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Juls WFA Blog

Fishing Day 2 with Jason, Cindy, and John...April 9th, 2023

by Capt Juls on 04/09/23

Left the house this morning, with my heart breaking, because Alfie is not used to me leaving without him, yet. He was giving me the sad/confused eyes as I walked out the door. :(

Dexter just jumped up on the couch with a look of, "Have a great day, Mom! See you when you get back." lol
Thankfully, my friend, Jen, came yesterday and today to walk them, while I was gone. Thanks Jen, it's much appreciated! :)

It was 5:30 when I left the house, this morning.  I was picking my crew up at the Country Inn and Suites, across town, at 6am. I hit the gas station for ice, but forgot my crew had my cooler from the day before, so I threw it up on the back of the boat and headed to the hotel. They had gotten ice too, so we had an overabundance of ice this morning. Oops!

It was chilly this morning, but the weatherman said it would be warming up to around 53 degrees by noon. It was 37 degrees when we launched at Catawba, and the wind barely made a ripple across the surface of the lake. The wind forecast was for 7-8 out of the east, but I think it was probably around 5mph all morning. the sky was clear of clouds all day, so we also got a great satellite picture this afternoon.

We headed north towards Niagara again, but were going to look at the deeper side of it, to the east, this time. I was expecting to find some muddy water, but it was clean, so we kept heading north until we found some good mixing water with some fish marks in it.

Speaking of fish marks....my sonar is working perfectly after installing the latest Helix software update last night. That monkey is off my back now...whew! 

We set up with Bandits on both sides, running behind the Off Shore boards.
The port side was set at 80, 60, 50, 40 (long leads on the outside), and the port side ran at 100, 77, 67, and 57.
Colors that caught fisher were:
Taco Salad (stock)
Freak Show (Hammertime Lures/Sandusky Bait Co.)
Blue Chrome (Stock)
Red Headed Wonderbread (not stock, but I can't remember where I got them from)
Electric Zebra (stock)

At one point, I swapped out the Bandits on the starboard side to all Spro 120s and ran them at 97, 67, 50, and 40.
Colors that caught were the
Blue Chrome (stock)
Chrome Perch (stock)
RC Crush (DJ Custom Eye Lures)

Around 11AM I noticed the water temp on the Fish Hawk was colder down below (43.2) than the surface temp reading from my Helix (44), so I thought since we were in muddy water that the fish might be nose bleed high to soak up some of that warmth from the sunshine without getting blinded, and brought a few baits up really high....like 20 feet behind the board kind of high. 

The Red Headed Spro at 20 back got pulled back hard within 5 minutes of setting it, but it was a hit and a miss.

Then, I had Jason set his two inside Bandits at 20 and 30 back, too, and the 20 back took a nice fish, not too long after.

We were doing a lot of S-Turns,  and sometimes they hit on the fast side, and sometimes they hit on the slow side.  I was trying to keep the speed at the lures around 1.3 to 1.5 mph, which on the Helix was  1.6 to 1.9mph. 

Jason, Cindy, and John had a better time today than yesterday, because the weather was so much nicer, and the fish were more cooperative.  We will be launching out of Mazurik's tomorrow, for their last day.

I think all of the fish caught today were already spawned out...and, I think all those marks on my sonar this morning were already spawned out fish that just needed to rest up after getting beat up. It won't be long and they will put the feed bag on. Oh what fun that will be, eh? :)

Stay tuned... 

Capt Juls

Fishing with Jason, Cindy, and John Hendricks... 4/8/2023

by Capt Juls on 04/08/23

After a bunch of reschedules this past week, I was finally able to start the season with my Wisconsin crew of three.  Jason Hendricks had fished with me a few years ago, with some friends, but this time he brought his father John and his wife Cindy along with him for a three day trip.

As you all know, the winds here have been wacky for several weeks, to where it would blow hard from one direction, and then be nice for a day, and then blow hard from the opposite direction, the next day.  The full moon was last night, so typically, if the conditions are right, a good bunch of fish will spawn during the full moon, and ignore our offerings of plastic crank baits as they swim by. The jiggers will have more success with the frisky males on the reefs right now, than the trollers looking for big females.
Not all fish will spawn at the same time, however, so there will be fish that will still bite, so always go if you have the chance. :)

You all know my morning routine of getting gas and ice at the local station, so I'll skip that fun part today, and get right into the what, where, and how. 

We launched out of Catawba just before sunrise, so we could get the sunrise pic from the water. It's been a long winter, and it's my first sunrise pic out there this season, so that alone made it a good day for me. lol

We headed north to Niagara, and found some decent water. Unfortunately, my Helix's sonar is acting up again. I just changed out the Y Cable yesterday, because it wasn't reading on plane, and again....It wasn't reading on plane this morning.
It eventually started working, closer to the end of our trip, though. It's like the unit isn't processing the info, or something, until the unit has been on for a few hours. I don't understand it. Another reason I think it's the unit, and not the Y cable now, is that the sonar screen's scroll is set at 10, and intermittently it will slow way down and maybe scroll at a level 2? 

Anyway....I knew the area, so we set up over 30' of water, with Bandits behind Off Shore boards, on the south side of the reef. It was an ENE wind (early), and then began to switch to an ESE wind, with some gusts, later on. 

Bandits were set at 80, 70, 60, and 50 on the port side, with the longest leads on the outside boards, and 75, 65, 55, 45 on the starboard side. After the port side caught 3 fish, to zero fish on the starboard side, we switched out the starboard side with P-10s (no weight), at 90, 70, 60, 50 (again, longest leads on the outside).

The speed on the surface was different than the speed at the Fish Hawk swimming down below. The SOG, as we trolled towards Crib Reef, said it was 1.6-1.7mph, and the Fish Hawk read 1.0mph at the lure.

Colors that caught the 5 fish this morning were...Bandits: (2) Red Headed Wonder Bread @ 40 back, RC Crush @60 back, Taco Salad @ 80 back, and one Fire Tiger P-10 @60 back.

When the waves started turning into 3's and 4's in the shallow reef area, we picked up and headed down inside, to Clinton Reef, and set up with a trolling pass towards the Portage River. Nada...just one pull back there. Didn't mark much there either, which is unusual for this time of year.

Since we didn't have time left to go anyplace else and start again, and it was windy and chilly, they opted to head in early to try again tomorrow.  We will be launching out of Mazurik's in the morning.
Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Finally Ready to Go!

by Capt Juls on 04/02/23

I had been trying to fish this past week, both on Tuesday and Thursday, to make sure everything was working before I started running any trips, but equipment gremlins kept me from fishing, either day.

Long story short.... Dan, at Fisherman's Central, got my Minn-Kota and Humminbird working again, so I was good to go this morning.

Jen and I launched out of Dempsey's at 9am and headed out to the lake to see if we could find some clean water. With the offshore winds the past two days, I figured all the mud that had been closer to shore would have blown out to mix with the cleaner water to the NNE, so we headed north, in search of the right mixing water.

Last night's gusty winds had subsided to a light wind out of the north, by 9am, so the ride out wasn't that bad.

We ended up starting at the 39/32 line, and set up on a WNW to ESE trolling pass, to a north to south pass. 

Water temp was 39.4 degrees up there on the line, and only 36.9 in the south passage.

I set the speed to 1.2mph on the gps, and got the lines in the water.  Jen ran Bandits on her side, with an RC Crush at 110 on the outside Off Shore board, Daydream Bandit at 65 on the middle board, and a Red Headed Wonder Bread Bandit on the inside board with a 2oz snap weight, set at 50/40.

My side ran the "Christmas Tree" "Bill Lewis Precise Walleye Crank" at 65 back on the middle board,  and the Black Headed Chrome Wonder Bread, 30 back, on the inside board. The outside board ran a custom color from DJ's Custom Eye Lures called, "FJ Spot" at 80 back.

After the baits were in the water, I proceeded to set up the "Fish Hawk" unit. Once it was up and running, I noticed that I had to be going 1.6mph (SOG) to have the baits swimming at 1.1mph, down below. That's a big difference!

We only caught two walleye, before heading back in at noon.  One nice 6ish pounder came on the Red Headed Wonder Bread at 50/40 2oz, and a nice eater bit the RC Crush at 110 back, unassisted.

I got the peace of mind, to know that everything is working in the boat again, as it should be. So, now, I just need Mother Nature to back off and get her act together, so I can get back to work. Several days may get rescheduled this week.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

It's a Lousy Weather Day Today so I'm Just Checking In...:)

by Capt Juls on 02/22/23

It's one of those days dreary days, where a freezing rain taps on the windows, quietly in the background, while I'm sitting here at my computer, tapping on the keys. 

A gusty wind, puffs from the NE...it's 34 degrees, with an even colder windchill, and a rain system coming in from the opposite direction. It's just an all around weird and yucky day.

I thought I would take advantage of being stuck at home, while the dogs are quiet, and touch base with those of you who will be fishing with me this season. :)

First, I want to thank all of you have already scheduled trips, I couldn't do this without you, and I'm looking forward to fishing with you all! ;)

April is already full...woot! woot!

May has only the 31st left to fill.

June has the following open...the 19th, 23rd, 26th, 24th, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th. 

And, there's plenty openings in the summer, right now, too. 

I'll be at the Huron Fish Expo on March 4th, working the Off Shore Tackle display, along with 3 other OST Pro Staffers, to answer any questions people might have about the product. Then, the following weekend, I'll be at the South Shore Marine Show with the OST display, too.

March 18th I'll have my boat at a test ride event with Fisherman's Central, at a local ramp. I'm not sure where they are going out of yet. I would think Dempsey's would be a good choice, but I don't get to pick the spot. lol  I'll update this when I know where. 

Hopefully, after that, the weather will start behaving better, and I'll get back to fishing and blogging more. 

Stay Tuned....

Capt Juls

Spring Fishing is Almost Here!

by Capt Juls on 01/13/23

Spring dates are starting to fill up, so if you're looking to book a "fishing adventure" with me, it's time to get you on the calendar! Whether you're a seasoned angler, new to trolling, or somewhere in between....or, you just want a fun adventure, this trip is for you! 

 I allow my customers to help set lines, so they can learn the tips and tricks I use with the Off Shore boards...giving them the confidence they need to be successful on their own. Or, I can do all the work, if a customer prefers to just relax in between reeling in fish. It's up to you. ?? 

 Available dates right now.... March... 26th through the 31st (may start a week earlier if the weather and lake conditions permit, but the 25th is already taken)

April...Is full


June...19, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30

While the early spring dates are better for a chance at trophy sized catches, I like May and June the best, because the weather is warmer/more stable, the fish are plentiful (still a good chance at catching a trophy sized fish), and they are hungry! 

For more information, please visit my actual website, at "Juls Walleye Fishing Adventures",  

Call / Text 410-835-7347 ...or, Email me at RNGRGAL@gmail.com (I like to have an email conversation trail to look back on, because I'll never be able to remember every conversation I have with everyone I speak to, so phone calls are less desired. ?? )

Let's go fishing! Thanks, and have a great day! 

 Capt Juls

My Thoughts on the New Vexus after Running Rangers for so Many Years

by Capt Juls on 12/04/22

Boat show season is right around the corner, and if you're in the market for a new fishing boat, I want to share what I've learned after running the Vexus for a couple of months, in the hope that if you see one at the show, you'll go climb around in one, and check it out. :)

I've owned 20 different Rangers...most of them being the 621s, and I loved them. The fact, that the folks who started and built Rangers are now making the Vexus was my biggest motivator in moving, and trying out the the new hull.

I finally got the new DVX22 back in mid-September, and the first time I ran it I knew I was going to love it. I expected it to be similar to the 621 in regards to drivability, but to my surprise, it's better...it's smoother, and handles better in the rougher stuff.

Granted, I don't take people out when it's really rough, because they usually can't stand up in the boat, and it's no fun for them, so I keep my days to when the waves are forecasted to be 1-3s, and reschedule when it's going to be rougher than that. With that said, I noticed I can drive faster in the 2-3s than I ever did with the 621, and felt comfortable doing so.

It's also faster than any Ranger I have owned. I was never able to get my 621s over 58mph, and I've hit 68mph with the Vexus, which still had a little more to go, but I'm not comfortable going that fast out there....with nets, floating debris, and wakes to watch out for, so I prefer to just keep it at a cruising speed, for safety's sake. So, obviously, speed isn't my biggest concern in a boat. It's nice to know, though, that I can open it up on a nice day, and hit those speeds.

Things I like, are probably little things to others, but big things to me, and in no particular order of importance...just whatever comes to my head first:

~The windshield...it's solid as a rock. You know how when people in the boat move from the front or the back of the boat, and step up/down, and use the windshield as a crutch to do so? Yeah, this windshield can take that weight. In my 621s, I was always telling them not to put their weight on the windshield, because it can cause troubles...loosen screws and such. But, because of the way Vexus has the windshield installed, it can take all that weight, and I never have to worry about it.

It's also, not tight against the console, so I can get my entire hand back behind the dash, to clean the glass. 

For many years, because of the design, I wasn't able to do that with the Rangers, and for someone like me, who likes to keep the boat spotless, that's huge. lol

~The boat's cooler is now in the rear port side corner, rather than in front of the windshield on the port side bow. That makes it much easier to put stuff in, and get stuff out, without having to climb up in the boat to do so.

~The design of the transom/splash well area is much better...it's higher off the water, so the bigger waves don't come over the back, like they can in the Ranger with the lower profile back there.

~The bow seems higher off the water when the boat is on plane, which is nice when driving is rougher conditions. I also have the trim tabs installed, and while I could set them on auto, I like to use them manually...they really improve the ride. I have the controls installed on the gunnel by the throttle, so all I have to do is reach up and adjust it on the fly. So simple. 


~The bow storage compartments are freak'n huge. All the stuff I had in the 621 compartments up there, that filled those compartments to the brim, don't even come close to filling up those storage boxes on the Vexus. 

~I like the rod locker, but the design of it limits how many rods you can put in there, and I know it's not 10' in the center, like a few others have... I think their website says 8'4" in the center. All my rods are 7', so that's not an issue for me.

~I like the rod storage on the port side, in the Vexus better, too. That design keeps the reels from touching anything and scratching the glass when transporting rods. The rod butt/reel supports are something I had never seen before, and at first I thought I wouldn't like them, but they are the bomb! Very cool and easy to use. 

~The battery compartment can hold all 5 batteries (Rangers only 4), and the 2 and 3 bank chargers are installed in the rear starboard compartment, right in front of the transom control panel where they get plugged in. That's convenient, because I can open that compartment lid and check the battery chargers, before I unplug them. I no longer have to climb in the boat to do that.

~This one I'm getting used to....in the Vexus, in front of the live well, they have storage compartments and access to the bilge pumps. It takes up about 8 inches, I think? I'm not sure, I never measured it. But, that's where I used to have my MoDog Running Rod Rack, and because of that storage/bilge access, I can no longer install the rod rack there. 

But, thanks to Cisco, who have come up with a hybrid rod holder, that is like a combo between a tube and cradle (I always preferred the cradles), I can now put the rods in the new rod holders when I'm running from spot to spot, instead of having to put them back in the rod locker or lying around the boat with customers sitting back there, too.

Cisco designed these rod holders to keep the reel facing inside the boat...(see pic below). That's what I didn't like about just the tube style holders...the reel would be facing outside the boat. 

My cradles didn't have the arm attachment, so I would've had to use a bungee cord, wrapped around the end, to keep the rod from falling out when on plane. What a pain in the butt that was, each time I had to move. These new rod holders were just the ticket I needed to replace the loss of my MoDog. So, now I'm not so unhappy with that storage/bilge area. I really do like having that extra storage and easier access to the bilge.

~The area inside the back is not as roomy as the 621s, however, and is just a big tighter, due to larger storage compartments, and it only being 101" from gunnel to gunnel, but not so much that it bothers me. I noticed it, but it didn't bother me.

~The Vexus comes with Air Wave pedestals in them, and Ranger uses the through the floor suspension pedestals. So, both have bouncy seats offered, but the Air Wave product is a better choice, in my opinion. With that said, I put the SmoothMoves in mine, because I've used them for years, and my customers love them. The SM seat also allows me to be higher than the previous two options mentioned, which allows me to get above the windshield when I'm driving, (I also fold my seat down and sit on the back of it, so I'm even higher) so I can read the waves better. 

~The compartment lids have deeper channels and rubber surrounds, so it is better at keeping water out of the boxes.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but know this...whichever brand you prefer, you can't go wrong with any of them. Some are just a little better, depending on what your needs are. :)

Capt Juls

Fishing with Jen and the Elf 11/23/2022

by Capt Juls on 11/24/22

As many of you know, I got a new puppy a month ago...his name is Alfie. My friend Jen, and her hubby Matt, adopted Alfie's brother, and named him Ozzie. So, now we have 5 dogs between the two households, and with the pups only 13 weeks old now, it's hard to leave them for very long. But, yesterday, Matt said he would watch all the dogs, while Jen and I went fishing.  Thanks, Matt!

It was going to be a beautiful day, after several days of gale force winds and freezing temps, so Jen and I jumped at the chance to get on the lake one last time, before calling it quits for the season.

The wind forecast was for south winds at 5-10mph and an air temp near 60 degrees. The sky was clear of clouds, and the sunshine was plentiful.  

We launched out of Mazurik's, because I knew Huron would be a zoo. Mazurik's was an easy launch, and the ride over to the Huron area was an easy ride, since the waves were only about 6 inches high. :)

We set up between Cedar Point and Huron...with the Ulterra and baby Merc set on a course to the NE from there, at a speed of 1.6-1.7mph

I had recently added the Fish Hawk X2 to the boat, so I was looking forward to making sure it was working properly before next season starts.  The Helix was showing a speed of 1.9mph, and since I wanted my lures to be going 1.6-1.7mph, I adjusted the speed according to what the reading on the Fish Hawk was showing, at depth. There was a .2mph difference in readings.  Sometimes, it was even more of a difference when I made turns, into and out of currents. So, I am very happy I made that purchase...it was worth every penny!  It's easy to set up, too!

Jen ran two Bandits and a #14 Husky Jerk on her side, and I ran Bandits on my side.  The starboard side was set up at 120, 97, and 75 back behind the Off Shore boards, unassisted.  Jen ran her side with the Bandits at 120, (I don't know what her middle one was running), unassisted, and the Husky Jerk was 40/40 with a 2oz Guppie weight.

Colors didn't seem to matter much, but we were running mostly white bodied baits. Her husky jerk was orange and yellow with black stripes, though, and took several fish, too. :)

It actually got very warm out there, even though the water temp was only 42.9 degrees, because the wind died down, and we were peeling our layers off and piling them up under the console. I was ALMOST barefoot, but was too lazy to bend over to take the boots off. lol

We had our 12 fish in no time at all, and decided that our chances of catching a winning fish for the brawl or slam were slim to none at the time of day we were fishing, and we missed our puppies, so we went in after only 3 hours of fishing.

Good luck to those that are still fishing for that winning fish! Stay safe, and if you do catch a fish that places you in the money, may you pass the lie detector test with flying colors! :)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Enjoy the day! :)

Capt Juls

Just an Update....

by Capt Juls on 11/12/22

Hello all...

Thank you for reading my blogs! I appreciate all of you!

My season is pretty much over, due to the new puppy in my life, who needs a lot of attention at his young age. Alfie is only going on 12 weeks old, so running trips right now is challenging.

My trip that was scheduled yesterday, the 11th, was cancelled by the customer, due to not wanting to fish in the rain all morning. I have one more trip on the schedule for the 19th, but the long range forecast is calling for 30mph gusts out of the WSW, and he contacted me about that. 

I told him that we would look at the forecast again as the date got closer, and we could make the decision then.

At this time of year, when the water gets cold, I am more selective on the days I will run, since I am responsible for the safety of my customers. I do not take that responsibility lightly.

So, after this last scheduled trip, I will not be scheduling anymore trips for this season, so I can spend time training this adorable little knucklehead. :)

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Jeff Baker, Jeff, and Will 11/3/2022

by Capt Juls on 11/03/22

Jeff called me last night, and said, "I've been reading your reports, and it looks like it's going to be nice this week...can we get out? We were a reschedule from October". I said, "Tomorrow is supposed to be nice, but then it gets windy again for a couple of days, can you go tomorrow?"  He said, "I'll have to check with my crew, but I think we can make that happen".  And, they did. :)

Huron was a zoo again yesterday, so I didn't want to deal with that mess, and pray that someone didn't damage my trailer while it sat in an overcrowded parking lot. We launched out of Marblehead, and had the launch pretty much to ourselves, except for another captain friend of mine, who was there waiting on his crew, and a family of three launching a pontoon boat to go perch'n.  It was very relaxing. :)

We headed out, and started out at Airport Reef in 34' of water and trolled the outside edge of the reef up towards the tip of the island. We landed 4 walleye in that one long pass.  There was one set of perch nets, set up off the tip of the reef, and surprised me....we were kind of close, but with quick assessment, quickly figured out there was no danger of getting in it.  We were on the single flag end, and on the outside of it, so all was well.

Captain Bobby Greene, who was the other captain at the launch, sent me a text to tell me he had moved from the area I was in, and found some good marks to the east. He sent me the numbers, and it turned out they were right on top of the marks I laid on my Helix last Saturday and Sunday, so I told my guys we were moving over there.

We picked up and made took a ride to the east, and set up again. We were running Bandits and Reapers unassisted by the reef, and only caught one of the 4 walleye on the Reaper, so we took all those off and put 4 more Bandits out again.
Since we were in the area I was last weekend, I decided to try the program I ran last weekend, too.

Bandits unassisted, behind the Off Shore boards, on the starboard side at 120, 110, 100, and 85 back, and with the 2oz Guppie weights running at 35/85, 35/65, 35/50, and 35/35 on the port side.

Bandit colors that worked well today were....
RC Crush
Red Headed Wonderbread
Red Head
IB Frozen

There wasn't a lot of traffic out there, and at one point, there was a red StarCraft next to us that looked like they were trolling pretty fast. I was doing 1.6-1.7mph, and because of the angle he was running, I couldn't tell how fast he was actually going, but it looked fast.  I got on the radio....."Red StarCraft are you on channel 79?"  At first there was silence, so I figured he wasn't, so I put the mic down, and turned around to check the boards. At that time, a voice came over the radio, and I think he said his name, but I didn't make it out, and he said my name, and asked how we were doing. I told him, "We have 10 in the box...what speed are you doing? You look like you're hauling ass, and hauling in fish at that speed, too." He told me, "2.0mph going south, and 1.6-1.7 (I think that's what he said on his slow speed) going north. Red and white Bandits at 120 back". He was finishing up, and just fun fishing by that time, so I thanked him for his info, and dug out some red/white Bandits to put out on the starboard side.

He didn't lie. They worked. Thank you for the info, Mr. I can't remember your name in the red StarCraft! We were able to put 8 more fish in the cooler in time to finish out their 3-man limit. I appreciated the help. :)

Jeff Baker (I'm using his last name, because there were two Jeff's on the boat, and JB booked the trip with me)....he and his friends fish together all the time, and he wanted to learn how to use  the inline boards. They have done other charters, but he said they didn't let them do anything, but reel in the fish. The Captain set all the lines.  I told him when we got in the boat, that if they really wanted to learn that I would teach them, and they could set their own boards, and they would be proficient by the end of the 6 hours.

They started out a bit shaky, but a couple of hours in, and they were setting lines just fine. They were even able to set the Off Shore boards back out in their original positions without having to move other boards out of the way. I was so proud of them. They did a great job! We only had one small tangle, and never lost a fish, so I call that a successful trip...and, that makes me happy!

Jeff asked me a lot of questions, and wrote my answers down on his little notepad, so he could remember the information, later, when they set up their boats with Off Shore boards and dipsies.

It was a fun morning, and a beautiful day on the lake. The wind was light out of the south in the morning, and then went down to practically nothing by 1:00. Some bugs showed up when the wind died, too, but they weren't too annoying.

The guys had fun, and I have no doubt that they will be able to duplicate what they learned today, on their own. And, with a little more practice, they will have the confidence to keep on troll'n on. :)

I'm off until the 11th, and hopefully that weekend will be nice, so I can get out a few more times, before I stop for the season. This little pup of mine needs some attention and some training, so that's my job in the off season, this year.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Frank and Ray 11/1/2022

by Capt Juls on 11/01/22

I have fished Frank and Ray a few times, now. Frank likes to go out with me, before heading out for a few days in his own boat. He likes the practice, and the ideas on where to go, and what to do.

After watching the forecast on TV last night, I wasn't sure if we would be going today, because they were calling for some dense fog to be hanging around until noon. I wasn't going to go if it were thick fog, because of the brawl going on, and knowing how unsafe some people can be in bad conditions. But, it didn't happen. 
When I got up this morning, there wasn't any fog...just a misty rain, so I sent a text to Frank, letting him know that we were still on, and that I would meet them at the Huron ramp at 7:30.
Sunrise, isn't until a little after 8am right now, and since it was cloudy, it was going to be darker than usual at 7:30. 

We took our time heading out the river, and by the time we got to our area over in front of Cranberry, in 33 feet of water, it was light enough to set the Off Shore boards out on their merry way, pulling Bandits behind them.

The Ulterra steered us in a northeasterly direction, so that we would gradually get to deeper water, the further we went. The speed was set at 1.7mph.

Bandits on the starboard side were set at 120, 115, 100, and 95 back, and the Bandits on the port side ran with 2oz Guppie weights at 35/65, 35/50, 35/40, and 35/35.

Colors were: 
Daydream (4)
RC Crush (2)
Glacial Shad
Green Lantern

It was a slow pick, but enough to keep us in the area.

After making our way all the way to Vermilion, and trolling over 40 feet of water, I turned the nose of the Vexus to the east, and headed towards Vermilion's breakwall. We caught three nice walleye going that direction when we got over 37 feet of water, but the marks disappeared as quick as they showed up, and we never got another bite. I tried going back over them, but they didn't cooperate.

It was at that time, when I had made the turn to go back over them, that I heard a Loon call. I looked out, and saw a orange Ninja board being pulled around, like the barrel in the back of "Jaws". 
It would go under, and then pop up when the Loon popped up, and go under again when the Loon would dive. 
It was a young female. We were going one way, and it was going the other, so I said, "We should try to help it", but then I realized, I had 8 boards out, and two old men in the boat. I didn't know how fast we could bring them in, to go chase her. We would certainly lose sight of her, before we could get back to her.

First, we decided we couldn't do it, but then a minute later I said, "Let's pick them up fast, we need to go try to help that Loon". Frank agreed. Luckily, it stayed in line between us and another boat, so I could keep track of her. And, she didn't move very far.  

Once we had everything in the boat, I turned the boat around and headed towards her. I had Frank get up on the bow seat with the net, so he could try to net the board. He missed the first attempt, and I threw the throttle in reverse, so I could maneuver the bow towards the floating board. The engine must have startled the bird, because she popped up, and sat there. Frank was able to net the board and bring it to the boat.

Once I had my hands on the gobs of braided line, I was able to handline the Loon to the side of the boat, where we scooped her up in the net, too. It's a rubber net, so she didn't get tangled in it. Her beak was poking through the basket of the net, so with my gloved hand, I held her beak, and instructed Frank to grab the knife, so he could cut the line that was wrapped around her wing, and body.

Thankfully, it wasn't too bad, and she was cut free in no time at all. She thanked me by poking at my pant leg, which, you should know, kind of hurts. lol

She sat there for a while, and then I picked her up and did the "Back to the Wild's"...."1-2-3 Be Free" slogan, and she flew off the side of the boat...beating her wings, landing, and then diving. So, with that, I knew she was going to be okay.

Frank and Ray were very happy that we were able to rescue her, and I'm sure she is very happy we were able to, too. 

The radio chatter said that they were doing well out in 45 feet of water off Vermilion, so we picked up and headed north a few miles, to reach that depth. We set up again with the usual program. 

Once again, the radio chatter mentioned that the "Sun Spot" bandit at 100 back was doing well, so I dug one out of the box, and put it out. It wasn't out there an entire minute, before that Off Shore board when flying back. Frank got a kick out of that, and said to Ray, "How about that, Ray? I think we'll need to listen to the radio more... they give you tips". He then asked what channel I listen to, so I told him, "79".

Then, I put a couple more "Sun Spots" out, but we were interrupted in our trolling pass, by a freighter that was bearing down on us, so I said, "We need to pick up and move out of the way...those freighters move faster than they appear, and I don't know where he plans on going." So we did. 

We moved back to 43 feet of water, where I had seen several boats prior to moving out to 45 feet. We set up one last time, and needed only one fish to finish out their two-man limits. We caught one nice one, and Frank mentioned he was tired, and since we only had 1/2 hour left, we decided to go in.

It was a beautiful morning on the lake, even though it was cloudy and kind of foggy. The wind was light out of the WSW, so the conditions on the lake were fantastic. They had fun, learned some stuff they had forgotten since the last time out, and are now ready to hit the water the rest of the week, in Frank's boat.

I'm not scheduled again until the 11th, so I'll be off, and continuing the training of my new 10 week old pup, Alfie, and keeping Dexter happy.

It's supposed to be beautiful the rest of the week, so I'm pretty sure, since I'm not scheduled, you can thank me for that. hehehe

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

PS...If anyone is missing a Ninja Board with braided line and a chrome spotted Bandit...let me know. You can have it back. Thanks!

Fishing with Bruce, David, and Dan 10/30/2022

by Capt Juls on 11/01/22

I woke up early this morning, and looked at the glowing numbers on the alarm clock. It read "3:20"AM, or so I thought. After getting up, feeding the pup, and drinking two cups of coffee, I glanced at the kitchen clock, to see how much time I had left before my crew showed up, here at the house. The clock read, "2:30AM". Wait...WHAT? I was so confused. I woke up way too early, and knew it was going to be a very long day. lol

Since my crew wasn't supposed to be here until 6:45 I decided to go gas up the Vexus at the gas station down the road from me, and get ice in the cooler, before they showed up. It would save us a stop on the way to Dempsey's, where we planned on launching this morning. Huron was a zoo yesterday morning, and Dempsey's was empty this morning. What a difference! No pressure and much more relaxed.

Bruce, and his sons David and Dan showed up 15 minutes early, so we hit the road and got to Dempsey's a little before 7AM. There was hanging fog above the road, but it didn't interfere with driving at all, and I was keeping my fingers crossed that it wouldn't be on the lake, either. I was happy to see, that when we got to the ramp there wasn't any fog on the lake.

The sky was clear this morning, so the horizon was starting to lighten up pretty fast. Sunrise wouldn't be for another hour, but it was light enough to head out. The navigation lights were turned on, and the motor was warmed up first, then, off we went. The air temp was a touch warmer than yesterday's chilly 39 degrees, but I didn't look at the actual temperature this morning.

I headed back to where I was yesterday, which was about 11 miles out of Huron. It was also 11 miles from the channel marker at Cedar Point, just from a different angle, so the ride was about the same. Again, there were ENE rollers coming in, so we didn't go very fast getting out there.

The program was the same as yesterday's program (copy pasted here, so I don't have to type it all again...with a little more added...I'm tired...lol)

Bandits were my choice of bait this morning, because they've been my go-to bait for several years now. Knowing that white colors produce best in the fall, I opted to start with a few in the mix.
The stock color called, "Daydream", was set behind the Off Shore board on the starboard side, on the outside, at 120 back, unassisted.
Next to the outside board, was a "Slim Shady Custom" called, "Glacier Shad"... at 97 back, unassisted.
The second board pulled a "DJ Custom" called, "RC Crush", at 75 back, and the inside Bandit was another "Daydream" at 45 back initially, but later set to 75 back when the spread was changed to 120, 107, 97, and 75 back unassisted. Today though, as the morning progressed, we set the unassisted side to 120, 110, 97, and 85 back.

On the port side, we set up using 2 oz Guppie weights at the 35 mark, instead of the usual 50 back, and set up his spread at 35/35, 35/50, 35/60, and 35/80. Colors were the following...
Green Lantern (w/red chin) Another Slim Shady Custom
And.... another Daydream. 
Everything listed above caught fish, with the Daydream running at 120 unassisted, and 35/65 w/2oz, catching the most.

Speed varied...as slow as 1.4 to as fast as 2.1mph. Water temp today was 51.9 degrees over 45 feet of water.

My crew are avid fishermen, but life got in the way, and they hadn't been walleye fishing together, in at least 10 years, I was told. They did a great job picking back up on the lingo, and were working like a well oiled machine by the time we had our 24 fish in the cooler. They had never used inline planer boards before, so that was new to them, but they did a great job, and were setting them out like the pros. 

They want to come back in the spring, next season, so that makes me happy! 

I'm off tomorrow, but will be back out walleye fishing with Frank Smith and his friend on Tuesday.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Karl, John, and Bill 10/29/2022

by Capt Juls on 11/01/22

After several perch trips, I was really looking forward to getting back out and chasing some walleye, and today was the day. I woke up at 2:45, even though my alarm was set for 3:50, and figured I'd just get up and take care of the new puppy, before I had to get ready.

Dexter slept in, so Alfie and I went out on the back deck to check the weather. I was disappointed to see thick fog hanging in the air, and questioned whether I still wanted to drive over to Huron to launch, imagining car wrecks, hit deer, or some other unnatural disaster awaiting us this morning. lol

Alfie took my attention away from all that, with his growling, and hopping around playfully, at the dead leaves on the ground. I sipped my coffee, and checked the wind forecast for the rest of the day. It was going to be really nice with a SE wind at less than 6mph most of the day. Yay!

By 4am, the fog was lifted, and I could see the stars shining up above. The air was crisp, and chilly. The air temp was 39 degrees. My friend, Jen, came and picked up my dogs for the day, so I could fish without worrying about the little one. Thanks, Jen! 

I picked my Vexus up from her heated storage, and stopped off to gas her up and get ice for the cooler, before heading to the Holiday Inn Express to pick up my crew.

Karl has fished with me for around 6 or 7 years now, and likes to bring different friends or family members with him each time he comes. This time, he brought his friends, John and Bill along.

We headed to Huron to launch and showed up there at around 7am. The sky was still dark, but the ramp was full of lights. Truck and boat lights. I'm used to being the only one there when I show up early, but I felt like I was really late, this time.

It didn't take very long to get launched, since most of the folks that fish this time of year are pretty seasoned anglers and know how to work with each other at the boat launch.

We were headed out of the river by 7:19. The destination was straight north of the river, until we hit 45 feet of water. So, that's what we did. There were still residual NE rollers coming in from yesterday's NE wind, so we couldn't go very fast. John is older, and I didn't want to beat him up on the ride out, so we took our time, and got there within a half hour.

The Helix had marked fish on the ride out, but nothing that I would shut down early for...I was determined to get to 45 feet first. When I did get to 45 feet, and came off plane, I wasn't too impressed, and was hardly marking anything. 

I figured it was as good a place as any to start, so the Ulterra was deployed, along with the baby Merc, and set on a westerly course at a speed of 1.6-1.9mph.

Bandits were my choice of bait this morning, because they've been my go-to bait for several years now. Knowing that white colors produce best in the fall, I opted to start with a few in the mix.

The stock color called, "Daydream", was set behind the Off Shore board on the starboard side, on the outside, at 120 back, unassisted.
Next to the outside board, was a "Slim Shady Custom" called, "Glacier Shad"... at 97 back, unassisted.
The second board pulled a "DJ Custom" called, "RC Crush", at 75 back, and the inside Bandit was another "Daydream" at 45 back initially, but later set to 75 back when the spread was changed to 120, 107, 97, and 75 back unassisted.  

On the port side, Karl set up using 2 oz Guppie weights at the 35 mark, instead of the usual 50 back, and set up his spread at 35/35, 35/50, 35/60, and 35/80. His colors were the following...
Fruit Salad
Green Lantern (w/red chin) Another Slim Shady Custom
One color I can't remember the name of...but, it had a lot of white in it...lol
And, another Daydream.

Everything listed above caught fish, with the Daydream running at 120 unassisted catching the most.

We caught our 4-person limit of walleye by 10:30am, and headed back in, before the rush at the ramp happened, again. Loading out was easy enough, since it wasn't as busy as it was early this morning. There wasn't a spot left in the parking lot, and all the grassy areas that could hold a trailer were loaded up with parked vehicles and trailers, too. I've never seen it so busy there before. But, it was a beautiful morning, and the fish are biting, so I guess it's to be expected. 

Everyone had a good time, and John and Bill were very impressed with our fishery. They are from Chicago, and I don't recall if they said they have ever fished here before. If they haven't, I know they will be again...the walleye did not disappoint, and kept them very busy.

We had many doubles and a couple triples this morning, which is always a good time.

Karl will be back again next season, and that makes me happy! 

Tomorrow, I have a crew of three. A father and his two sons will be going to try for walleye again. The morning should be very similar to this morning, so I hope the bite will be just as good, if not better.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Marc and Jim 10/25/2022

by Capt Juls on 10/25/22

I apologize, ahead of time, that this will be short, due to the new puppy in the house. He needs a lot more attention than my normal routine allows, so something's got to give, and it's not the attention given to the puppy that will suffer...;)

So, in short...Marc and Jim, my regular Wisco crew, launched out of Mazurik's and headed to the north side of Kelly's to search for some perch.  I didn't mark much on the Helix, so I opted to start out at one of my favorite places on Kelly Island Shoal. 

We stayed there for an hour, and picked up 8 big healthy perch, but the chatter let me know that their patience was running low on that spot.  It was a very light bite....so light, that I never felt the 6 I caught bite. It was just an odd feeling, or a different feeling, so I set the hook on anything that felt different, and was rewarded.  My crew didn't have the experience to do that, unfortunately. 

I sent a text to my friend, John, of "JT Sport Fishing", who I knew was only a few miles from me, in a pack of boats, to see how they were doing. He said, "We have 45 now". So, I asked my guys if they wanted to move to a faster bite, but smaller fish, and they both did....and, so, we moved.  JT had given me his numbers, so when we rolled up, he was just finishing with their two-man limit. As he pulled his anchor, I slipped right into his spot, and proceeded to start catching.  Thanks for the spot JT...much appreciated. :)

They were smaller perch, but not too bad. We did catch a handful that were 10" or better, but most were in the 7-9 inch range. We had several small perch that found themselves back in the water again, too.

The weather today was beautiful, and it was a perfect day to be out on the water, fishing. Tomorrow's weather is going to be less nice, with cooler temps and scattered showers. Winds are only supposed to be 5-10 out of the south, though, so that will be tolerable.

I'm thinking, if they decide to go fish tomorrow, that we will fish by the cans, instead of Kelly's. We shall see....I left it up to them, whether they want to sit in rain tomorrow, or not. They are older, and it's not always a fun time, so I won't be sorry if they decide not to go. lol

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Tony, Mike, and Ron...10/22/2022

by Capt Juls on 10/22/22

Got up at my usual time of 3am, so I could get my cup of coffee, and take the dogs out back to check the weather. The new puppy is working out well here. He's learning the routines, and isn't much trouble at all....yet. Alfie is only 9 weeks old, so hopefully, he will be into the routines before the psycho puppy stage unfolds. 

The iWindSurf app was showing gusts to 30 out of the south early on, but diminishing as the morning went on, so I decided to have my crew meet me at Mazurik's at 7:15, so we could be launched by 7:30. They showed up right on time, and loaded all their "stuff" in the boat, and we hit the water.

The sky was mostly clear, the air temp was around 50 degrees, and the water temp was 51 degrees between Lakeside and the Marblehead lighthouse.

We headed to the lighthouse first, but I didn't mark anything that I wanted to set up on, so we headed back towards Lakeside and set up in 24 feet of water, in front of the pier.  More and more boats came in and anchored, but I didn't see anyone catching. We had only caught one in 20 minutes, so it was time to move.

We headed to G can next. I was surprised to see nets strung, where I've never seen nets set up, in the 22 years I've been fishing here....between Catawba and G Can. So, we went around them, and went to the area between H and G. There were boats there, but as I motored around looking for perch, I didn't mark them like I wanted, so I kept going and headed to G Can.  We set up SW of the can, and patiently waited.  The bottom was soft, and I usually like a harder bottom, so after about 20 minutes I was getting ready to move again, when the first perch made it over the gunnel.  We stayed.

It would take almost an hour for a good steady bite to start happening, but during that first hour....as slow as it was, we had enough bites, and missed bites, to keep us there. At 10:30 it started picking up, and by 1:00 we had their 3-person limit.

We would have had more, but one of the perch rods took a puke when the tip of Tony's rod chipped the eye and kept cutting his line....so, I had to give up mine, and I was done fishing for the day. (Note to self, put more backup perch rods in the boat!). We only had 45 minutes to go, so it wasn't that bad.

I did notice that the water temp by G Can was only 48.6 degrees, so a little colder than in the chute, by Lakeside. The water was muddier by G Can, too.

The guys had a good time, and were happy with their limits, and that makes me happy, too!

I'll be perch'n again with Marc and Jim, my Wisco crew that comes down to fish for walleye, usually. They want perch this time, and Tuesday and Wednesday are looking really nice right now, so hopefully that doesn't change, and we can get them a couple of good days in.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing Day 4 with Bob and Bruce Brenton, 10/6/2022

by Capt Juls on 10/06/22

This is a short report, because I got home so late, and had so many things to do.

We headed back to Mazurik's to launch, this morning, for Bob and Bruce's final day of Perch fishing with me.

We left a little later this morning, and headed out at 8am, instead of 7:15. This time, we went back to the north side of Kelly's and looked at the spot we had fished yesterday....rocks, in 27 feet of water, but there were no marks on the Helix showing, so we slid a little more north, and into deeper water. Fish started showing in 30 feet of water, so we stopped there. The Ulterra held us on top of the marks, but the bite was super slow in the early morning hours, and had us scratching our heads.

The only thing that kept us there, was the fact that every time I thought to myself, "We should move", one of them would catch a nice big perch. The other fact, was that these two gents had the patience of my Father, and that paid off big time, because the fish would come in spurts. 

We would get a 5-10 bite window, and then we would wait again. Then, another group would come around, and then we would wait again. But, the wait was worth it, because of the size of the perch we were catching. Bob and Bruce were having a great time when the fish bit, but were also very patient and calm when they weren't, so that made my job so much easier.

The decision to stay was a good one, because at 1:00 someone turned the light switch on, and we got into an almost up and down bite for a good 15 minutes with the big piggies.  There was a lot of excitement in the boat during that time. lol

We ended today's trip with 80 beautiful perch in the cooler, that went a total of 32 pounds at the fish cleaners. They were just a little bigger yesterday, as yesterday's weight was a .47 average, and today's was .41. :)

They said they had a great time, and can't wait to come back again next fall. This is the 6th year these two have fished a 4 day stretch in the fall with me, so we are more like family now, so I'm looking forward to it as much as they are. 

Tomorrow's perch trip has been cancelled, due to the forecast.  I'm looking at Saturday now, but haven't seen enough to make a decision yet.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing Day 3 with Bob and Bruce Brenton 10/5/2022

by Capt Juls on 10/05/22

Picked my crew up from the White Caps Motel at 6:30 and headed to Hi Way Bait to get some Emerald Shiners, before heading to Mazurik's, to launch.

We launched and headed back to where we were yesterday, on the north side of Kelly's. The bite was slower, and the perch were smaller than yesterday, so we picked up after three hours, and headed NW to find some rock piles with fish holding on them. 

We found some rocks, but not a lot of marks showing up on the Helix....so, we kept driving, slowly, with the Ulterra down, so it would be ready to Spot Lock as soon as we marked something worth fishing over.

Once we found some decent marks, we set up, and got back to fishing. It took about 15 minutes before the first bite happened, ( I was just getting ready to say, "Let's move"),  but it was a good one. It was 12 1/2 inches, so that got Bob and Bruce excited, and they wanted to stay there. All the fish in that spot were 11-13 inches, except for maybe 3 or 4 that went around 8 inches. 

I think, between both spots, I caught 6 sheephead, with one that was well over 10 pounds, but I didn't weigh it, so it's only a guess.  But, if you see the picture in my photo album, I think you'll agree. :)

We ended with 44 perch that went 21 pounds at the cleaners, so that's a .47 perch to a pound. Yesterday's 66 perch were 26 pounds and only .39 perch to a pound, so today's catch was definitely bigger, and that's what Bob and Bruce are looking for. 

We'll be heading out tomorrow an hour later, because the early morning bite isn't as good as it is from 10-2. Hopefully, we can limit tomorrow, but they'll be happy with whatever we catch. It's going to be a nice day again, before another big blow comes in on Friday, along with a cold front.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing Day 2 with Bob and Bruce Brenton, 10/4/2022

by Capt Juls on 10/04/22

Yesterday, we started Bob and Bruce's 4 day perch trip out of Catawba, since there was still a NE wind, so we could stay in more protected water. The water was dirty, and the fishing was very slow. We managed only 20 perch yesterday.

When I woke up early this morning, Dexter, the three cats, and I all went out on the back deck to check the weather for the day. As I sipped my coffee, and they munched on treats, I checked the wind, weather, and wave apps.  They all showed it was going to be a very nice day today. 

The wind was forecast for less than 10mph out of the north, and lots of sunshine later in the day. The morning started out with partly cloudy skies, so the sunrise was spectacular, with dark oranges, reds, and yellows as the sun peaked its sunny face over the horizon.

We had picked up some Emerald Shiners at Hi Way Bait, before making our way over to Mazurik's. 
For anyone that doesn't know yet, the road to Mazurik's from 163 is closed right now, due to a Roundabout being put in at that intersection.  
To get to Mazurik's from the other way, you need to keep going straight on 163, towards Marblehead/Lakeside, and turn left on the road that's just past the high school.  I don't know the name of the road, but it's the first left past the school's parking lot.  Go to the first stop sign and turn left, again.  Mazurik's will be down on the right, just past the curve in the road. :)

I hadn't been there for several months, and was pleasantly surprised to see the work crews there putting in the foundation for a new bathroom and fish cleaning station. I don't know when it will be done, but it's a lot further than I thought it would be, since they seem to be taking their old sweet time on the fish cleaning station at Huron. I'll betcha Mazurik's gets done before Huron, but that's just a guess. 

We launched at 7:15 and headed NE to the north side of Kelly's, and looked for some perch, to set up on.  Once we marked what I thought were good perch on the Helix, the Ulterra was deployed and the Spot Lock engaged. We didn't  move the rest of the trip. We had found some.

While it wasn't a fast bite, the quality of fish was amazing. I told Bob and Bruce on the way up there, that "If they are here, they will usually be the bigger ones" Bob smiled and said excitedly, "I hope they're here!"

The first 10 minutes were a bust...nothing. I was getting ready to say, "Let's move", but just as I thought that, I got a bite. I pulled a 12 inch perch over the side, and their eyes lit up with delight, and they started getting excited.  A couple more nice fish were brought in, so we decided to just grind it out right there for the rest of the trip. 

I got a bite and set the hook. Bruce said, "That's a big one...it must be a walleye or sheephead". I didn't think it was, but I didn't want to say anything, because while it was fighting like a perch, it was definitely bigger than any perch I'm used to catching. 
When this 14 1/4" behemoth came over the side with the help of my "handlining skills"...they both started hooping and hollering with amazement. It was the biggest perch either of them have ever seen.  It wasn't just the length, but the girth of that piggy perch that amazed us.
It was declared at Port Clinton Fish Co, that it was 1.45 pounds, and the biggest perch brought into their shop this season! And, they clean fish from the nets on a regular basis, so that's saying a lot. The guys there even wanted pictures of it. lol
I was sitting out in my truck waiting on them, so I was told all this after Bruce came back out with my cooler.

They asked Bruce, "Don't you want to get this one mounted?", and he replied, "Well, it's not my fish"...then, went on to explain that he and his brother were fishing with a "Charter Capt".  When he told me that, I laughed and said, "Why didn't you tell them you were fishing with me? They all know me."  He said, "I'm sorry, I was a little excited talking to everyone, and it didn't come out". "That's okay", I said..."I understand".  But, then, as I drove home, I thought, "Shoot! I SHOULD have gotten that one mounted." Oops! Oh, well....maybe we'll get another one tomorrow. Ya never know!

We will be heading back to the same spot tomorrow, to see if we can entice another cooler full of piggy perch to bite our minnows.

The wind forecast for tomorrow is 5-6mph out of the west, with lots of sunshine again, so it should be another fun trip.

I am absolutely loving this new Vexus DVX22. The ride, the layout, fit and finish, and the comfort level is all top-notch and well-thought-out by the designers. I couldn't be happier! My customers are loving it too. Thank you, Vexus Team! :)

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

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