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Juls WFA Blog

Fishing with Brian and Greg 9/24/22

by Capt Juls on 09/25/22

It's been a long wait since the last day of July, when I sold the Ranger, to move into the new Vexus DVX22, and it was time to get back to work.

I had contacted my crew, and explained to them, that I had not been on the water fishing for walleye since the end of July, and that we had just had a big blow, and that from what I was hearing the bite was pretty tough recently. I gave them the option of rescheduling, but Brian said, "This is a learning trip for my boy and me, and we want to learn how to run dipsies, and ask you a ton of questions about fishing Lake Erie". I said, "Okay, let's go then. The weather looks pretty good on Saturday".

I picked them up from the White Caps Motel at 6am, which turned out to be a little too early, since the sunrise wasn't until 7:21, so after hitting the gas station for gas and ice, I thought our best bet was to launch at Huron, where I had marked some fish while breaking in the new Verado last week.

I did get friends out perch fishing last Tuesday, so I was able to make sure the Ulterra was working properly, which it was, but I hadn't done any trolling yet.

We got to Huron while it was still dark out, so after getting the boat ready to launch, I was talking to Greg Kipps, another Capt that was there waiting on his crew.  I must have gotten distracted before finishing my get-ready procedure, because when we launched, I had forgotten to undo one of the back straps.....again.
Luckily, the launch was not busy yet, so when the bow came off the roller, but went sideways instead of backwards, I knew I had messed up.

There was another boat at the dock, that had just launched, and the bow of my boat was drifting towards them, I used my net with the help of one of those gentlemen to push the bow of my boat back to the trailer. Using the net, I was able to pull the bow closer to the winch, where I could get close enough to the EZEESteps to step off and lift the bow of the boat back onto the roller.  After securing the bow again, Greg pulled the boat out of the launch enough, so that I could go undo the back strap.  By this time, my adrenaline is pumping, and I'm mumbling curse words to myself. My customers were understanding, and Brian kept saying, "Welcome to my world! This is how my life goes all the time!" I laughed, and it made me feel better.

We made it, and headed out the channel around 7:15.  I headed towards the waypoint I laid down on the Helix the day I was breaking in the motor, which was out at the dump. When we arrived and the boat came off plane, the fish marks were pretty good.  The Ulterra was deployed,  and the baby merc was lowered, and with fingers crossed, it started on the first try. The iTroll was engaged and dialed in, to a speed of 2.3mph. 

Everything was working perfectly, and I was happy.

We ran spoons on the dipsies and noted where the fish were showing on the sonar, so we could set the right depth on the zero and two settings.  We started with 25 and 27 on the zero settings and 40 and 50 on the two settings.  Then, we set out two Off Shore boards on each side, running Bandits first. Nothing on the Bandits, so we switched up one side to Flicker Minnow 11s....then, Spros on the other side....covering the water column from high to low. Still nothing.

We caught some walleye, but they were all short fish. No keepers.  I decided to run over towards "The Castle" area in 30-35 feet of water, and set up again.

The Ulterra stopped during mid-deploy and started chirping the "motor error" beep.  "Huh? What the heck?"  It wasn't making it over the end of the cradle for some reason.  I went  to the bow and hit the stow button on the remote. It stowed, and I re-deployed it again, this time giving it a little shove to help it over the cradle, and it deployed this time.  We started fishing again. We set up the dipsies and the outside rod started bouncing, but I knew it was a giant Sheephead, by the way it kept bouncing. Sure enough, it was a trophy Sheep, but at least it was a big fish. We had had nothing but 6 to 12 inch walleye up to that point.

After giving them the option to head in, and take a discount on the balance due, because they had a boat with them, and it would allow them to head out and practice what they learned on their own boat, they agreed. So, we brought the lines in and put the rods away. 

I hit the stow button on the Ulterra's remote, and it started to come up, but started chirping the alarm again when it was 1/3 of the way up. I deployed it again, and tried to stow it again. Same thing. "Uh oh", I exclaimed. "I think we have a problem"....and, we did.  I was going to have to do the emergency manual stow on this trolling motor.  I have never had to do one before, so I wasn't sure how to do it.   I called Matt Wieland, who is a Minn-Kota service tech in the area, but he and Jen were out doing their own charter yesterday, too, and he couldn't help me.  

I called Minn-Kota, but they were closed.  So, we watched a You-Tube video, and learned how to do it. Problem was, I didn't have my big screwdriver in the boat, because I had used it during a home project during my time off, and put it in a tool drawer instead of the box of stuff that went back in my boat's glove box. It was needed.

What to do? Ugh....   We took some dock line out of the storage compartment and secured the head of the motor, so it wouldn't bounce as much, as we limped back to the dock from 2 miles out. It was slow-going, but as we neared the river channel, the waves were smaller, so I could speed up a little bit. 
With that long 72" shaft, I didn't want to let it bounce very much, because I didn't want it to get bent.

I called my friend Bobby Greene..."Hello?", he asked. "Are you fishing today?" I asked. "I was, but I'm off the water now", he replied.  "Are you busy right now?" I asked. "I'm on my way to get a pizza. What's up?", he asked. I explained what was going on, and he said he would meet me at the dock with a big screwdriver. 

If you don't know the procedure involved with manually stowing an Ulterra, check it out. I don't think I would want to have to try to do it if it was rough out. lol

We made it to the dock, and another fella in a Ranger 619 had gotten there just before us. Bobby wasn't there yet, so I asked Ranger Guy if he had a big Phillips screwdriver we could borrow for a minute. He did.  We managed to get one of the screws on the side panel off, but the other one needed a different length screwdriver, because of the bow molding that holds a electronics unit interferes with getting a regular sized screwdriver in into the opening, to get to the screw.

Uffda....Bobby showed up, and with his help, we managed to do the rest of the manual stow without getting the other screw out, which would have allowed us to get the entire side panel off. Whew! Thanks for the help, Capt! Much appreciated!

With the bowmount now stowed, I was able to put the boat on the trailer, and load out.  What an embarrassing morning. Nothing like a brand spanking new Ulterra failing on me. 

And, before you say..."You should have a quick release bracket on there". I thought I did, and never noticed until I needed it. I had ordered one, but one was never put on. So, I don't know if my dealer missed it on the order, or if it was ordered and missed at the factory.  I've always had one on my boats, for this very reason.  I never wanted to have to attempt the manual stow out on the water, and with a quick release bracket, I could have simply removed the entire motor from the bow and laid it in the boat until I could have it fixed.

Up until this point, I have never had any issues with an Ulterra over the years. I know other people have had issues, but I never did. 

I don't know if it's the length of that 72" shaft that is an issue, but I don't trust it now. I have a brand new 60" Ulterra, that I've had in storage for a couple of years, that I wanted to have as a back-up in case I ever needed it (which I haven't), so I'm going to put that on the bow instead, and have the 72" fixed under warranty. I'm sure it's something minor, and easy to fix, so Matt will tackle that later this week.

Other than that little fiasco, I couldn't be more pleased with the new Vexus! I'm in love! She runs the waves like a dream, (granted they were only 2 footers this time), but it was a very smooth ride!  I do need to tighten up the throttle a little bit though...it's too sensitive. I'm also having a trim lever installed on the steering wheel, because the new trim buttons on the  Merc throttle are tiny, and under a rubber housing, so it's hard to trim on the fly, like you can with the toggle trim buttons of old. 

I also don't have room to add a MoDog Running Rod Rack, so I have to find something to go around the top of the rod holders, so I can keep the rods in them, when I make a move. I don't want to have to put them all back in their storage places every time we pick up to move.
I have the Cisco cradles, and I didn't buy the ones with the thingy that closes around the end, so the rods would bounce out, and not stay in place if it were rough out. I think I saw some velcro straps at Fisherman's Central that would do the job nicely, so I'll have to check that out, and see if they fit around the end of the rod holders. If they do...problem solved! :)

So, that was our day yesterday....a lousy fishing report, a failed bowmount, good friends helping friends, and the best, most understanding customers a gal could ask for! 

Due to weather for the week, I have rescheduled my trips for Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  I'll be back out on Friday to try again. May the fish Gods have pity on me. Fingers crossed! lol

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Picked Up the New Vexus Today...9/16/2022

by Capt Juls on 09/16/22

Well, today was the day. I picked up the new Vexus DVX22 from Fisherman's Central, here in Port Clinton. Tyler Holben had her all cleaned up and ready to go, when I arrived at 10am, this morning.

My friend, Jen, and I hooked her up and took her to the gas station where she drank almost 60 gallons of the "good stuff", before the gas nozzle shut off. Luckily, I had saved my Kroger fuel points for this day, so I was able to drop 40 cents off the first 35 gallons, before Kroger said, "That's all you get with your discount...you can get your 3 cents off on the rest of it". So cruel...lol

Anyway, she was gassed up, and ice put into the boat's cooler, where we tossed a few bottles of water for our ride later.  I drove home, and plugged her in, while Jen and I vacuumed it out, loaded the bow compartments with the safety equipment required by the USCG, and put the rod holders on. We put the fishing rods in the rod locker, but the lures will go in tomorrow. I have to sort through all the boxes to choose the "fall boxes", for the fall bite, since I missed the last part of summer, due to not having a boat to use.

Once she was loaded, we hit up Subway to grab some lunch to go, and headed to Dempsey's to launch.  The break-in procedure on the Mercury is pretty easy, but must be done how they ask, or there could be motor issues in the future. Today, was the perfect day to go do that, so the stars must have aligned, and smiled on me....because, the lake, which is seldom flat, was perfect today to go riding around for two hours.

The procedure is to simply vary the RPMs between 3500 and 4500 every two minutes, and after every 10 minutes, you can open her up to "wide open throttle" for no more than one minute....so, that's what we did.  Jen, used her phone as a stop watch and would tell me when two minutes was up, so I could vary the speed. I watched the main clock on the Humminbird, and every 10 minutes, I would tell her, "Hold on...here we go!".

While I know some guys, that have had these speeds on their Rangers, I can honestly say, that I have never been over 58mph in any of my 621s, no matter what I tried. Not that I'm a speed demon...I'm not, at all. But, I do like my boat to perform to its best ability, if it can do so.  I had the Vexus up to 68mph this afternoon, and that was with the prop I had taken off of my last 621's Verado, because the new one, that was supposed to come with this motor, is on backorder, but I'm told it will get this boat upwards of 72mph. 
Not that I'm ever going to go that fast, because 68 was too fast for me, anyway. But, it goes to show what a really great hull design can do, when paired with a beast of a motor. :)

The differences between the Ranger 621s I've had, which I've run for the past 21 years, and this Vexus, which I've only driven 4 times now (once in mine, and three times in a camera boat for a bass tournament a couple of weeks ago), are minimal.  
These are just my observations, and may or may not be anything to anyone else, but I notice little things, and little things can be big things to some people.

1. The biggest to me, was when sitting in the driver's seat and looking out over the bow, it feels like a "big water" boat. The bow feels higher off of the water, so when faced with bigger waves, it won't be as intimidating to someone less experienced, while driving in those bigger waves.  The Ranger has that "nose down" feel, so bigger waves can be more intimidating.

2. The fit and finish in both brands is the same. Excellent. However, there are some touches in the Vexus that I really like over the Ranger.  
A. On the passenger side foot area, instead of a bucket tucked up under the dash, there is a slanted foot rest instead.  Jen, mentioned how much she liked that as a passenger in that seat, because it was the perfect angle to have her feet and legs while riding on that side. 
Personally, I never used the bucket that comes with the Ranger, but I know others liked it.

B. The storage is more expansive in the Vexus, than in the Ranger. The bow storage seems almost double that of the Rangers, and the compartments in the back is yet to be determined. I'll know more when I load all my Plano 3700s back there. I know how many I could put in the 621, so we'll see tomorrow, when I load all the crankbaits. 

C. The rod locker is well-designed, but only holds (10) 1-piece rods, with room to put broken down 2-piece rods, compared to the Ranger 621's (12) 1-piece rod holders. But, that doesn't bother me, since I never run more than 8 trolling rods with the Off Shore boards, along with 2 dipsies off each corner, in back, anyway.
The area that holds the reel end of the rods is better in the Vexus, in my opinion.

D. The side rod holders, next to the passenger seat, will hold another 5 rods, easily. And, has a system that doesn't allow the reels to hit the fiberglass, like they did in my Rangers. They are more secure, too.

The Vexus's cooler is located in the back corner of the port stern, instead of in front of the passenger's side windshield, like in the Rangers, which I find satisfying. Because, when I fish, I keep a big cooler on the port side bow, so every time I wanted to get in the cooler, I had to shove that big cooler out of the way, to get in it. When it got full of fish, that sucker could get very heavy. Now, the cooler can be easily accessed. And, the location makes it easier to throw ice in it, and bottles of water, from the outside of the boat. I won't have to climb in the boat, just to add ice or drinks....it's much more efficient.

Well, this is getting long, and since I only spent two hours in it so far, I'll save some of the observations for my next report. It's getting late, and I need to go to bed. :)

Long story short....I think all my customers, new and old, will love this new boat as much as I do. :)

I have trips scheduled later in the week, next week, so I'll be out before then to prefish for them. I've been off way too long. lol But, thanks to my new Helix working perfectly, we were able to find and mark fish today, around the Huron dump, so I have an idea where I will be heading my next time out.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Just a Quick Update....Sorry for the long wait....:(

by Capt Juls on 08/30/22

ust a quick update, since I am getting a lot of messages saying they miss my reports, and asking if the new boat has arrived yet.
I'm still waiting on the new Vexus DVX22. It was not as far along in production as I was told, when I let my Ranger go to its new owner back at the end of July. It got held up for whatever reason, that the supply chain issues have caused, and won't be finished until the end of this month..
After it ships, it will need to have more items rigged by my dealer, and then the motors broke in, before I can run trips again.
I'm hoping that by September 10th, I'll be fishing again.
It is what it is. Some things are beyond anyone's control, and no one is to blame.
No one is looking more forward to getting back on the water, than me!
I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank all my customers that were scheduled this month, and early next month, that were willing to reschedule their trips with me, to a future date. I appreciate you all, very much!

Stay tuned...
Capt Juls

Fishing with Doug and Emily 7/30/2022

by Capt Juls on 08/02/22

Sorry, this entry is very late....reason being...I had to detail the boat, because it was being sold the next day, and there was a lot to do!

Emily had bought this trip for her husband Doug's birthday, which was back in June, but the soonest I could get them in was in July, so they picked July 30th, and the weather behaved.

We launched out of Huron that morning, and headed to Vermilion, where I had found a larger grade of fish on the previous trip. Unfortunately, those fish had moved, and all we were catching were junk fish and little buggers.

The winds was wacky that morning, and was coming from two directions....SW and NW at the same time, causing a washing machine effect with the waves.

After snagging something on the bottom near Vermilion, and spooling out the outside dipsey, breaking it off, we picked up and moved from Vermilion, back to the Huron dump area, and set up again with dipsies and Off Shore boards. Of course, we were down to three dipsies, since the one was taken out of action with half the spool of Power Pro gone from the reel.

To make a long story short, we only ended up with 8 keeper walleye, and a shortened day, when Emily and Doug called it, so they could get back home to spend time with their 4 year old, who was hanging out with Grandma for the morning.

It was a pleasant trip, with good company, and while the "fishing" was good, the "catching" was less than spectacular. ;)

The next day, I took the new owner of the Ranger 621 out for a test ride and a little fishing, to show him how everything worked together. We fished for a couple hours  north of Kelly's. We were marking fish, but only caught 2 there, before it was time to head in and go to Fisherman's Central to finalize his deal there.

He headed home to MN with the boat, and I'm now boat less until the new Vexus DVX22 shows up in a couple of weeks.  The expected ship date is August 11th, so if it ships on that date, it will take two days to get to Ohio, and then, there will be two days of rigging all the stuff sitting here in my fishing room, and then, another day or two of breaking in the 400 Verado, before I can take clients out again.

So, I'm off until then, and wanted you all to know why you won't see any reports for most of the month. :)

I will be doing some perch fishing with friends next week, who are bringing their boat up, to use. I hope the perch are still biting next week, like they are this week!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Jason and Warren 7/28/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/28/22

After a restless night, resulting in only 5 hours of sleep, I got up and made some coffee, to start my engine.  Stepping out on my back deck, for the usual forecast information gathering session, I saw that the deck was wet. It had just rained, so I looked at the radar first, to see if it was going to rain on us this morning, but it was clear behind the system that had just gone through. It wouldn't be raining on us today.

The air was saturated with water, and felt heavy. There was a light breeze out of the SW, and the air temp was in the low 60s. The sky was mostly cloudy.

The plan was to meet my crew at 4:45. I thought I would go over to their hotel early, and go down the TIk-Tok rabbit hole for 10 minutes, while I waited for them, and see them when they got there. 
But, there they were, ready to go at 4:30!  I was really surprised to see a 10-year-old that awake at 4:30 in the morning, but Jason said that Warren likes to fish, and will get up early to go.

It would just be Jason and his stepson Warren this morning.  We headed to Huron to launch, but I knew we would get there too early, since the sun isn't rising until almost 6:25 now, it would be too dark out yet.
So, we waited until 5:30 to launch and slowly idled out of the river.
By the time we reached the mouth of the river, the sky was clearing enough to the east, to let the lighted horizon brighten things up a bit.

We didn't travel far, and we were only on plane for two minutes, tops.  We set down in 30 feet of water, and the Solix was marking fish, so the Ulterra and baby Merc were deployed and set on a course to the east...holding course on the 30-31 foot contours.  

We started out with Bandits behind the Off Shore boards, and spoons behind dipsies, but took the Bandits out of the equation, because the dipsies were keeping us too busy, and I wanted to keep it simple for the boy, and it worked.

We narrowed down our dipsey program to 65 back on the 2 setting and 40 back on the zero setting, with mostly silver spoons. Silver/blue, Silver/green, and Silver/purple...and my tried and true Red Headed Wonderbread with a silver back.

Speed was 2.5 up to 3.0mph this morning.  The faster we went, the less junk fish we had, and the bigger the walleye we caught.

We had our 18 fish limit by 8:30am, and then went to find some perch.  I had my perch rods on board, and had the where with all to put some frozen minnows in the cooler before I left the house, this morning, so if the walleye came fast, we could look for perch.

I have never fished for perch over in the Huron area, this early in the year, so I didn't know where to look, really.

It was getting windy, and by the time we finished our trolling pass near Vermilion, the lake was getting rough. I told them I would take them back inside, where it was a bit calmer, and try and find some perch.  I found some good marks out in front of "The Castle", in 31 feet of water, that looked kind of perchy, so we set up there. 
Again, the Ulterra was deployed, but this time, with a push of a button, it anchored us on that spot, using the Spot-Lock function. And, in my head, I thank that little button every time I don't have to fight with an old-fashioned anchor, when we're "anchoring" on a spot. :)

With the one small Tupperware of frozen minnows available, we only caught 5 nice perch and about 15 to 20 sheephead. lol  Warren, who's only 10, had a blast and wore himself out, reeling in all those big sheephead by himself. lol

Jason was a pleasure to fish with, too. He's a fisherman, and has used Off Shore boards and dipsies before, but it's been a while since he's been fishing, so he wanted to take his boy on a fishing adventure with me, so he could just relax and have fun, instead of being in charge.  It worked. He did relax, and he did have fun!

I'm off tomorrow, and need to clean my boat, and cut the grass, and clean the house.

I have a trip on Saturday with a nice couple, who want to go walleye fishing.

And, then on Sunday, I have another walleye trip with two fellas from MN.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing Day 2 with Don and Jerry 7/27/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/27/22

Just a quick report today….only fished 2 1/2 hours, because my guys told me on the way to the ramp that they wanted to leave early to get through Chicago before rush hour, on their way back to Minnesota.
We had a lot of fun with the perch and sheephead this morning.
We managed to get 25 nice perch in the cooler before they called it.
26’ of water between mouse and the monument (closer to SB than mouse).

I have a walleye trip with a father and his 10 year old son tomorrow. They want walleye, so we'll be launching out of Huron in the am.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Don and Jerry 7/26/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/26/22

Now that the sun is rising a little later, I've adjusted my alarm clock to go off at 2:40 instead of 2am, so I could get a little more sleep.  Unfortunately, that only works if you can stay asleep.  I woke up 7 minutes before the alarm went off,  so I got slightly ripped off, thanks to the "Sand Man" playing his little jokes on me. Well played, SM....well played. 

After I made some coffee, and grabbed Dexter's treats, he and I went out to the back deck, to check the weather. "What do you think, big boy? It's nice and cool out, should I keep the windows in the house open today?" I asked. 
Of course, he just kind of gave me an acknowledgment, with a "side-eye" glance, as he ate his cookie.  "No, you're right, it's still pretty humid", I said.

It was a beautiful morning, with cooler temps than the previous couple of weeks. The air temp was in the mid to high 50s, and the wind was very light out of the SSW. The wind forecast was calling for wind less than 8mph, all day. My favorite kind of day. 

I picked my Minnesota crew up at the White Caps Motel at 5:20. I wasn't going to drive to Huron this morning, so I didn't have to leave as early as I was last week.
Don and Jerry were right on time, so we hit the gas station  for gas and ice, and then hit Hi-Way Bait for some minnows. 

We were walleye fishing today, but I was hopeful that we could get the walleye early and then go for some perch, if time allowed.  I figured if there wasn't time, and we didn't use the minnows, my neighbor's pond has largemouth bass and big bluegills in it, that would gladly take the minnows off my hands, so they didn't go to waste.

We launched out of Mazurik's at 6am and headed to the east side of Kelly's. To make a long story shorter....we fished for two and a half hours, marking fish on the Solix, only to find the cooler still empty.  I debated on where to go next, and told the guys to pick up, because there has to be active fish somewhere.  And, since I had been doing well to the east, I opted to hit the Huron area. It was a good move. We started catching right away, and it continued until we ran out of time.

We were trolling in 40-41 feet of water with both Bandits and dipsies with spoons.

The Bandits were run behind the Off Shore boards, set with 2 oz Guppy weights (at the 50 mark), and let out a total length of 120 and 87 back on the starboard side, and 120 and 115 on the port side.
Colors used were: Green Lantern, Furmi-Nuff, Blue Chrome, and Carrot Top

They all took fish as soon as they were set, but that wouldn't last, and the Bandit bite would slow down, while the spoon bite would pick up, as the morning progressed.

The dipsies were on their usual zero and two settings, but the lead lengths were changing constantly, until we found that 45 back on the zero setting and 65 back on the two settings were catching consistently, and pretty quickly.

Speed was 2.5-2.7 going east and 2.4-2.5, 2.6 going west.  The easterly direction had more action than the westerly troll, did.

We went through a ton of little fish, junk fish, and dropped fish, to get our 17 keepers, but Don and Jerry were kept busy, and had a great time learning how to use dipsies. They caught on very quickly, and did a great job! 

I have them again tomorrow, but tomorrow's trip is exclusively a perch trip, so we'll be launching out of Mazurik's or Catawba, in the morning....I'm not sure which one yet.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Gus, Tim, and Rick 7/22/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/22/22

This one, is going to be short and fast, because I had to cut two lawns this afternoon, when I got home, and I've run out of time....it's time to go to bed. lol

Picked my Indiana crew up at 4:45 and went to Huron to launch. We headed out at 5:30 and started out in front of Cranberry Creek, in 26' of water and just trolled ENE for one long pass, until we were past Vermilion.  

I had the Ulterra heading in a way that we gradually entered deeper water the further we went. When we hit 43' by the V-dumping ground, we zig-zagged around there.

We caught fish the entire way, but mostly shorts and junk fish. We did manage to get 23 of our 24 fish limit, though, before we ran out of time and headed in.

This was a learning trip for Gus, and his friends Tim and Rick. They fish together, and use Off Shore boards, but had difficulty knowing how to bring in the outer boards without having to bring in the insides boards first, so that was easy to teach.
They had never used dipsies either, but wanted to learn how to use them, too. They caught on very quickly and by the third hour, we were working together like a well-oiled machine.

They were kept very busy the entire time, checking for little fish hanging on the dipsies, which they usually were, so they got a lot of practice. :)

So, for as far as a "learning trip" goes....mission accomplished!

Dipsies were set originally, in the shallower water, at 25 and 27 on the zero setting, and 40 and 50 on the two setting. Then, as we got over deeper water, they were gradually lowered to just above where we saw fish on the Solix.   Once we were over 40' of water, the best settings were 56 and 60 on the zero setting, and 80-100 on the two setting.

At one point, I put a black/gold Ripplin Redfin on the port side, two setting dipsey, which took several fish, before it was stolen by what I think was a muskie hit. Less than 30 seconds before that disappeared, an entire dipsey set up with an orange/copper Scorpion spoon went missing after a huge tug on the rod happened.
Coincidence? I think not....just a big old hungry beast, I think. Who knows...we never saw it, to confirm it.  So, it can be whatever I want it to be. Ha!

Bandits ran with 2oz Guppy weights, put on at the 50 mark, and run a total back at 125, 119, and 110 on once side, and 120, 115, and 110 on the other side. All of these took fish. 
Colors were:  Green Lantern (2), Furmi-Nuff (2), Blue Chrome, and Chrome Perch. 

Speed was 2.5

The guys had a good time, did a great job, and enjoyed the nice weather we had today. It was an enjoyable and productive morning. 

Tomorrow, is not going to be so nice, and I have cancelled, due to the wind and weather forecast for tomorrow.  They are calling for a couple of decent hours in the morning and then scattered showers and thunderstorms from 8-11 with gusty winds.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Dave and Tracy 7/20/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/20/22

This was a morning I was looking forward to all season. I was finally going to get to do a perch trip. As you all know, I love perch fishing! :)

Unfortunately, the wind forecast was not going to allow me to go where I wanted, because it was going to be gusting into the 20s. Tracy had told me that her husband Dave didn't like it rough, so I said, "Well, I haven't been fishing for perch yet, but it's a south wind, so we could just go out in front of the launch from Catawba to the lighthouse and try to see if we can find some. It won't be rough near shore. The further out you go, the rougher it will be". I offered a reschedule if that was what they wanted, but they wanted to go, and liked my proposition of staying near shore.

We met at Mazurik's at 5:30 and were launched by 5:45. I'm going to make this a very short story, because I'm not giving up where we did end up finding some after our 4th move. 

I will say, though, that at one point, when I didn't think it was that windy, that we did go out west of Catawba to find some, and we found good marks, but they were not biting. There was a Mayfly hatch over there last night, as was evidenced by the Mayfly husks coming up, and floating on the surface of the lake, so maybe they were already full. I don't know.  The waves were only 1-3 feet at the time, with an occasional 4 footer, so it wasn't that bad. 

The wind picked up a little more, and the lake was white-capping over there, so I decided to make a move back to the protected shoreline. I didn't want anyone feeling uncomfortable, and the fish weren't biting, so it was an easy choice.

We stopped at a spot that I have fished previously in years past, about this time of year, and set up. The Ulterra didn't have to use as much energy to hold there, as it did west of Catawba, either.

I dropped my crappie rig down and almost immediately got a nibble. "This is a good sign", I said. Then, Dave got a nibble, and caught the first perch....which was really a good sign!  It was not a hot bite by any means, but we did manage to put 30 nice perch in the cooler for them to take home.  We had to work for them, and I explained how I was catching them, by "teasing" them with the bait, rather than just setting it on the bottom and leaving it there.

It was a mix of light bites and slam bites, but the slam bite usually ended up being a sheephead or a white perch. The yellow perch were much more Houdini-like, and were very good at stealing the bait off your hook without you even knowing it.

Patience, was key. They would bite, and then they wouldn't, and then they would bite again, and then they wouldn't. So, it was never an "up and down" bite, like we all love, but it was enough action to  keep everyone interested, and fishing....and, that made me happy. :)

I've rescheduled my walleye trip, with one of my regulars, due to stronger west winds tomorrow, so I won't be back out until Friday.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Hit "Publish Post" on an old post....to fix a typo...

by Capt Juls on 07/19/22

My bad...by hitting publish post, it moved an old post up to the top of the list. Tracy and Dave perched fished with me last August. I was looking to see where we had gone, and saw a typo, so I fixed it and hit publish....not knowing it would move it up to the top of the list.

I am fishing with them again tomorrow, so I'll have a new report then. 

Sorry about that....I don't want to confuse you. :)

Capt Juls

Fishing with Dennis, Dan, and Dominic 7/16/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/16/22

I woke up before the alarm clock again, so I got up and took my coffee and animals outside to the back deck. The deck had been drizzled on, so I check the RadarScope app to see if there was rain in the area. It showed there was, and that it would be around until early to mid-morning.  That did not make me happy...I had just cleaned the boat, yesterday....deep sigh.

I was meeting Dennis and his two sons Dan and Dominick at the local Walmart, since they were at a campsite, and it was the easiest place for me to meet them.
I left the house at 3:50, so I could drive through town and get the ice before meeting them, but didn't anticipate a train stopped on the train tracks down the road. 

I pulled up to it, and waited, then, I started to panic a little, because if it didn't move, I was going to have to try and turn the truck and boat around in a very tight area, in the dark, while it's raining. My mirrors were hard to see out of because of the water on them. Sometimes, those trains can sit there for hours, blocking the intersection, and sometimes, they just wait for another train to go by, and then move. Well, another train did go by, but the stopped one didn't start moving after the other one was long gone. I had to try and turn around. Ugh!

I tried turning one way, and backing up, but nixed that idea before it was too late, when I realized I would get stuck in an awful position. 
Once I was back on the road, I started just backing down the road, but I couldn't see well enough to do that for a 1/2 mile, to the RT2 on ramp, so I pulled up to the tracks again, and assessed the situation one more time.  
This time, I turned it to the right, into a little driveway, that was blocked by a gate. I was hoping that it was long enough to let me get the boat straight enough, to allow me to back up in the gravel by the tracks, on the other side of the road, and not trap me.  There was just enough driveway there, to allow me to do that....and, I just missed their mailbox by inches, but I got by it....whew!  
I'm VERY good at backing a trailer, but that experience had my hands shaking when I was done. lol

So, once on RT2, I head to the gas station to get ice. I was still early, and had 20 minutes before I had to meet my crew.  Oh, and before I forget, in yesterday's report, I mentioned that the two "boys" were teens, and would probably have a hard time getting up that early. Well, come to find out, they are 27 and 30 years old, so Dennis and the "boys" actually beat me to the store's parking lot this morning, and were there at 4:25. :)

They jumped in my truck, and we headed to Huron to launch. It was raining, and I asked them if they brought rain gear....none of them did, but they said it would be okay. I said it wouldn't be more than a drizzle, on and off, until mid-morning, so it shouldn't be too bad.

We launched, but it was too dark to head out on the lake. There's no sense going out there when you can't set up, so we sat at the courtesy dock for another 15 minutes.  Other boats were launching too, but none had ventured out yet either. When the sky lightened a little, we got underway.

I wasn't going to make the run back to Lorain, so instead, we hit the Huron dumping grounds. We set up over 40 feet of water with the usual Bandits behind Off Shore boards, and dipsey program I've been running for the past 4 days.

Dipsies on the zero setting were started at 54 and 60 back. The two settings were set at 90 and 100 back.

Three Bandits per side, were run with 2oz Guppy weights at the 50 mark and run out to a total of 130, 125, and 120 on both sides.  Colors were Blue Chrome, Green Lantern (2), Chrome Furmi-Nuff (3). All of these caught fish. At one point, one of my Chrome Furmi's got out of tune, so in a hurry, I just grabbed a Chrome Perch and swapped it out, since I had two others running out there. The Perch took the next fish. 

The cranks took bigger fish, and the spoons took the most fish. But, I question that, because I think we dragged some fish on the cranks for a while, before suspecting something was up, and checked them. So, is it really fair to say the spoons did better? I think not. ;)

We had 17 of our 24 when I decided to pull everything and make a run back, to make another pass. By then, it was going on 9am, and the bite was slowing down for us. We had two hours to go, so I figured we could fill our limits in that time.
To make a long story shorter, I told them, "We go in when we get the last fish, or 11am, whichever comes first"...and, the last keeper came in at exactly 10:59! Ha! Yay!

It was a learning trip for this family of fishermen, who wanted to learn what they were doing wrong when pulling inline planer boards. They had only used dipsies once before, so I showed them how I do everything, and then had them doing everything, and talking them through things, and in no time at all, they were working like a well oiled machine.

They were amazed at how fast we were catching, too. And, I figured out that they didn't have the Precision Trolling Data app, to help them know where their baits were. I told them, "That's the troller's bible. If you don't know where your baits are in the water column, you're fishing blind, and wishing fish to your baits". I showed them the app, and how it works...so, Dan downloaded it right then, and there, so they have it the next time they go fishing.  I think it will make all the difference in their results.

I had a lot of fun fishing with them, because they caught on fast, and were pretty laid back, and that makes me happy!

I'm off tomorrow, and watching Monday's forecast. Looks like some more rain and wind for Monday. I hope it changes! Fingers crossed!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Day 4 of 4 Fishing with Marc and Jim 7/15/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/15/22

I wasn't sure where I wanted to go out of this morning. Originally, I wanted to go out of Mazurik's, for the last day of their trip, because it was close to home. But, it has been so long since I fished around the islands, that I didn't have a clue if there were any fish around them right now, so I opted to go with a sure thing over out of Huron, instead.  

Marc and Jim needed to drive back to Wisconsin today, so I didn't want to waste a morning searching for fish, when I knew where we could get them pretty fast, so they could get on the road, and home at a decent hour this afternoon.

I picked them up at the Best Western at 4:30, and we headed to Huron to launch. We were headed out of the river at 5:15, while the the sky was just getting light. When I take a pic in the morning, my camera lightens things up a lot, but I can tell you, it was a lot darker than the photo portrays...but, the bright full moon lit things up nicely on land, and on the water.

The air temp was 59 degrees, the wind was barely noticeable, and the sky was clear, so you know what that means, right? Yeah, Baby!! We got to go fast! Woot! Woot! 

As we approached the end of the no wake zone, I closed the windshield, and I turned to Jim who was sitting in the passenger seat, and said, "You're going to want to take that hat off, or else you're going to lose it". Smiling, he reached up and took it off, and tucked it away for safe keeping.

Looking back at Marc, I asked, "You ready to go?" "Yeah", he said. And, with a push of the throttle, the boat got up on plane and off we went.  It's not often we get to go fast with a nice smooth lake out here on Lake Erie, so when it happens, I kind of just savor the experience.  I went full throttle a few times over our 18 mile one-way run, but mostly it was at a cruising speed, to save on gas.  Was it worth the 95.00 gas bill today? Yes...yes, it was! 

We fished the same place we fished yesterday, and caught our limit a little faster than we did yesterday. When there's a full moon, I really believe it's best to get out as early as possible, or fish late afternoon. There can often be a midday lull, when they just don't feel like eating, since they probably ate all night and morning. But, that's just been my experience.....I could be wrong.

The program was the same as yesterday, but I changed out one of the Bandits to one of Mike Schlimgen's customs called, "Chrome Furmi-Nuff". He owns Slim Shady Customs, and had a painted one that I bought, and I asked him if he could do one in Chrome for me, and he did. That color was on fire this morning. I put it on, because he said he has been using it lately, and it's been a great producer for him, so I pulled it out of the box and took one of the Carrot Tops off. 
It was getting bit before the Off Shore board could get into position. After seeing that a couple of times, I changed out the other Bandit running next to it, and they were both consistently catching fish all morning.  
So, we had two Chrome Furmi's on the port side, and a Carrot Top and Blue Chrome on the starboard side, which were also producing very well, too.

All Bandits were using 2oz snap weights at the 50 mark and sent out to a total of 120-130 back behind the Off Shores. 

Dipsies were the same as yesterday, too.  The zero setting was at 56 and 60 and the two settings were at 95 and 100. Same spoons as yesterday, too. Yeck, Stinger, and BadMo spoons, in mostly copper colors....except for the BadMo...I don't think they make any simple colored spoons, but the back was antifreeze colored, if that matters. ;)

Speed was 2.4-2.6mph.

My crew did a great job getting fish to the boat, and netting them, too. We had our 18 by 8am, and were headed back in, with a nice cooler of fish for them to take back to Wisconsin.  They are looking forward to coming back again next year, so that would make it 12 years in a row fishing with me now, and that makes me happy!

I have a new crew tomorrow. A father and his two sons (teens, I think?), so that's an opportunity to make some fun family memories.  We shall see....I am making them get up pretty early, and I know male teens are not fond of that. lol

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Day 3 of 4 with Marc and Jim 7/14/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/14/22

I called, and gave my crew a wake-up call at 3:45am, like I promised. I wasn't leaving it up to the lazy front desk crew at the Best Western, to get them up. lol

I told Marc and Jim I would pick them up at 4:30, and showed up early...went in, and chatted with them over breakfast. After they were done eating, we hit the road at 4:30, and did the usual gas station stop, before heading to Vermilion to launch.

We were headed down the Vermilion River by 5:20, just as it was getting light out. The wind was light out of the north, and the air temp was 64 degrees. The sky was mostly clear, with a brightly lit full moon, sitting low in the western sky.

After taking a right at the break wall, we headed NNW for about 8-9 miles before setting up over 50 feet of water. The marks showing on the Solix were deep this morning. I'm thinking that full moon, and the thermocline, had something to do with that behavior, but it's only a guess on my part. :)

Bandits behind the Off Shore boards were set with 2oz Guppy weights at the 50 mark, and then let out to a total of 150 and 130 on the starboard side (colors were Carrot Top and Green Lantern/red chin), and 145 and 125 on the port side (Carrot Top and Blue Chrome).  Those all took nice fish multiple times.

Dipsies were set with Yeck spoons, Stinger, and Scorpion Stingers spoons....note: the Scorpions were taken off and replaced with the larger BadMo spoons, which was a good replacement.
Zero setting was 60 on both sides, and the two settings were 100 and 105. All of these took multiple fish, too.

Speed was 2.3-2.5mph

The color confusion was good in both the Yeck and Stinger spoons. The effective BadMo that we used, had an antifreeze green on the back side. I tried one with the pink antifreeze, but it did nothing, so I replaced it with another Confusion (copper with pastel colored dots), and it started catching, too.

The bite was a little faster, early, and then slowed a bit, but still very good all morning....and, the best part... there were no other boats in site. Which was nice, because I didn't have to keep turning around to see where other boats were, and who had the right-of-way. :)

My crew was busy all morning, and we each kept a nice grade of walleye for our 3-person limits. I've had Marc and Jim for three days now, and each day our cooler has gotten heavier with a better grade of fish.  I'm not sure where we are headed tomorrow. The wind is only supposed to be 8mph out of the south. I may try someplace closer to home, this time.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Day 2 of 4 Fishing with Marc and Jim 7/13/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/13/22

The morning started out much nicer than yesterday morning, since I had hot water again, and I could take a shower. I woke up a 1/2 hour before my alarm went off, so I just got up and got the coffee going.  With a cup of coffee in hand, the dog, three cats, and I headed out to the back deck to take in the morning sounds, and check the weather apps. According to iWindSurf, the winds were going to be light out of the west for most of the morning.

At 4:10, I headed to the Best Western to meet Marc and Jim, who are here from Wisconsin, for a 4 day trip. I told them to be ready at 4:30, and I would pick them up.  I got there early, and went down the Tik-Tok rabbit hole for about 15 minutes, before I realized it was almost 4:30. I got out of the truck and checked in the complimentary breakfast area, to see if they were almost ready, but they weren't in there. "That's weird", I thought. They always grab some chow and then head out the door to meet me. I figured they had to run back to the room for something, so I went back outside. It was now 4:30, so I shot Marc and text and asked if they were ready. No response.  
At 4:35 I thought I had better give them a call to find out what's going on. The phone rings and rings, and I start getting worried. Finally, Marc answer's, "Hello?" (he sounds very sleepy)....I said, "Morning, are you guys almost ready?"
He asks, "What time is it?" I say, "It's 4:30...are you just waking up?"  To which he replies, "Oh my God, we didn't get our wake-up call this morning! We'll be down as soon as we can".  "Okay", I said, and hung up the phone. 

With all the little fires I've dealt with this week, and put out, I just kind of chuckled at my luck, and thought to myself, "It's no big deal...and, it's not their fault...don't let it ruin your morning". They came out, but I told them to go back in and get something to eat, because I  know they never take a cooler of food or drink on the boat with them, and I didn't want them getting hungry.  
I can do that, because I do a 16/8 diet, so long stretches without food are easy for me now. But, they are not, so I didn't see what harm a few extra minutes would hurt at this point. They ate fast, hopped in the truck, and we were headed down RT 2, to Huron by 5am.

By 5:40 we were headed out of the Huron River to the spot where the three of us ended our trip yesterday, when we launched out of Dempsey's. It was a much shorter ride to the spot out of the river, than from all the way over in Sandusky Bay.  

Yesterday, if you remember, we were trolling in an ENE direction, from 36 feet of water to 40 feet of water, with the wind behind us. It was a west wind again this morning, so we just continued with the same direction, and program, we left off with yesterday, so we started in 40 feet of water this morning, and ended in 43 feet of water by the time we finished up.

The dipsey program used the zero and two settings, as usual, but we started with the zero settings on 40 and 50 back and the two settings at 50 and 60 back. Instead of the usual 30/35 and 40/50, respectively.

Eventually, the luckiest settings were the zero setting at 47 and 54 back, and the two settings at 75 and 84 back.

Speed was 2.5mph

Bandits ran behind the Off Shore planer boards with 2oz Guppy weights attached at the 50 mark, and then let out to a total of 110-120 back. We caught at 120, 117, 115, 113, and 110.  The crank bait fish were usually nicer fish, whereas the spoons inspired smaller fish to hit them. Fish from 6 inches to 17 inches were the typical spoon fish, while the Bandits were 17-25 inches.

We went through a lot of fish this morning to put together our 18 fish limit, but the work was a lot of fun, and my crew did a great job! They had fun, and are looking forward to going out again tomorrow, and that makes me happy. (Side note: Marc and Jim have been fishing with me a couple of times a year, for 11 years now, and I know some day, we just won't be able to do it anymore, so I like to enjoy their company, while we still all have that chance. They are great people, and easy to get along with...but, hey, they are from Wisco, so that should go without saying.)

Looks like light north winds tomorrow, so I'm going to think about where I want to fish tomorrow, and what launch we're going to use.  I'll know by morning. :)

When I dropped them off at their hotel, after we were done fishing, I asked Marc, "Do you want me to give you your wake-up call tomorrow morning? I get up at 2am, so it's not a problem."
Smiling, he said, "Yes, please! That would be great....3:45". 

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Day 1 of 4 with Marc and Jim 7/12/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/12/22

Oh, what a morning! I mean that in both the good way, and the bad way.

Without going into a long story, my water heater is not working at the moment, so I had to heat water on the stove and take a sponge bath, instead of a nice awakening shower, this morning.  Okay...I could deal with that. It wasn't so bad, but my hair really needs a washing. lol

Then, I get to the hotel to pick up Marc and Jim, my long time customers from Wisconsin, and as Jim walks up he says, "We don't have our Ohio fishing licenses. We were here 6 hours, and completely forgot to go get them". It was 4:45, and none of the bait shops are open that early, so I said, "No problem, the Sun's coming up later now, so we have time. We can run over to the Fisherman's Wharf...they open at 5am".  We get there, and the sign on the door says, "No fishing licenses sold". Arrggghhh... Okay, take a deep breath, it's not a problem. I'll just use my phone and do it online for them....that turned into a half hour ordeal, but we got it done. 

We finally get to the gas station to gas up and get ice. I'm watching the wind forecast on iWindSurf, which was calling for gusts to 30, but the buoys were only showing 10-15mph at real time.  So, we went to Mazurik's first, to check the lake. It looked good, but there was absolutely nobody else there at 5:45. "That's weird", I thought. Did they know something I didn't?  I thought about it for a little bit, and decided to go launch at Dempsey's, because if the wind did pick up, it was closer to where I wanted to target fish, and would be a better, more protected, ride back to the launch, than Mazurik's would have been.

We launched at 6am and headed out through Bay Point Marina and out to in front of Cedar Point. The Solix wasn't marking anything there in 35 feet of water, so I kept going east, towards the white condos....still in 35-36 feet of water. Fish started marking on the sonar just east of the condos, so I powered the big motor down and deployed the Ulterra and the baby Merc, and just kept our heading to the ENE with the waves behind us, and on the starboard corner. 

Speed was set at 2.3-2.5mph

The dipsies were set first, in the usual program of the zero and two settings, at 30/35, and 40/50 back, respectively, with Scorpion Singer spoons and Yeck spoons.

EDIT, because I forgot to mention it before....
As we hit deeper water, I noticed the fish lower in the water column and moved the zeros to 46 and 54....and the two settings to 55 and 65.

Two Off Shore planer boards were run out each side, with Bandits on the port side and Flicker Minnow 11s on the starboard side. Bandits were at 80 and 55 back, and the Flickers were at 95 and 65 back.  The Bandit at 80 had a huge pullback, but whatever it was, got off.  The Flickers did nothing, so I changed them out to Bandits, also.  This time, they were set with 2 oz Guppy weights at 50/65 (total 115) and 50/55.  Both took a nice keeper walleye.  The unassisted Bandits also took a walleye each, but the spoon bite was definitely the entertainer this morning.

It was pretty much non-stop action, with fish from 6" to 18". Not monsters, by any means, but we managed to put their two limits in the cooler, along with 2 of mine, before we decided to make the long run back in.

They are older gents, so I took it slow, so they wouldn't get beat up. These are the same two that rescheduled from three weeks ago, when it was really hot out, and pretty windy, and I had told them to stay home.  

They both did very well, since I kept the boat from rocking too much, by going with the waves. Luckily, the fish were okay with that direction too. :)
They had fun, and are looking forward to a less windy day tomorrow.

Tomorrow's forecast is calling for light west winds less than 10mph out of Huron, so we will be driving over there in the morning, and launching in the river.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with John and Matt 7/8/2022

by Capt Juls on 07/08/22

This morning, I had John Williams and his Son-in-Law Matt with me. Some of you might remember John from a previous trip this past May, when we had kind of a slow bite over by the cans, but he was able to get his two personal bests in one morning...the largest being a nice fat 29 incher. 

Anyway, I told them I would pick them up at the White Caps Motel at 4:30, but as is my routine, I showed up there 15 minutes early. As I was texting him, to let him know they could take their time, and that I was early, I heard a tapping noise, but it was light, so, confused, I looked around and just figured my brakes were settling in after parking. "That's weird", I thought.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a silhouette in my passenger's side window...and, it scared the crap out of me!  It was only John, lightly tapping on the window, to let me know they were out there already.  He had tapped on my tonneau cover, on his way to the window, so the "brake noise" mystery was solved. lol

We were early, so I took the long way through town, to go get ice for the coolers. The truck and boat were already gassed up, so that saved us some time, too.

The plan was to launch at Huron again, since it's just been so good, and so easy over there, and it's cheaper to drive the truck over there than to run the big motor across the lake, like I've always done in the past, since the truck can take the 87 and the Verado drinks the good stuff.

We launched at 5am and headed out the river. The sunrise is starting to get a little later now, so I'm going to adjust my timing for that.  It was still good to go at 5am, since it was a partly cloudy sky this morning, and not a full cloud coverage. Had it been cloud covered, it wouldn't have been light enough to go until closer to 5:30, but as it was....the horizon started to lighten up enough to see the lake's surface on our way out.

There was a 3mph wind out of the SW this morning, and ENE tiny rollers coming in the other way, but they were small enough that it didn't really impede how fast you could drive across the lake, so that was nice. 
We headed to the same area I have been fishing for the last several weeks, and the fish were still there.

We started in 38 feet of water and finished up in 43 feet of water. The action was pretty much non-stop, but there were a lot of shorts in the mix.  The final box contained mostly 16-17 inch fish, with a couple of bigger ones in there. Good eaters, that my crew was happy with.

I only set them up with the 4 dipsies/spoons, because I figured the bite would be fast again, and there's no sense adding more lines, if they are not needed.  Even with only 4 lines out, we still finished up in a little less than two hours.  

Started with the zero setting at 30 and 35, but eventually moved them down to between 40 and 50 feet back.

The two settings started at 40 and 50, but were then adjusted to 55 on one side and 75 on the other side. The deeper leads did better this morning.

Speed was 2.5mph

The white perch, white bass, and sheephead were minimal today, and not a big problem.

I gave them a couple options, so they could stay out, but they were good with going in to have breakfast, and getting the fish cleaned, before heading back to Cincinnati. I gave them a slower boat ride in, so they could enjoy the lake a little longer. (We stopped on the way in, to pick up a floating giant balloon, too.)

They were supposed to have a two day trip, but it's been cut short, due to the wind forecast for tomorrow, which I'm positive will be a "small craft advisory", if it doesn't change overnight, which it could, since the forecasting has been wacky lately.  Strong, gusty, NE winds up to 33 mph are forecast right now.  So, they went home.

Hopefully, Sunday's forecast changes a little bit....ENE 13-19 is forecast right now, and that's not fun. Fingers crossed!

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

For those of you checking in....I'm still here...:)

by Capt Juls on 07/07/22

I've been off all week, due to a visit to Wisconsin to attend my Father's Memorial and my Mom and Sister's birthdays. :)

I'll be back out tomorrow, Friday (8th).

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Rob and Noel 6/30/2022

by Capt Juls on 06/30/22

This morning, I had a birthday girl, Noel, and her boyfriend (fiancé?), Rob, out for a dipsey learning trip. Rob had bought the dipsies, but needed some instruction on how to properly run them, so he wouldn't tangle everything up on his own boat.

Granted, dipsies can look intimidating, but they are the easiest thing in the world to run, and catch fish with, when run properly. 

This morning started early. I told them I would pick them up at the White Caps Motel at 4:20, but I showed up at 7 minutes after, and there they were...ready to go! So, we left earlier than usual, and hit the gas station for the usual...topping off the gas tank, and getting ice for the coolers.  

We hit Huron at 4:45. Capt Bobby Greene showed up around the same time, so I chatted with him for a bit before heading out at 5am. It was dark, but the horizon was starting to lighten up, so we could see if there were any obstacles in the river on our way out. It was pretty clean this morning, for a change, so we didn't have to dodge any debris.

We headed ENE and when we hit 38 feet of water, I shut the big motor down, and deployed the Ulterra and the baby Merc, and set a course in the same direction, at a speed of 2.5mph.

I showed them how dipsies work, and then showed them how to set them. I run two dipsies off of each corner, and call them the "inside rod" and the "outside rod". The inside rod is a 6' medium action and the outside rod is an 8'3" rod. This gives the two plenty of space between them, to help eliminate tangles when setting them out.  The inside rods were running on the zero setting and the outside rods were running on the two setting.

The zero settings started at 30 and 35 back, and the two settings were running at 40 and 50 back. 
Scorpion Stinger Spoons and Yeck spoons were attached.  The color spectrum on the spoons was all different, and it didn't seem to make a difference.

The catching started right away, and it was a 3:1 ratio of short fish to keeper fish, so by the time we had 18 in the live well, we had surpassed 40 fish. I didn't keep count of all the fish we caught, but 3:1 sounds about right, if I have to guess. :)

Noel has only fished two times prior to this trip, and picked up on the fishing lingo pretty quick. She did a fantastic job on her side of the boat, and Rob, who has his own boat, and goes a few times a year, knew more than Noel, also did a fantastic job, this morning.  He had bought some dipsies, but never used them, so this trip was to learn how to run them. I have no doubt, that after this morning's trip, that they can go out in their own boat and run dipsies with confidence now.

One keeper fish got to live another day... when I went to measure it (didn't really need to, since I knew it was over 15 1/2 inches, but I did anyway), and it flopped and slid down the splash well, and into the motor bracket, to escape. It was too slippery for me to get him by the tail as it flailed in the bracket for a few seconds. Lucky fish! They didn't seem to mind too much, since it was a fast bite, and it wouldn't take long to get another one.  Needless to say, I moved the measure to the side of the boat, instead of the back of the boat. lol

When we hit their limit, and I announced we were in the bonus round (meaning my fish limit), I asked, "Remember when we were driving over here, and you two were talking about how you hoped you caught some fish today? You didn't hear me, because I was quietly giggling to myself". They laughed, and Noel said, "I can't believe this! This is great!" Rob agreed. 

We stopped for breakfast on the way home, and while we were waiting on our meals, Rob mentioned that his uncle has a charter, and I casually said, "Oh yeah? Who's your uncle?"....(figuring it would be someone I don't know).... He replied, "TKO Charters". I looked at him wide-eyed and said, "Todd Kerr is your uncle? I know him! He's a great Capt...why didn't you go out with him?"  He said, "He runs big boards, and a big boat (need more people), and I wanted to learn how to run dipsies. And, I've been reading your reports for years on Walleye.com, and really wanted to go out with you". I smiled and said, "Thank you, but he's really good, ya know!"  He smiled, and said that he would go with him someday, too. :)

They both had a great time, learned what they needed to learn, and took home a bunch of fish for a family fish fry, when Noel has her house-warming party next month. She just bought a beautiful home in MI, with a property/garden, anyone would be envious of. 

I'll be off until later next week. I have to go to Wisconsin for my Dad's Memorial Service, and my Mom and sister's birthdays.

So, since I'll be gone, you're all probably guaranteed beautiful weather until I get back. You're welcome. ;)

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Diane, Chad, and Jeff 6/26/2022

by Capt Juls on 06/26/22

I woke up at 1:15 this morning, 45 minutes before my alarm was to go off, and laid there, wide awake, so I just got up and made some coffee. I was thinking about this two day trip I had for today and tomorrow, and knew that tomorrow was going to be a blow day with the forecasted gusty NW winds, so we had to get today's trip in, for sure.

The forecast was calling for rain around 9am and winds coming in behind it.  I grabbed my coffee, treats for Dexter and the cats, and headed out to the back deck to sit by my fire pit, and check my weather apps.  The radar showed a fast moving storm cell over in Indiana, that was moving fast, and had a lot of lightning in it. That one had me a little worried, since it was moving so fast.  I didn't have to pick them up until 4:20, so I watched it as it moved across the states.  It seemed to be diminishing in intensity as it got closer, and the lightning disappeared from it, so that was good.

The wind forecast was showing light winds for the morning and picking up as the day went on, so I  knew we could get the fishing in, and just hoped that the fish were as cooperative today, as they were yesterday.

Diane and her husband Chad, and Chad's brother, Jeff, were right on time this morning when I arrived at the White Caps Motel to pick them up. Diane had bought this trip for Chad, for his birthday present, which was last month, I think.

We chatted as we drove through town, and stopped at the Speedway for my usuals, but they had all the pumps taped off for some reason, so we had to go down the road to for gas and ice.

We got to the Huron ramp a little after 5am and were headed ENE out of the river by 5:30.  
The report is basically the same as yesterday's. I rode the same trail I used yesterday, starting in 38 feet of water and ending in 42 feet of water.

Spoons behind dipsies did most of the catching again, but the Bandits riding behind the Off Shore boards did a little better today, than they did yesterday.  40-65 back unassisted did well, and caught 5 or 6 of the fish.

Dipsies on the zero setting were 30 and 35 back, and the two settings were at 40 and 50 back.

Speed was 2.5mph.

It was a beautiful morning, with a light SW wind, no bugs, and no rain. My crew did a fantastic job, and started the morning off with a few fire drills...and, me, shouting instructions at them, to keep them from tangling things. We did get a few tangles during all of it, but we mostly worked like a well oiled machine, and managed to put our 24 fish in the cooler by 7:45.  They were amazed at the fishery we have here, and had so much fun, that they are going to book another trip, and come back in the spring, to try for a trophy fish.....and, that makes me happy!

After we were done, they wanted to float around for a little bit... with a beverage, and a bite to eat...to take in what they just experienced. So, I put all the gear away, stowed the Ulterra and the baby Merc, and turned up the stereo. We sat and talked for a while, and when they were done, we headed home. A perfect morning. :)

Tomorrow's forecast is calling for gusty NW winds, so it's a no-go.  I'm scheduled off for Tuesday and Wednesday, so I won't be back out until Thursday.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Derek, Keith, and Joe 6/25/2022

by Capt Juls on 06/25/22

Derek had made reservations last October, but we couldn't get out, so I moved him to this season, and we were able to make it out this morning. Yay!

Along with Derek, was his father Keith, and their friend, Joe.  I told them I would pick them up at the White Caps Motel at 4:30 and they should be ready to go at that time. And, just like another Indiana crew I had a few weeks ago, when I arrived at 4:15, they were waiting on me to arrive.

They got in the truck, and we hit the gas station for some ice. I had already gassed up from the previous trip on my way home, yesterday.  I decided to go launch over in Huron this morning, to try and get away from the Mayfly husks floating all around the islands right now.  

We launched at 5:00 and were out of the channel by 5:15. It was a beautiful morning with no wind, and a cloudless sky. The horizon was starting to glow a beautiful Day Lilly orange with a yellow fade into a dark blue sky. It's hard to be anything but happy when you get to witness something like that. My crew must have agreed, because they were sure in a good mood this morning, too.

We headed ENE, out to the area I was in the last time I was over there, which was last week, and set up with spoons behind dipsies, and a couple Bandits behind Off Shore boards.  The Solix wasn't marking much, so I wasn't sure if we should stay there, but it wasn't long before we started catching.

The zero setting dipsies were at 30 and 35 to start, and eventually both were set at 35.
The two settings were at 40 and 50, and eventually both were set at 50.

Speed was 2.5mph.

The spoon bite was definitely better than the crank bait bite for us, this morning, too. I think we only caught three on the Bandits, and the other 21 were on spoons, along with the 20+ throwbacks, too. If they didn't measure 15 1/2 inches, I threw it back. I figure, once it goes on ice, it's going to shrink up, and I'm not going in with a short fish in the box, so it's better to be safe than sorry.  A lot of those throwbacks were right on the 15" line, too.

Our average fish in the cooler were 16-17 inches, with a couple larger ones thrown in, but we didn't get any that I would consider "big fish" this morning. We had our 24 by 7:55am, and that made my crew happy, because they were ready for some breakfast.

Joe said he wants to come back to fish with me in April, and try for a trophy walleye, next season...and, that makes me happy. :)

Tomorrow, I have a husband and wife duo, and one of their father's, I think.  She gave the trip to her husband as a birthday gift, because he's a fan, and reads all my reports, and wanted to go on a learning trip. I thought that was very nice of her to do that for him. :)

They originally booked two days, but it looks like Monday is going to be a blow day with gusty winds out of the NW, so we'll have to have all the fun tomorrow.  The forecast is calling for the wind to pick up and rain to come in around 9am, so I'm hoping it's a good bite in the morning, and we can get all their fish early again.

We shall see....

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls