Juls WFA Blog
A little background on Mark Bray before I begin...
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)
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
After gassing up the boat and stopping to get bait at Rickard's, I popped into Bopper's on my way to Mazurik's, where my crew was having breakfast, to let them know I was heading to the ramp to wipe down the boat since the roads were wet and the boat was dirty from the spray. I told them to take their time since we weren't scheduled to launch until 8am, and it was only a little after 7.
Started out perch fishing, but zeroed for the first hour, so I said, “Let’s go put some walleye in the cooler, and then we’ll try for perch again after”...they were game, so we went to the same place I went to Monday, (near Cedar Point), and ran the same program. We had 18 walleye in one and a half passes (2 1/2 hours)...a very nice grade too! Biggest was 28”, and a 24”, but the average was 17-20”.
The program was the standard 1 dipsy: 3 setting at 75 & 77 back and the 1 setting at 62 & 65 back. Speed was 2.3-2.5
Trolling pass was SE to NW.
We tried perch again after, over by the lighthouse, but the marks on the Helix did not bite. We had two in the box...one caught trolling spoons and one by the lighthouse.
Joe and Ron had a ball and that’s all that really matters...:)
Fishing with Steve and Jeremy Chapman 8/6/18
It was a successful morning fishing with my regulars, Steve and Jeremy Chapman, of Columbus Ohio. We went out of Mazurik's at 7:30am this morning and headed back to the spot I was at yesterday, to go perch'n.
Thankfully, it's a Monday, so the boat ramp wasn't busy, and there were a lot fewer boats in that area up there on the line. It's not a "secret spot", and it's pretty much the same every August up there. Lots of boats and lots of perch!
We caught our 90 perch in good time and shut the "Spot-Lock" off, turned the boat to the north, and set a speed of 2.3-2.5mph with the Ulterra and "baby ETEC" combination. ("Baby ETEC" is the 15HP ETEC HO...it's just more fun to say, "baby ETEC" than it is the other).
They wanted to try for some walleye too, so we set the dipsies and Tru-Trip Jets out with spoons and Ripplin Redfins and adjusted my program to match the depth we were fishing and the "fishy marks" I was seeing on the Helix.
They both have their Ontario fishing licenses, so we crossed the line. Unfortunately, there was a ton of floating grass up there by "The Wheel", that I decided to go try for walleye down to the south instead...hoping to find less floating grass. We did. There was very little floating grass in that area compared to the north.
It was a lot hotter and muggier on the east side of South Bass...the SW wind was around 10-12mph which was very nice up on the line, but not so nice down near the monument. As soon as we set up and started trolling, we were all complaining about the heat and humidity.
However, that didn't stop us. Jeremy asked his iPhone's "Siri" to set a timer for 20 minutes, and if we didn't catch a walleye in that 20 minutes, we would head in with just the perch.
With only two minutes to go, the inside dipsey rod did a bouncy dance with the tell-tale sign of a fish on the line.
Steve jumped on it, and we put a nice 21" fish in the cooler. So, we stayed....and melted some more. lol
Jeremy set the clock for another 20 minutes....and, again, we caught another one with just a few minutes to go in the round. We would do that two more times to end up with four nice walleye in the cooler, before the timer won a round and we headed in with 35 pounds of perch and 9 pounds of walleye. That will make a nice family fish fry one of these nights.
The Chapmans' were happy, and that makes me happy. It's always a good time fishing with them.
It's that time of year again, and I'm heading to Meta Lake Lodge in Nakina, ON, this weekend. It's an annual fly in Pike trip that we do, so I'll be back when I get back.
This morning, I had the same crew as yesterday, so Tony, Aidan, and I launched out of Mazurik's at 7am to go perch'n.
Last month, I took out Mark Sargent and friends, and this morning I took out Mark's son, Tony, and Tony's son, Aidan to do a little walleye fishing. I met them at Huron at 6am, and we headed north out of the river like I did on yesterday's trip.
I pulled into the Huron ramp at 5:15 this morning, and after getting everything ready, I waited on my crew. Hugh, his son, Dan, and his brother, Wayne were going to meet me there at 5:45, so there was time to waste. They showed up right on time, so we loaded up and headed out of the river to go chase some walleye.
Today's trip was supposed to happen back in May for Mother's day. Chris asked his Mom what she wanted, and she said she wanted to go walleye fishing, so he contacted me. Unfortunately, that day Mother Nature was throwing a hissy fit, and we had to reschedule. Chris works out of state, so this was the soonest he could make it back. And, luckily, the weather behaved today.
I slept in a little this morning and instead of waking up at 2:30, I woke up at 4am. I was going to be fishing with Steve and Jeremy, and they drive up from Columbus, so we don't hit the launch until 7-7:30.
The past two days I had the good fortune to fish with my cousin, Jim Eichner, and his son, Doug, and his nephews, Joe and Matt Courville (my cousin, Polly's, sons).
My alarm wasn't supposed to go off until 2:45, but one of my cats woke me up at 2:20, and I never got back to sleep, so I just got up and made some coffee. I was meeting my crew at Mazurik's for a 5:30 launch, because they were just staying right down the road at Little Ted's Cottages, and didn't want to go to breakfast.
I was on shore for the last two days, while Momma Nature huffed a little from the ENE, so I was excited to find light SE winds this morning when I opened the front door. I was ready to get back in the boat and back to work.