17 mile run towards Lorain.  When we got there, the Ulterra was deployed and set on power level 5 to steer us, and the baby ETEC was fired up and set to push us at a speed of 2.4-2.5mph.  There was a  pack of boats there, so I chose the north side of them and headed north from there and away from the pack.

It took a while to dial in our program with spoons, but eventually the catching picked up for us.  Dipsies on the one setting were at 50 and 57 and the 3 setting at 75 and 85. The 40 Tru-Trip Jet picked up fish at 85 back.

After we had 10 fish, I wanted to move, because I didn't see the marks that I wanted to see there, so we moved south about 5 miles and set up again on better marks. They started reeling in fish on a much faster basis and it wasn't long before they had the limits in the cooler.

Nick, "Pops", and John were happy to learn how to run the dipsies, because they are bass fishermen who have set up their boat to do some walleye trolling, but needed to learn the basics....which they did. By mid morning they were running all the rods and doing a fine job, so I have no doubt that they will be catching walleye the next couple of days on their own too.

It was a fun and memorable day, and I look forward to fishing with them again soon!

I'm out Sunday with a family for more walleye....looks like it's going to be another nice day...although, muggy, hot, with another east wind...should be a good day!

Stay tuned....

Juls

Bringing in that Outside Off Shore Planer Board

by Capt Juls on 09/10/18

Let’s set the stage: It’s a beautiful morning, the wind is light, there’s a beautiful sunrise happening, and there’s a small chop on the water, and I have great expectations for a good bite here on Lake Erie. I have new customers in the boat that have never fished with Off Shore inline planer boards before and are excited to learn.

 

My Off Shore Boards: I use the Tattle Flag system on mine. The front arm has the OR-18 black “Snapper” release on it, and on the back, I like to use the red OR-16 release. The Snapper has a toggling closure that allows me to use it two different ways, but I only use it one way, with the closure pushed down, to put the pin in the front of the line, keeping it from releasing until I take the board off. The OR-16 has a pin in the center of it, so when the line is put behind that pin it will not release from the line until I take it off. 

 

There are many different set ups used by many different people, and what works best for one person might not be the best for another person. The way that works best for you is the way to use them.  That’s why Off Shore Tackle has a plethora of release options to choose from.

 

I have used mine this way for 18 years, and it hasn’t let me down. Is it the best way? I don’t know, probably not. But, it works best for me. Will this work for you too? It most certainly will!

 

The first question from a novice board user is, “How do you bring in the outside board when a fish is on?” “I’ll show you”, I say. This is something that I’ve started doing, and it seems to work out pretty well.  Will it tangle with the other lines inside? Sometimes, but for the most part it’s tangle-free.

 

I’m usually running three boards per side and will try to run leads as short as I can. That means, if I have to run the baits deeper, I’ll use a “Guppie Snap Weight” on a crankbait, or a “Tadpole” on a crawler harness. By doing this, the outside board has less chance of tangling in the other lines when a fish is coming in.

 

For the sake of my story, picture the outside Off Shore board going back with the tell-tale sign of a big Lake Erie Walleye on the line. The board wiggles and falls back violently. I say, “Fish on! Let’s go…who’s up?” The next angler takes the rod from me, and I give these instructions:

 

“Point the rod tip to the other side of the boat…let that rod bend in half if it needs to, but just keep reeling nice and steady. Not too fast and not too slow.”

 

At this point, I move the middle board rod, and the inside board rod, forward to the next rod holder. This allows those two boards to move forward in the water a couple feet. It’s usually enough to allow the outside board to come in behind them. When the outside board has cleared the inside board, I have the angler straighten the rod up, and keep it at a 45-degree angle. At the same time, I tell him/her, “Now, move back between the driver’s and passenger’s seats, and keep the rod tip over my outside shoulder” … (meaning the shoulder on the side of the boat that the fish is coming in on).  When the Off Shore board is a few feet from the boat, I grab the line and start bringing the board up to me and undo the releases from the line in one smooth action, as the angler keeps reeling.  

Once the board is off, I have him/her move to the back corner and keep the rod tip pointed out to the side of the boat. This allows the fish to come up off the corner, where I can net it easily, instead of behind the boat where it can, and most often will, get in the motors.

 

More often than not, this procedure works well, but there are times when a fish just has evil intentions and decides to take a run at the other lines too, and it might bring in one or both with it. However, it doesn’t take long to untangle and reset the Off Shore boards in “Marching Soldier” fashion again.

 

Give this a try next time you’re out and see if it works for you too. One tip though, if you don’t keep that rod pointed on the opposite side of the boat and bent in half until you clear those other two boards, it will never work. That is the key!

 

I wish you all the best of luck fishing and hope you find this helpful!

Bad Weather...

by Capt Juls on 09/10/18

My 5 day trip with the Wisconsin crew was cut short by two days...and, my weekend trips were canceled due to the strong winds out of the ENE. Today's trip (Monday 9/10) was rescheduled by my customer, even though I would have rescheduled it due to weather conditions too to another date.


I didn't have anything scheduled for Tues thru Thursday, so I won't be back out until Friday.

I have 4 days available this month, and then I'm done until my new Ranger arrives, and weather allows.

Days open this month are the 22nd, 25th, 26th, and 28th, so if you're interested in a trip, give me a call or email me. The contact info is at the top of the page. ;)

Thanks, and have a great day!

Capt Juls

Fishing with Walleye Weiss, Jim, and Dennis 9/3-4/18

by Capt Juls on 09/04/18

Yesterday, was the beginning of a 5 day trip for my Wisconsin crew. Walleye Weiss and Jim fished with me this same week, for three days, last year with their friend, Jack. This year though, Jack couldn't make it, so they invited their friend, Dennis to come along.  They are a friendly crew and a lot of fun to fish with, which is no surprise since they come from my home state....woot! woot!


Anyway, I told them before they came down that the perch bite was off, and that I wasn't confident in finding them a cooler full each day, and said that we should consider walleye fishing instead. The walleye bite is still pretty hot, and I doubt that it is going to end any time soon. I gave them the option of canceling, rescheduling, or fishing for walleye. They still wanted to come down and go fishing. So, the plan yesterday, (Monday), was to go walleye fishing and then, if there was time, go look for some perch, and see if the bite had picked up.

When I was readying the boat, Walleye said, "My buddy got two limits two days ago, and he gave me his numbers".  In my head, I was thinking, "Oh boy...numbers from two days ago!  He wants to go perch'n".  I asked him if that was the case, and he wanted to try it, so I said, "Okay, let's go give it an hour and a half and if nothing bites, we'll go chase the walleye". So, that's what we did.

We go to his buddies numbers and the Helix was only showing us a handful of perch on the bottom. So, we moved around a little until we found better marks. We fished that spot for about an hour and a half, moving a little once or twice, with only 15 perch for our efforts in the cooler.

Capt Kevin was north of us by a few miles, and shot me his numbers....so, we headed up there instead of to the walleye grounds, and continued to perch fish through their 6 hours. We ended up with 40 in the cooler, and watched Capt Kevin and his crew pull up doubles!  So close, but yet, so far!! lol  

We talked it over and they decided to take my advice and go fill the cooler with walleye first, and then, if there was time, go look for more active perch on the way back in.

Today.....

I met my crew at Big Bopper's for breakfast and enjoyed a nice chat before heading to Mazurik's to launch.  I thought it was going to be closed for three days after the holiday weekend, but it's going to be closed the 10th, 11th, and 12th next week.   We launched before sunrise and headed east towards Huron.

The conditions were excellent. There was a 5mph offshore wind, the temp was 74 degrees, and the sky was partly cloudy.  There was just a light chop on the water, so I was able to open up that big 300 G2 hanging on the back of that sparkly dark blue Ranger and take a nice smooth ride across the water.  It's not very often we who fish on Lake Erie get to experience that, so when it does happen, it makes the soul of a person very happy. ;)

We got to the area I wanted to fish, which was in 37 foot of water, and set the Ulterra on an easterly course. The baby ETEC pushed us at the usual 2.4-2.5mphs.

Dipsies set on the 3 setting were set out at 75 and 80 back, while the dipsies on the 1 setting were set 57 and 61 back. A 40 Tru-Trip Jet was set at 83 back. Everything caught fish at one point or another. We caught our limit of 24 walleye plus a plethora of white bass, white perch, and sheephead, and some young walleye not big enough to keep.

The guys had a great time learning how to run the dipsies and did a great job.  We went looking for perch when we were done, but only caught a half dozen or so, out in front of Lakeside, before their time was up.  

Tomorrow is going to be another nice day....and, we'll be back at it in the morning.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Doug, Bill, and Dave 9/2/18

by Capt Juls on 09/02/18

This morning, I picked up my crew at 5:30am and hit Rickard's for ice and a couple new spoons, and then the gas station to gas up the Ranger. We hit the highway and headed to Huron to have breakfast at Lemy's before launching.


We headed out of the river at 7am and headed east. Word was Cranberry was producing and it was closer than where I was fishing yesterday over by Cedar Point, so we headed that way.  There wern't a lof of boats in there yet, so with a push of a button, down went the Ulterra...set on an northeast direction. The baby ETEC was dialed in to 2.4-2.5mph.

We ran the spoon/dipsy program with the 3 setting at 50-55 and the 1 setting at 47-57.  After more boats moved in...I moved out. I don't like fishing in crowds and decided to run west.  As we were running, I kept an eye on the Helix and it showed good marks the entire way, so I simply got out of the crowd, shut her down, and and reset everything to troll again.  It wasn't long and we were catching nice eater sized walleye.  The west to east troll was much better than the east to west pull.

The weather was beautiful, and a nice day for Doug to have brought his Dad Bill, who is 85 years young, and his brother in law, Dave. They all expressed how much fun they had and want to come back again next spring...and, that makes me happy!

I'm back at it tomorrow, with a group from my homestate of Wisconsin, who will be fishing with me for the next 5 days. They were  here last year for 3 days of perch'n, and wanted to add a couple more days this year.  I explained the perch bite is a little off, so if they didn't mind cathcing some walleye we should do that first, and then try for some perch...and, if the bite picks up, we'll spend more time targeting them.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls