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...