Juls WFA Blog
 Call Capt Juls: 419-835-7347
Juls Walleye Fishing Adventures
Lake Erie Walleye-Perch Fishing Charters-Running 7 days a week!
Email: RNGRGAL@gmail.com
HomeYour CaptainRatesWeatherPhotosRecipesContact BlogVideosReviews
6-Pack Charters & Hotels

Insert text here.

Juls WFA Blog

December Thoughts...Fishing with Dipsey Divers...12/12/23

by Capt Juls on 12/12/23

I apologize, in advance, for not being able to add pictures to my blogs. The host site, I use, doesn't have that option for me.  So, I'll try to be as instructive, and informative, as I can, with only my words. :)

First, let me say, everyone has their own way of doing things when they fish, so I'm not going to tell you that what I'm about to tell you, is the right way, or that your way is the wrong way, and just tell you how I do it. Nothing more.

What works for me, might help someone just learning, learn how to do it with more confidence.

I have had many trips, where my customers, who never used them before, wanted to learn how to run dipsies, and become more proficient with them, so I thought I would write it all down, and share what I do, and how I fish them, with all of you.

Dipsies can be used in shallow water, all the way out to deep water. When I first started using them, I was taught to run them faster and in deeper water. I didn't know you could run them in shallow water, too. One day, I was fishing with friends, on their boat, and Capt Jen, who's my best friend, set out a dipsey on a three setting at only 19 back, over 8 feet of water. 
She had said that she and her husband Capt Matt had caught fish the day before on the exact same set up. Sure enough, we caught fish too. That blew the myth that they couldn't be run in shallow water. 

 So, don't be fooled, like I was, and remember that dipsies can be used in both shallow and deep water. 

I use the "Size 1 dipsey with the Ring".  I run two short 6 foot rods on the "inside" (rod to the furthest back to the stern), and two longer rods (8'6") on the "outside", off each corner. 

A dipsey is designed to go straight down, or out to the sides, by moving a dial on the back of the dipsey.  When you look at the backside of a dipsey, you'll see a triangular pointer, dividing the dipsey in half, down the middle. 

There is a set of three numbers to either side of a triangular pointer, with zero being in the middle, directly under the pointer.
By moving that dial to a 1, 2, or 3 position, on either side of the pointer, that will determine how far out to the side the disc will swim.  Zero is straight down, 1 is a little to the side, 2 is even further to the side, and 3 is furthest out, away from the boat.

When you're looking at the back of the disc, know that the numbers on the right side of the zero and pointer are fished off of the port side, and numbers on the left side of the pointer are fished off the starboard side.

Setting a dipsey:

Before you set a dipsey in the water, the first thing you want to know is, "Where are the walleye swimming in the water column?" Look at your electronics, check the depths where you see marks on the screen, and then pull out your paper depth chart that comes with the dipsey, Precision Trolling Data app, or a picture on your phone, that tells you how much line to put out with each setting. You'll want to set your baits just above the marks you're targeting on your electronics screen.

I use the Precision Trolling Data app, because I always have my phone, and the app works even if there isn't any signal out on the water.  I tell the app what setting I'm using, and at what depth I see fish at, and then, it automatically tells me how much line to let out, to reach that desired depth.
I have the "Lifetime" membership, so I can receive any new baits that get tested and uploaded, plus any software updates....for, life. As long as I don't change my phone's OS platform (Apple to Android, or vise versa), I can get it passed on to the next phone I get.

Back to fishing....

If no lines have been set yet, I set out the outside dipsey first, simply because there is zero chance of it getting tangled. I usually use a 3 setting on the outside rod, to help keep novice hands from tangling. Then, the inside dipsey gets set to zero, or one, and let out, to help keep a good separation between the two dipsies.

The reel's tension button must be turned on, when setting a dipsey out. You know it's on when you hear a clicking sound on your reel, as the line goes out.  I call that the, "Clicker". The tension keeps the diver from going down too fast. If it goes too fast, the leader will have a tendency to get hung up around the dipsey, and then it's not going to work the way it should, and needs to be brought up, and reset.

On the front of a dipsey, there is a lever that the mainline connects to, and it needs to be pushed into a raised slot, until it clicks in place.  There is a tension screw on the side of the dipsey, that allows you to adjust the tension setting on that lever/arm, so it fits snuggly, but will trip if a fish hits the bait. I call this lever, "The Mechanism".

A snubber, that attaches and runs behind the dipsey, and is usually around 6"-8" on average, helps keep bigger fish from getting off the line, by taking some of the shock away, when a big fish puts up a good fight.

The leader, is then attached to the back of the snubber. In my case, it's whatever my arm length is, when I reach out to both sides, and extend my arms out as far as they will go... which is pretty close to 6 feet. :)

Baits I use, are big and little spoons, shallow diving crank baits, crawler harnesses, and "Worm Burners".  

Here are a few tips, that might work for all of you too....

When you've caught a fish on a dipsey, and it hasn't tripped the mechanism:

Put your thumb on the reel's spool and press down, to hold it in place...reel down to take up any slack line....then, give the rod tip a flick of the wrist, to pop that mechanism on the dipsey, and reel it in.

Once it's tripped, it comes in a lot smoother and easier.  

I tell my clients to keep the rod tip close to the water, as they reel it in, so that the dipsey stays in the water until its found its way to the tip of the rod, where my client then lifts the rod up, and steps backwards a couple of steps, to bring that fish that's out there on a 6-foot leader, closer to the boat, so it can be netted. 

I try to bring all the dipsies in on the starboard side of the main motor, because there's more room for netting fish, because the kicker motor is on the port side, and I can't risk a customer netting a fish near the running prop. I've ruined a few net baskets, on the props, by letting customers net fish, too. It's always a learning experience for them, and I get a new basket when it happens. 

When setting out an outside dipsey, when the inside rod is already set:

Let's set the port side (where the kicker is, too). The inside rod is running on a zero setting at 47, and I need to get the rod with the 3 setting dipsey out to the side, without tangling. The best way to do that is to place the bait on the inside of the inside rod, and kicker, and hold the line on the reel, so the dipsey doesn't go out.

Then, I point the rod tip out, over, and out to the side of the inside rod, in one smooth action.  I do not jerk the rod tip all over the place, bouncing the dipsey up and down and all around. It should be one smooth movement, that takes the dipsey out to the side without interfering with the inside line.

Once my rod tip is out past the inside rod, and to the side, I drop the dipsey in the water, (put the rod in the rod holder while it goes out),  and then lock the reel in, when it gets to the desired depth. 

By doing this method, you can set more than two lines on each side. And, could realistically run one at zero, one at 1, one at 2, and one at 3...or, four on each side, if done correctly with rod lengths, and settings.

I just run two on each side with clients who are learning. It's enough, and allows us to do both, dipsies and Off Shore Tackle boards.  There are days the fish come so fast, that we don't even have time to put any boards out, and just run 4 dipsies, and still catch 24 walleye in an hour and a half.

You might ask, "Is it like that all the time?" No. of course not. I would be lying if I said that. But, during the warmer months, when we can troll faster, dipsies can be a strong tool to have in your arsenal.

Lures I typically use on the dipsies:

Michigan Stinger Spoons and Scorpion Spoons
Yeck Spoons (the 2 1/4" size)
Ripplin Red Fins
YaleEye Moon Eyes
Shallow Bandits
Smithwick P-10's
Shallow WNC Reapers
Worm Burners
Double Willow Leaf Crawler Harnesses

Last tip... Watch the line angles. I use 30# Power Pro in yellow, on my Tekota 500 Line Counter reels, so it's easy to see, and observe from a distance.

If a fish hits, and no one sees the initial jerk of the rod tip, and it decides to just hang there, and swim along with the untripped dipsey, the line angle will change. Sometimes, it is subtle, and sometimes it's unmistakable that there is  a fish hanging. 

This is the reason I will check each rod every 5 minutes, or so, to make sure I'm not dragging a small fish. Then, I get used to the line angles, that are produced by boat direction and current, and if I see any changes, I will check that rod. Most often, then not, there is usually a fish on it.  But, if you don't check them often, you would drag a little fish around for hours, which will knock that rod out of production, for  that entire time. That's not good. Just check them....often. 
It only takes 30 seconds to check a dipsey, and get it back out.

I hope this helps just one person, who might be struggling with their dipsies, to understand them a little better, and learn how to set them with more confidence.

If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read it. :)

If I have left anything out, and anyone has questions, please email me at RNGRGAL@gmail.com, and I'll answer your questions.

Thank you...

Fishing with Jen and Matt Wieland...11/25/2023

by Capt Juls on 11/26/23

Winter is coming...time to put some fish in my freezer, for some walleye chowder I like to make over the cold season. :)

I invited my friends Jen and Matt, to go fishing today. The high temp for the day was only going to be 35 degrees, but the winds were calm, so it would be a good day to go out.  The water temp was still at 43 degrees, so there was no icing up at the ramps, yet.

We launched out of Catawba at 9:30(ish), and headed out looking for some fish near the islands. There were several boats working the F Can area, but I decided that going back to the Starve Island area, where Jen and I fished the last time out was our best bet....and, I was right.

There were several boats over there, too, but not too crowded, so down went the Terrova and the baby Merc. The Fish Hawk was deployed, because there's a lot of current in that area, and the speed set at 1.8 on the FH. The SOG was showing 2.0-2.1mph on an easterly direction. 

We targeted the south edge of the "hole", in 28-32 feet of water.  There weren't a lot of marks, but we started catching anyway.

We set up with what Jen and I used last week, and it didn't disappoint.

We set the following behind the Off Shore boards:

DHJ14s in Blue/Chrome with a 2oz snap weight set at 30/30 (putting the weight on at the 30 mark and letting out another 30' for a total of 60') 

Bill Lewis PWCs (Precision Walleye Crank, for those that are as bad at acronyms, as I am)...BH Wonderbread, Christmas Sweater, and Green Tiger set 60-75 back, unassisted (meaning, no weight).

A Dead Eye (deep)... Red Headed Wonderbread, painted by DJ Custom Eye Lures at 50/24 2oz took three fish.

Spro Madeye 120 in the color, "Marvin" at 98 back unassisted did well, too.

We managed to put 19 fish in the boat, but only kept 17. Two smaller 17" fish were released to get a chance to grow bigger.

The average was 2-4 pounds, with our largest going around 6 pounds.

It was a fun 4 hours on a beautiful lake, and it didn't really feel that cold, since there wasn't any wind. :)

The boat is back in its heated storage, and ready to go out again, when the weather allows. 

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

My Thoughts on the Vexus DVX22 After One Full Season of Use

by Capt Juls on 11/18/23

Almost a year ago, I wrote my initial thoughts on the new to me 2023 Vexus DVX22. I had run Ranger's 600 series for 20 years prior, so I knew that the folks who were building the new Vexus Boat, would build an incredible boat in the Vexus, and they did just that. I absolutely love this boat!

As excited as I was to drive it for the first time, I'm still that way, every time I climb in the boat. It's just a fun boat to operate. The ride is very good and is dependable. She has the horsepower to go fast, and she likes to go fast, but I find that on a nice day, I prefer a nice cruising speed of 40-50mph, to get to a spot. 

On rougher days, the engine has enough low-end torque to help get up the waves, and a quick response time for throttle adjustments. The boat handles great, due to the design. And I think it's a real winner!

I like the design of the bow, because it feels higher, so when I'm driving in rough water, I never feel that water will be coming in over the bow at any moment. And, speaking of the bow...let's talk about the bow mount trolling motor next.

As many of you know, originally, I had a 112 Ulterra iPilot LINK on the bow, but, after two stow failures (with clients on board, of course), I called my local Minn Kota Service Tech (Matt Wieland), to have him find me a 112 Terrova iPilot LINK, to swap out.  He was able to find one that day.

I ran the Ulterras since they came out, and this is the first time I've ever had an issue with one...but, I couldn't give it a chance to do it three times, so I swapped it out. 
I sure miss just pushing a button and having the motor deploy and stow by itself, but I'm liking the dependability of the Terrova, too. It's been issue free all season.

So, that's the tip of the boat...so far so good. :)

Next, the bow storage, which consists of an 8' 10" center rod locker, 2 giant storage compartments, and a bait well.  The storage compartment on the port side is pleasantly gigantic. 
Seriously, a full-grown average adult could lay in there, and there would still be room for more stuff. The compartment on the starboard side is slightly smaller, but still holds a lot.

There are two retractable belts on the bow to hold rods in place, that are stored on the bow, but I don't keep any rods there, so I use it for holding the nets down, while on the road, or running long distances in rough water.

Moving on to the cockpit/dash area....

I have only one criticism, and that's about the trim buttons on the Merc 400's throttle (This is a digital control throttle...and the 400 Verado, before they replaced it with the new V10).  The buttons are SO tiny, and under a rubber sheath, so it's almost impossible to work them on the fly in any timely manner.
I opted to put a trim lever at the wheel, so I could adjust on the fly more easily, and without frustration.  

Other than that, I like just having one 12" Helix at the dash, because it leaves me the hole in the dash, to use as a "cubby-hole" for all the stuff that is used frequently. The Helix has enough screen to run it in split screen(s).  I run another Helix 12 in the rear of the boat, that is connected to the one on the dash, so they are both seeing the same thing.

I didn't put a stereo in this boat, because I just use my Bose speaker/Blue toothed to my phone, so I can play from my playlists. It's one less thing to suck any battery juice from the boat's batteries.

While the boat come standard with the "Air Wave" pedestal bases, I wasn't aware of that when I ordered this boat and opted to put in the suspension seating that I had been using for the last decade... "SmoothMove Seats".

The driver and passenger seats are both fitted with SmoothMove Seats. The passenger side has the "Air-Ride" (plug it in, press a button, and it inflates), and the driver's seat has the manual version (twist a knob). The manual version is set tight, though, because I like to feel what the boat feels, when it's rough out. 

Rick LaCourse, my mentor, friend, ex-husband, and the man who taught me how to "drive" a Ranger, always said, "If you can feel it in your ass, so can the boat"...meaning, don't beat up the boat!

The iTroll dial control for the kicker motor sits down, and back, of the big motor's throttle...I have no complaints about this product. It works like it's supposed to and hasn't failed me yet.

The full  windshield is the strongest windshield I know of. I never have to worry about a customer using it to support their weight as they are going up and down, and, to and from the bow seat.  It's still as solid as the day I first got in the boat.
It's easy to keep clean too, because my hand fits between the glass and the dash. 

The glove box is plenty big, and has an upper shelf for those items you want to keep more accessible.

The passenger dash also has a little cubby-hole of their own, (where a stereo would go), which is big enough to hold sunglasses, keys, etc. Then, there is also a nice indentation on top of the dash, to hold more stuff, that won't roll away, or get stuck down between the dash and the windshield. 

My antenna is mounted on the driver's side, just behind the Bennett Trim Tab control panel, and above the throttle. I like having it there, so when it must come down fast, (bridge), I have quick access to it.  Ask me, how I know... I've already written about in previous blogs, when I had the antenna on the passenger's side. Let's just say, O'Dark 30, a dark bridge in Vermilion, and an antenna standing at 8'....not pretty. I lost two that way. lol

Now, that it's on my side, it's down in a flash, if need be.

The Bennett Trim Tabs have been easy to use on the manual setting, and because of the location, easily operated. It has the automatic settings, but I like using it in manual mode.

The 8' rod storage on the port side holds rods, beautifully. I only keep 4 dipsey rods, and the rear navigation light there, and like the way they are held by what I call "The Claw". I don't know what they are called...it's Y shaped, and rubber coated, to protect your reels. Depending on the rod and reel combos one may run, it could hold a few more rods.

I have a Fish Hawk X2 behind the driver's seat on the starboard tracks. It's working great, and I am very happy with it.

Turning the seat around, to look at the back of the boat....

The storage compartments on the DVX22 hold a lot of tackle, on both sides. 
(For those that do not like the storage compartments in the back, the new DVX22S is coming, or might even be here by now, and does not have the storage compartments in the back.

I've talked about the boat's built-in cooler being in the stern port corner, and how I loved the accessibly of it in that position, and that feeling hasn't changed... I still love it!

Originally, I didn't think I would like the room that the built in storage, and access panel to the bilge, in front of the live well took up, but I've grown to really like it. It's perfect for sitting on, standing on, and kneeling on...and, netting fish has not been an issue, like I thought it would be.

And, originally, I was missing the MoDog Running Rod Rack, to hold rods when running from spot to spot, but when Cisco came out with the new Hybrid rod holders that are a cross between their tube and cradle rod holders, I swapped 6 of my 10 cradles out, and could run with the rods in the holders, instead.  The nice thing about these hybrids is, they keep the reel facing inside the boat...unlike the regular tubes.
I had all cradles, but they didn't have the ring to lock a rod in, so I would have had to use a bungie cord or something, to keep the rod from bouncing out of the holder, every time I wanted to move. I couldn't be happier with this new holder.

One nice thing about the DVX22 is the metal plate they install under the gunnel, to screw a Cisco Track to the gunnel. It allows the track to bend and follow the gunnel's contour, and solidly attach to it.  I haven't had any issues with screws coming loose, either. And, I don't have to worry about a customer who leans on one, to maintain his/her balance...(unless, they are "really leaning"). 

Having the access panel right there in front of the live well is actually very nice. There's so much more room to work with stuff under there, if need be.  

The storage compartments on either side of the access panel can hold 6 crank bait boxes, each. Or, in my case, one side holds all my dipsey stuff. A pool noodle with a dozen leads tied up, a few back up reels, extra size 1 dipsies, extra snubbers, and two crank bait boxes.  The other side holds 6 medium sized boxes....boxes that are slightly smaller than a Plano 3700 box.

The stern starboard compartment is where my two battery chargers are located. A 2-bank and a 3-bank charger hang on the walls of the compartment, so there's still plenty of room for all my Off Shore planer boards in there, too.

The 2 plug ins for the chargers, are right in that corner too, but on the splash well side. 
The boat power switch is also there, along with the open/close valve for the drain plug.

NOTE: In every boat I've owned with this type of open/close drain plug system...I've always had to go under the boat to push the drain plug closed that last 1/8th to a 1/4 inch. 
Will it leak without pushing it in? I don't know, but I would rather be safe than sorry. :)

The only thing left on the rear of the boat, that wasn't mentioned, is the 15 Merc kicker. I have the tiller model, so I can just lock it in straight. I just want it to push us, while the Terrova does all the steering. I use the iTroll to dial in the RPM speed, so I can dial in the speed needed to allow the Terrova's power level to stay at number 5.
I like power level 5, because it will give me enough speed to keep control of the bow on windy days, without using up all the batteries. I'd rather the power come from the kicker. 

That's the starting speed. It will get bumped up and down throughout a fishing trip, though, due to maneuvers, but you get my point. 

Well, this got long, pretty quick...lol  Sorry, for the long read...if you get through it all...thanks for reading it! :)

Fishing with James, Chris, and "Schmitty" (Chris)...11/5/2023

by Capt Juls on 11/05/23

I had to reschedule this trip a couple of weeks ago, due to wind, so I had been watching the forecast as the day approached, and it kept getting better day by day, so I told my crew it would be a go.

Originally, the forecast was for the wind to settle down around 8am, but when I went out on the back deck with my coffee at 3am, the wind had already died down to a whopping 3mph. The temp was 46 degrees, so I knew it was going to be a nice day...other than some expected rain showers from time to time throughout the morning.

My boat is in heated storage now, so I had to go across town to get her. I dropped Alfie off at my friend, Jen's house first, so he could spend the day with his brother Ozzie, and his girlfriends, Buoy and Sunny, while I worked.  I didn't want him spending the day alone, now that is big brother, Dexter has passed over the Rainbow Bridge. So, thank you, Jen and Matt, for taking care of him. :)

I got to the building a little early, so I could organize some things, before hitting the water. I hit the gas station to gas her up and get some ice for the cooler, before heading over to Mazurik's to meet my crew at 8:45.  They were already there, when I arrived, so the day was already off to a good start.

We launched at 9am and after the big motor warmed up to temp, we headed off to the east side of Kelly's.  I hadn't been walleye fishing for quite some time, because all of my last trips the past month and a half were perch trips, so it was just a matter of driving until I marked some fish.

We found "some marks" at the 32/27 line, but they weren't stacked, like we often see in some people's photos of their electronics, where it becomes "As fast as you can reel", but more scattered. We decided to give it a try.

The Terrova was deployed, and the baby Merc engaged, and a NE heading was set at a speed of 1.8-2.0 mph.  The Fish Hawk showed that the surface temp of 53.4 was the same as the temp down at 15 feet. The SOG was also the same going in that direction.

The port side was set up with 3 white bodied bandits, running behind Off Shore boards. The outside board ran at 120 back (unassisted), the middle board at 80, and the inside board at 60.  All three would catch a fish or two.

The starboard side started out running the new Berkley Deep Hit Sticks with the same leads, but didn't catch anything, so they were eventually swapped out for the Berkley Flicker Minnow 11s. The outside bait ran at 100 back, the middle board at 70, and the inside board at 60. All three of these would catch a few fish, too.

Two dipsies ran off each corner, with the inside set on the zero setting, and the outside rods running dipsies on the three setting, with spoons, shallow Hit Sticks, and Ripplin Redfin's.  Dialing it in, three rods would end up running the smaller BadMo Arrow spoons in the green and black (silver back), and one white bodied Ripplin Redfin ran on one of the three settings.

The zero settings with spoons caught at 36 to 47 back. The three settings caught at 50 to 80 back.  Most of the fish were caught on the dipsies.

When we ran out of marks, I turned the boat around to head back west. The SOG was 2.3 while the Fish Hawk showed 1.9-2.0mph, going that direction. We picked away at them until they caught their limits, and two of mine... then, around noon, the bite slowed for us. We fished for another hour, when they decided they wanted to get back, so they could get the fish cleaned before heading home.

We had a great time out there, and they were very happy with the 20 fish in the cooler, since I didn't have real high hopes of a good bite, since all the reports I had received from the two days before weren't that great.

I had fished with James and Chris back in 2020, and that day we had only gone 11 for 15, but they had a great time that day, too, so I knew they were the positive kind of anglers, and no matter what happened, it would be a good day on the water.

Luckily, though, we beat that day, and put more fish in the cooler for their fish fry efforts. James couldn't have been happier. Chris was a great "first mate", and Schmitty, who had never caught a walleye before, is now hooked and wants to bring some other friends out here to go fishing with me, too....and, that makes me happy! :)

This was the last customer trip of the season, unless a forecast shows nice weather coming in, because I have a few that I can call last minute, if they want to get out.

Otherwise, I'll be doing a little Fall Walleye Brawling, and Walleye Slamming with Jen and Matt for the rest of the month.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Jim and Gary 10/11-12/2023

by Capt Juls on 10/14/23

Jim and Gary drove in from MN to go perch fishing. Their original date was rescheduled a couple times, due to Mother Nature not behaving, and me not wanting them to drive such a long distance, to only sit on shore while they were here. The winds decided to behave a bit for their scheduled date this time, so they made the trip out here. 

The perch bite the week before was pretty darn good, so I was hopeful that it would continue, but east and northeast winds prior to their first day of fishing, made it tough for their first of two days with me.

Day one: 

We started out at the Marblehead lighthouse, where I had been fishing with my previous customers for a couple of days, and did well there. We caught 6 perch in an hour and a half. We decided to take a ride up to the area around South Bass Island to see if we could find a better bite up there.

The wind was blowing out of the SW, so the area by the monument was a bit rough for them, and I moved us around to the north side of Put-n-Bay, and found some good marks near the red can by the entrance to PIB.  We caught one there, which brought our total up to 7. 

After moving around and trying several more spots, we moved back down to the protected side of the mainland, near East Harbor Park. Good marks, but no takers...again. 

With an hour and half to go, I decided to make the run back over to our first spot at the lighthouse, where we picked up two more in the last hour. We didn't see anyone around us bringing any in, and heard over the radio that people were struggling to catch them.  

It was just one of those days, and we ended the day with only 9 in the cooler. :(

I told the guys we would launch out of Catawba the next morning, and try over by the cans. They were in agreement with that plan, and were looking forward to the next morning.

Day two....

I picked my crew up at Hi-Way Bait, since they were staying next door at the Peninsula Motel. I went in and bought the shiners, and ice, and we were off to Catawba to launch.

It was just getting light out when we launched and headed to G Can. We were the first ones there, so I was able to take some time to locate a school of fish, before deploying the Terrova and hitting the Spot-Lock.  We ended up about 25 yards NE of the can, with some good marks showing on the Helix.

"Dollar for the first yellow?", I asked. They both agreed, and it wasn't long before Jim put the first one in the boat. :)  "That's a good sign", I said. And, we proceeded to start catching on a pretty steady basis for the next 2 1/2 hours. By 9:15 we had 60 in the box, and had 30 to go. But, by 10AM the bite had slowed way down, and we would only catch another 16 before it was time to head in, for a total of 76 perch.

Jim was attaching live Emeralds to his hook, by their tails, so they wiggled while they were down there, and had good bites. But, he also fed a lot of perch, because they kept stealing his minnows, since they were only hooked once through the tail. However, when he did hook up, they were a nice size fish.

I was letting them use the live shiners, while I used my frozen ones (frozen in Wintergreen Rubbing Alcohol), and was doing well with them, too. I found that the tail halves, on the bottom hook, worked best, but also caught a few with the head portions on the top hook. The piece of meat couldn't be too big though, or it wouldn't get touched.

They had a good time, even though the catching was less than stellar on day one, and said they would like to come back again in the spring, to try for walleye...and, that makes me happy. :)

My trips for the 13th and 14th have been rescheduled to the 2024 season, and my next scheduled trip is for Wednesday the 18th. But, after this strong NE blow, and rain, this weekend....I may have to cancel that one too.   

A father and mother are visiting the area Monday through Wednesday, and want to take their 8 and 10 year olds perch fishing.  If I think it's too muddy inside, we will not be going. Little kids do not have the patience when it comes to a slow bite. And, if it's muddy...the bite will probably be non-existent inside by the lighthouse or the cans. But, we'll see what the weather does early this week, to see if it cleans up enough.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Bob and Bruce 10/2-5/23

by Capt Juls on 10/05/23

Day one of four, perch'n with Bob and Bruce....

Day one, we launched out of Catawba, (a later start) and hit the G Can area. We started at 8:45 and finished at 2:45 with 87 of our 90 allowed perch.

Day two, we launched out of Mazurik's at 8am. We were going to join the pack of boats out in front of Lakeside, due to good reports of perch being caught there the day before, but the lake was flat, and the Vexus wanted to run, and I don't like fishing in packs, so we let her run.

We went up the east side of Kelly's to look at the green can on the north end of the shoal. Last year, at this time, we did well on jumbo perch there, but the Helix wasn't marking anything when I went around the can, this time, so we didn't stay.

We headed towards Gull Island Shoal, to look there. We found some decent marks just south of the line, in 34 feet of water, so the Terrova was deployed and the Spot-Lock engaged.

We were using two hook crappie rigs that I  make myself, with Emerald Shiners, both fresh and frozen (mine are frozen in Wintergreen Rubbing alcohol). I was using the frozen, while I let Bob and Bruce have all the fresh ones. They both worked well, and I can't say that either out-fished me with my frozen shiners.

The perch were much bigger up there, than they were at G can the day before. At G Can we had 87 for 24 pounds, and only 56 at Gull for 24 pounds.

Day three I picked my guys up at their hotel at 6am, and we hit Hi Way Bait for more shiners and ice. Then, we hit Mazurik's again, but launched while it was still dark out. This time, I wanted to try by the Marblehead lighthouse. After setting up in the first spot, I felt the bottom was too soft...softer than I like it. I like to be able to feel when the weight hits the bottom, and I couldn't really feel that happen all to well, so we moved. 
I turned the Down Imaging on the Helix, so I could see where the rocks were, and ended up setting up over 24' of water on the east side of the lighthouse. The bottom was nice and rocky, so the weights could "tap-tap-tap", and make noise down there. That brings the fish in when it's a scattered population, in my opinion. Once they find you, they usually hang out, and bite well.

That's what happened yesterday. They found us, and we ended up with our 90 perch for a total weight of 33 pounds. So, another nice grade of perch.

Day 4....

I picked the brothers up at their hotel at 6am again, but this time, they followed me in their truck, because they were checked out, and would be heading home after getting their fish cleaned.

We hit Hi Way Bait again for some more shiners, and ice, and hit Mazurik's again. The wind was still light, so we took a nice leisurely ride over to the lighthouse again, and set up on exactly the same spot we were in yesterday.  The bite was slower, and the bite was A LOT lighter than it was yesterday, but we managed to catch 46 more perch, to add to their stash headed back to MI.

I have to tell you about this one fish this morning, though....

First, let me tell you where I sit when I'm perch fishing. I sit on a step stool, in the back of the boat, on the live well, so I'm higher, and my right arm can stay relaxed, because I don't have to hold it up.

Okay....the fish of a lifetime...

I set the hook on what I thought was a smaller/medium sized Sheephead. I'm reeling it up, and it swims into the corner of the big motor and the transom, and does a flip...that's when I see what I have....a GINORMOUS perch!  Now, I have caught a few 15" perch out of Cleveland before, and some even bigger in Northern Wisconsin, while ice fishing, but I have never seen a perch this big before.  
It dwarfed that 14 1/2" perch we caught last year (that trip was with Bob and Bruce, too). 

I didn't have a net handy, so I had to try and lift it, but when I did, it did another flip, and landed on the back platform of the transom (spitting the hook), and laid there, on its side, long enough for both Bruce and I too get a good look at it, but not long enough before it flipped off the boat, and escaped.  When Bruce saw it he shouted, "OH MY GOD!", and his jaw was left hanging open...and, at the same time, I said, (pardon my Scottish), "Holy Fuck!", and also had my jaw hanging down, in awe, as I turned to look at Bruce, to see if he saw what I just saw. lol

I kid you not....this fish was easily 17 inches long, and the prettiest specimen to come out of this lake. The colors were vibrant, like a northern Wisco fish. Dark back, and stripes, pretty yellow sides, and super dark orange fins. Just gorgeous.

Oh well....we'll never know. But, at least I had a witness, and now we know there are some monster perch there by the lighthouse. :)

It made for a fun morning either way. Bob, however, was disappointed that he didn't get to see it, because of where he was sitting in the boat, and it was gone before he could get up. :(

It's raining now, and it's going to blow for the next couple of days, so I won't be out until later next week, if conditions are good. I'm scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Jason and Dominic DellAria...9/15/2023

by Capt Juls on 09/17/23

I met Jason and his son Dominic at Mazurik's at 6:45. Jason is a bass fisherman, and owns his own bass boat, but wasn't going to have it up here for their little family vacation. It was Dominic's birthday present to go out fishing, while they were here, so we originally planned on just a perch trip, but Jason asked if we could do some bass fishing, too. I told him, if you want to bring your bass gear, I'm up for that, so he did. 

My plan was to go hit the rocks on the east side of Pelee, but the wind forecast was a bit off, and it was going to be rough on that side, up there, so we headed to the west side, by the "Wheel". One Sheephead caught, and that was it, so we left Canada and headed to West Reef, to do a slide over those rocks. Again, nothing but one Sheephead. So, we opted to go find some perch.

To make another long story short...we hit a few spots and ended up over good marks east of the monument, in 30 feet of water. We would end up with 10 keepers. Lots of short strikes, white perch, and a couple more sheep.

They had fun, but I know it's not as much fun, as it is when you're filling up the cooler! :)

We got back to the dock and talked to a fella that had just gotten there before us, and he asked how we did, so we told him....he just shook his head and said, "We only caught 3, and that other guy right there (pointing his finger towards another boat floating at the landing), said he had 77 yesterday, and only caught 4 today".

Smiling, Jason said, "Well, I'm glad it wasn't only us." 

They were really fun to fish with, and I was very impressed at how long the young man stayed focused out there, especially on a slow catch.

Dominic was pretty excited about the Sheephead caught in the morning, because it was his first one, ever! lol

Anyway....I think with these cooler nights, the water temps will be going down fast, and the spiny fleas will die off, giving us minnow dunkers a better bite in the near future. Fingers crossed!

I'm not scheduled this week, until Saturday the 23rd, so unless I pick up a weekday trip, I'll be back on Saturday. :)

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Mel and Nick Fisher...9/10/2023

by Capt Juls on 09/11/23

Mel, and his son, Nick met me at Catawba at 6:15 for a perch trip. My prior trips were out of Mazurik's, and the perch bite was slow, so I figured since the full moon was over, and the wind was forecast to be NNE, that the bite west of the islands might be better.  So, off we went....

Long story really short....
We looked around Green Island, Rattle Snake Island, Sugar Island, West Reef, North of North Bass, Taco Bell, D Can, and the last spot between D and G cans....while we marked good fish on the Helix, we would only catch 5 yellows. UGH!!

Mel and Nick were great to spend the day in the boat with, and took the bad catch in stride, saying we worked hard for them, and that's how it goes sometimes. It doesn't really make me feel better, but we did work hard and tried many areas....always setting up on good marks.

Why did I go north you ask? Because with a NNE wind, the under current is going from the south to the north, and I was thinking that the perch might move that way with the current. 

Most of the time, we were by ourselves, but when we moved to D Can, there was around 20 boats there. I didn't see a lot of people moving around in their boats, like they were catching, so I don't think we were the only ones struggling on that bite.  

I'm thinking, maybe, it was an afternoon bite, but my trips are only 6 hours, so we weren't able to find that out, and even though I offered to stay out longer, they said they had a 4 hour drive home, and opted to head back.

Maybe next trip out, the bite will improve.....my next scheduled trip is Friday the 15th, with a father and his 11 year old son.  Fingers crossed, because it's the boy's birthday!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Sean and Linda...9/6-7/2023

by Capt Juls on 09/07/23

Sean and Linda drove down from Wisco to fish with me. They had scheduled their trip back in 2021, but due to some puppies that needed taking care of, (they own a kennel in Wisconsin, near Madison, and a resort out on the west side of Devils Lake, ND), so they had to reschedule. 

We tried again in 2022, but Mother Nature said, "Nay-Nay", and blew hard, so that trip was rescheduled too. 
Yesterday, and today, were the days they could come, but the lake wasn't too kind, as far as giving up her finny friends.

With some wind and possible thunderstorms, yesterday, we opted to try some perch fishing out in front of Mazurik's and Lakeside. We hit a total of 6 spots, with the best being out in front of the Lakeside pier, in 26 feet of water. 

We were also chased off the water by an incoming storm, a little early, so we headed in with only one limit out of a possible three. The bite was light, and the fish were like little "Houdini's", stealing our minnows, when we tried to set the hook on them.

I told them, I would add the time the storm took away from us, to this morning's trip, so we could go try for walleye first, and if that didn't work out (due to the amount of floating grass out there), that we could go perch'n again. They were happy with that plan.

So, this morning, we launched out of Mazurik's at 6:30, and headed up to Kelly Island Shoal. We made one pass over the shoal first, with crawlers, but that produced nothing, but a few missed bites and missing crawlers. Then, we set the trolling gear out to try and troll from the shoal up to the line.

Dipsies were set on the zero and three settings, on each corner with the zero settings set at 40 and 45 to start, and the three settings set at 65 and 80 to start.

The Off Shore boards were pulling Bandits set anywhere from 65 to 120 feet back. The port side ran three boards, while the starboard side ran two. We were only allowed 9 lines for the three of us.

The floating grass took the Bandits out of the equation pretty quickly, and they were put away.

We caught one walleye, one sheephead, and one giant catfish on the dipsies running spoons, but they were getting fouled with the floating grass pretty quickly, too, so we opted to just go perch fishing again.

The waves were 1-3s at the shoal, so we drove down the east side of Kelly's to the SE corner, to see if we could mark any perch there, before heading back to our spot at Lakeside. Nada....so, we drove down to the lighthouse, and set up out in 35 feet of water, out in front of it. The marks were really good, but the bottom was really soft in that spot, and we only caught one in 20 minutes, so we moved in closer to the lighthouse. 
Again, good marks when we stopped, but they soon disappeared after we set up, so we only stayed another 15 minutes, to see if they would come back around...they didn't. 

We moved back to our spot out in front of Lakeside Pier, in 26 feet of water, and started catching a few. The bite was slow, and the bite was light again, but we managed to get 20 in the box, before heading in.  We had been discussing Mexican food, and we all got hungry, and went to Casa Las Palmas for lunch. lol

The fishing was excellent, but the catching was poor again, unfortunately, but once again, I had customers with positive attitudes, and we had a lot of fun anyway.

Sean and Linda run "Dakota Sunset Resort" (www.DakotaSunsetResort.com), and come this winter, will be once again running ice fishing trips, for perch. So if anyone is looking for a good place to stay, with some great guides, check them out. They are super nice people! :)

My next scheduled trip is Sunday (perch)...hopefully, now that the cooler weather is coming back, and the full moon is gone, the bite will hopefully start picking up again.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Gene, Andy, and Drake... 8/29/2023

by Capt Juls on 08/30/23

"Grandpa" Gene, his son, Andy, and his grandson, Drake (Andy's nephew) came up from the Cincinnati area, and had signed up for a walleye trip, but due to conditions after the recent storms, and the distance to the walleye that were available, we decided to do a perch trip instead. The storms had ripped up shoreline weeds and mats of floating grass were all over the island area, which would be a pain in the butt, trying to troll the area, so that was a major factor in the decision. 

We launched out of Catawba at 6:30 and headed north.

My original plan was to hit the north side of North Bass, to check for those bigger perch, but word from another Captain said to go to D Can, so that's where we started. The marks were really good, but we couldn't get them going and left after an hour and half, with only 8 in the cooler. At that point I should have stuck to my gut, and went further north, but didn't, and went to known producing spots, instead.

I went back to the area between Rattle Snake and Green first, where I had done well in previous trips, and again...there were really good marks, but a poor bite. It seemed like every time I found a good pod, and set the Spot Lock on the trolling motor, the screen went blank. They would come and go, but when they came through, we could only get one or two at a time, so it was very slow and agonizing for me. It was very frustrating.

I told them, that if the bite turned on later in the morning, that I would keep them out, if they wanted, but Grandpa said, "No, that's okay, we'll head back around 11:30-12 O'Clock, if that's okay, we need to get back", and I said, "Of course". 

We tried 5 different spots on our way back towards Catawba, with the same experience in each spot. The best spot was where I have been several times SSW of Green in 28' of water.

Andy was doing better than Grandpa Gene and Drake, who would only catch a couple, each, while he and I caught the rest. We were allowed 120, but only ended up with only 24 for our efforts.

It was just one of those humbling days. I'm guessing that the full moon, and the clear sky at night, didn't help matters, and that the fish probably turned on mid to late afternoon...but, that doesn't help when your trips are scheduled in the morning.

They were patient, and stayed positive, so that helped....and, it was a good time in the boat, even though the bite was poor. Gene said he still wants to come back to do walleye, so I told him the best time to come back this fall. He's looking forward to that, and so am I.

On a personal side note... Several times, when Gene would turn his head a certain way, he looked just like my Dad, who I lost in May 2022, so it made me smile and warmed my heart. It was like I was fishing with my Dad again. :)

I don't have any trips scheduled from now until September 6th/7th, so it might be awhile before I'm blogging again, unless I get a trip before that. Fingers crossed!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Dan and Troy Boan... 8/23/2023

by Capt Juls on 08/23/23

Dan had contacted me, to schedule a Walleye trip, but after seeing what the wind was going to do today, I called him yesterday, to tell him that where we had to go for walleye would be too rough. I didn't want to take them to Lorain, because I hadn't been over there in about a month, and wasn't going to take them for a long, rough, boat ride, for a bite that may or may not exist, where I was thinking it might. "I'm not going to take your money on a guess...and, it's going to get rougher as the morning goes on," I said.  "If you want to go perch'n over here by the islands, I would love to take you," I added.  He was receptive to that idea, and we made plans to meet at Catawba at 6:15, this morning.

I left the house at 4:30, so I could get over to Hi-Way Bait before they opened, just in case another early crowd gathered... but, that didn't happen. There were only two others there with me, when it opened at 5am.  The scoops were mostly Goldies, but they were a good size, and mixed with a few small Emeralds. 

I headed down to Catawba after hitting the gas station, looking for some Cheetos, but they were out...deep sigh.  I got to the ramp at 5:30, so I had 45 minutes to waste before my crew was expected. Luckily, they showed up 15 minutes early, so we launched a little after 6am, and headed back to my spot just SSW of Green. 

Normally, it would have been in 27-28 feet of water, but because of the NE blow we had all day yesterday, the lake level was up on this end, and that spot was now 30 feet deep. However, it was still holding fish in the area, and the Helix showed some good marks.

I deployed the Minn-Kota, and hit the Spot-Lock, to anchor us over them.

"I usually give it 20-30 minutes, before moving," I said. "It's almost 6:30 now, so if we don't get something going by 7am, we'll move". Then, I added the usual bet of "First yellow in the boat wins a dollar". And, just as I said that, Dan set the hook on a fish, and exclaimed, "I'm in!". Ha! Unfortunately, he lost it before it got to the surface. So, Troy and I still had a chance. 
Then, Troy set the hook, and again, he lost it his, too.  About a minute later, I said, "Winner-winner chicken dinner," and put the first perch in through the Catch-Counter. :)

It wasn't a fast bite, and like my last trip out, we were missing a lot of bites. Thankfully, the perch were in the mood for Goldies, even though I had brought along some frozen Emeralds to use too. We were using one of each on a two hook crappie rig, and figured we would let them tell us which they liked better, but it seemed to be a 50/50 split on flavor.
They did seem to like littler offerings, than big minnows on the hooks, so picking out the little minnows, or splitting the bigger ones in half, was the ticket for us.

We caught our 3-person limit in about 5 hours, so it wasn't a fast bite. They would come and go, but didn't stay away long enough to get me thinking we needed to move, and we stayed in the same spot from start to finish.

Dan, and his son, Troy, had a good time, and did a great job. Troy is looking forward to making a nice fish fry for his Grandparents when he gets back home, and that makes me happy!

Looks like some very not weather tomorrow with thunderstorms expected. Be careful out there. 

I'm not back out until next week, unless someone is looking to do a perch trip, and the weather behaves.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Steve and John... 8/16/2023

by Capt Juls on 08/16/23

Told my customers, Steve and John, that we would be doing a later start this morning, due to some north winds early this morning, so I picked them up at 9:15, and we headed to Catawba to launch. We were going perch'n. 

I had woken up at 4am, got dressed, grabbed the dogs, and headed to Hi Way Bait to grab some Emeralds, before they had a chance to run out. The shiners were on the larger size, so we would be splitting them in half, to use on the hooks. I figured 6 scoops would be enough, and if there were leftovers, I could just freeze them, to use at a later date. (We only used 3 scoops, so I covered them in Wintergreen rubbing alcohol, and they are in the freezer.) :)

I hadn't been out since July 31st, with my friends, but I kept seeing people on Facebook doing well on the perch, while we were gone, so I was positive we would be able to catch some today. 

We launched at 9:45 and were over the spot I was at on July 31st, (SW of Green in 27' of water), and found the Helix showing peachy looking fish marks down below, so I hit the Spot Lock on the Minn-Kota, and let it settle in, while I got Steve and John all situated and set up, to fish.  John took the seat in the bow, and Steve took the passenger seat, while I fished out of the back of the boat.

We had a bet on the first yellow to come in the boat, but both John and Steve were set up and fishing, before I even got a line in the water. But, as luck would have it, I managed to catch the first one. Woot! Woot! Neither paid up, but it doesn't matter, I was just happy there were yellows below us.

We had a nice steady bite going, and were at 25, I think, when another smaller boat was passing by, with three fishermen..so, I waved them down, and did the pointing thing, silently telling them that there were fish below us, so they slowed down and set up about 15 yards away.  They started catching, too.

We were having fun, and were feeding as many as we were catching, if not more. Boy, they sure are good at stealing minnows!

It took about 2 1/2-3 hours to get our 90 perch...I didn't really keep track of the time, that closely, because it really didn't matter how fast we finished. We were just out having fun. :)

By the time we left, the other boat was slowly sliding over,  closer to our spot, and shouted out a, "Thank you!" when we left.  I gave them a silent salute, and a thumbs up, and we headed in.

I called Port Clinton Fish Co, but they were loaded up, with an already 2 1/2 hour wait, with 12 people in line, and there was no guarantee my guys could get their fish before the morning, so they loaded their catch in a cooler, and headed back to Chicago.

Steve will be back at the end of September, and John may be with him, but he had to check his schedule first.

I don't have a lot booked for August yet, but it looks like it's going to blow for the next two days, anyway, so I'll be rendering all the tomatoes my garden grew while I was on vacation, and making some salsa, pizza, and spaghetti sauce tomorrow. 

My next scheduled trip isn't until next Wednesday, so I may or may not have trips pop up before that. It all depends on these wacky winds.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Barry and Dave... 7/28/2023

by Capt Juls on 07/28/23

Got up early, to get some coffee in me, and hang out with the animals, before heading off to go perch fishing, with two fellas from Indiana. 

I was meeting them at the White Caps Motel at 5am. Barry said he would just follow me, to the launch. I told him we were stopping at the gas station and Hi Way Bait, before heading to Catawba, to launch. "No problem", he said. "I'll just follow you". 

Thankfully, Hi Way had their tanks full of Emerald Shiners, this morning, so I picked up 6 scoops. We only needed three scoops. But, I'd rather have some left over to freeze, or feed to my porch critters, than not have enough. :)

When we headed out of Catawba, we were greeted with a lightening horizon, and just a ripple over the surface of the lake. It was beautiful. What little wind there was, was out of the SSW....less than 5mph.  The air temp was 78 degrees at 5:30AM, already, and it was supposed to get very hot today. I wanted to find some perch and get done before it got hot and muggy out there.

As it turned out, it only took about 15 minutes of searching, before I set up the Spot-Lock over what looked to be a nice school of perch... SW of Green, in 28 feet of water. 

I got the men in their perch fighting seats and set them up with towels, pliers, and minnows. They had brought their own perch rods. "Cool", I thought. "These guys must know how to catch perch."...I smiled. Thinking to myself, "I hope that is a school of perch down there, and I hope if they are, that they are biting!" I wanted these guys to have a good morning.

"Dollar for the first yellow?", I asked. Dave said, "I'm in." Then, laughed, pointing back at Barry, and says, "Just so you know....Barry won't pay out, if you win!" To which Barry laughed, and said he would. Which reminds me...Barry caught the first yellow perch...but neither of us paid him. Oops! I meant too, and then I got distracted, and forgot to...sorry, Barry! :(

We didn't have to move once we set up, and the bite got better after about 20 minutes, and became a slow/steady bite...but, not too slow. We had our 90 by 8:45. The fish would come in waves. We would go through a flurry of catching, and then it would slow down again...then, pick up again.

It was a fun morning, and the company, and conversation, were great. Dave likes to sing... and, he knew all the songs on my playlist, so he was singing along to all the songs, keeping himself, and me, entertained. I doubt Barry could hear him, while sitting up on the bow...and, he was busy catching perch, up there. 
We are close in age, so they grew up with the same songs, that I did. 

Barry and Dave were happy to be done early, so they could get back home, to do "Home Stuff". :)

I don't have anything scheduled now until we get back from our Canadian Adventure. 

But, I might go perch'n with friends...we shall see. 

Stay tuned....

Be safe....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Jeff, Andy, and Eric... 7/25/2023

by Capt Juls on 07/25/23

Jeff, his son Andy, and their friend, Eric, met me at the Best Western Hotel at 4:30AM. We hit the gas station for gas and ice, before heading back over to Vermilion to launch. Being a Tuesday, I figured the ramp wouldn't be as busy as it was on Saturday morning, at 5:30AM. I was right, we were the only ones at the launch at 5:15, so launching was a breeze.

Wait...wait...wait....let me tell you how my morning started.

As many of you know, my dog Alfie was supposed to have his balls....sorry, he was supposed to be neutered, this morning.  And, like a dumbass, I did my normal routine, where I give him, and Dexter, a milk bone or two, while I sip my coffee, out on the back deck. 
It was only after he ate them, that I remembered his appointment. They are not allowed any food from midnight, the night before. They had to reschedule him to the end of September, because that's the soonest date open.

I'm sure he's the happiest of boys now, even though he had no idea what was about to happen to him. 
He's also wearing a cone, for a flea problem he had, that has been dealt with, and just needs some healing time.  So, with all that going on....I'm glad he didn't have to endure that, too. 

Walk out the door to go fishing....leave my pup behind with a big cone on his head, and a dog door he can't get through.  I take a deep breath, and just keep going. I have to go fishing... I have customers waiting.

Back to Vermilion....:)

We launched at 5:15, and headed out of the river, in the dark. A couple of boats, from up river, idled past the dock we were sitting at, as we waited on Jeff, who was parking the truck and trailer.

We followed them out of the river, but both of them went west, at the break wall...we turned east.  Off we went, to the ENE (about a 1/2 ride), and back to where I was the last time over there.  There were still fish out there, but not in the numbers that were there this past Saturday.

I had a novice crew today. They mainly shore fish, but have gone on charters in the ocean, and fished by kayak. So, this was a learning trip for them. "I've always wanted to fish Lake Erie, so my wife found your website, and said, "Why don't you call her?", so I did," Jeff said. So, I'd like to thank Jeff's wife, for the referral. :)

I explained, how the dipsey is designed to dive, by securing the "mechanism", as I call it, and will rise when the mechanism is released. I explained that it always needs to go out with the "clicker" on (tension button), so it doesn't go down too fast.

And, when checking a dipsey, that hasn't been tripped, but the line angle has changed...the mechanism will need to be  triggered. I tell them, they will have to pout their "Thumb on the spool, and give it a quick flick of the wrist...with some, 
"Umph! You'll feel it release," I say.   I continue, "A fish will drag for a long time, unless you check it every 5 minutes...so, we'll be checking them a lot." 

Andy learned quickly, and was very helpful in checking and setting lines. So, he got promoted to "Honorary First Mate", for the day.

We had two dipsies off each corner. The inside rod was running at zero and set at 40 back on the port side, and at 51 on the starboard side. 

The outside rods, ran dipsies on the three setting at 70 and 80 back, to start. 

Yeck, and BadMo Arrow spoons started the morning off. I just used the same colors that worked out there the last time. They were still working.

We changed up colors, now and then, and would get hit on those too, so I don't think color mattered much. Other than the Sheephead really like pinks. 

We went through a lot of shorts, Sheephead, White Bass, and White Perch to get our 19 keeper walleye. The size of fish was all over the place. From this year's hatch, to 24 inches.

Bandits ran behind Off Shore boards on both sides of the boat. The port side ran Chrome Barbie, Pooh Bear, and Blue Shiner...105, 85, and 65, respectively.

Perch, Glare, and Blue Shiner ran on the starboard side at 120, 97, and 70, respectively. 

We had some tangles this morning, like I've never seen, and the biggest one was my mistake.  The line was so twisted....I knew exactly what happened.
When I was letting a Bandit out, and went to put the board on the line, I didn't feel the pull, that I would normally feel....and, I looked out there, to see if it was on the surface with the line around the hook...just twisting away. But, I didn't see it. I tugged one more time, and it felt like it was pulling, so I put the board on, and sent it out to the outside position. I had a nagging feeling I made a mistake, that would cost me, but I left it out there. Big mistake. lol

Needless to say, my suspicions were right...I should have brought it back in, and checked it. But, I didn't...I was busy. Oops!  So, let that be a lesson to all of you...if you suspect something, it's better to check, than deal with the consequences of the wrong decision.

My crew had a good time, and were happy with the morning, so that makes me happy!

I'm not scheduled for the rest of the week...and, later next week, my friend, Jen, and I, are headed for Meta Lake Lodge in Ontario, for a little fishing vacation of our own. Her husband Matt is going to watch the dogs for us, while we are away. I can't wait to get up there, and fish for Pike. It's a magical place. :)

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with the Houghton Family... 7/22/2023

by Capt Juls on 07/22/23

Picked the Houghton men up at the Walmart parking lot at 4:45, hit the Speedway for the usual stuff, and drove over to Vermilion to launch. When we arrived at the launch, there were 5 or 6 boats in line, ahead of us.

The forecast for the day was calling for sunny, with wind out of the NW at 5-6mph, and an air temp of 80-something. As perfect a morning, that one could ask for...other than asking for a light, southerly, wind direction. ;)

We launched and headed out to the ENE for about a 1/2 hour ride. It looked nice and flat on the water's surface, but the residual rollers from last night's winds kept us from going very fast.

The Helix started showing some good marks below, so we stopped. The Minn-Kota was deployed, and the baby Merc fired up...a course to the north was set on the Terrova, and the baby Merc pushed us along at 2.3-2.5 GPS.  
I don't have a Fish Hawk report, because it wouldn't work this morning. I put fresh batteries in both the unit and the probe, and still nothing but dashes on the screen. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I put it away, and went "old school" on it. 

As we trolled north, I would vary the direction from time to time, to see if the bite was better, one way, or another. It mattered. As it turned out...they liked the easterly troll the best. It was non-stop after that turn to starboard.

But, I get ahead of myself....

We set up with the dipsies first. Bill had limited knowledge of them, and the boys didn't have any, but they caught on really quickly on how to retrieve a fish, and set them back out again.  Orion was fine with letting his big brother be first mate, and doing all the setting, while he took the seat in the bow...where he would call out when a fish was on....that is, until it was his turn to reel one in again, which kept him busy, going from the back of the boat, to the front of the boat. 

Dipsey settings were the usual for deep water:
Zero setting at 40 and 50 back
Three setting was at 70 and 80 back to start, but the 70 was eventually lowered to 80, too.

Bandits ran behind Off Shore boards...
The port side ran Chrome Barbie on the outside at 97 back, Pooh Bear at 75, and Blue Shiner at 65.

The starboard side ran Perch at 130 back, Glare at 85, and Blue Shiner at 70 back.

All colors and depths caught fish this morning, but the spoons out-fished the cranks, once again. Yeck and BadMo Arrow spoons were preferred over the Stinger and Scorpion spoons, this morning, for some reason. I changed them out for a couple more Yecks, and it was fish after fish. :)
"Confusion" was a hot Yeck spoon, morning. The green/black/sliver Arrow caught too, but the Sheephead really liked that one, too.

I had a Ripplin Redfin out for a little bit, but it didn't catch anything, so it didn't stay out long.

Orion had never caught a walleye over 16 inches, so when he reeled in a nice 5-6 pounder he was all smiles!  And, I was all smiles!  It's been a while since I've had this nice of a grade of fish in the boat. It was nice not having to deal with all the little fish, like we do by the islands.  We didn't catch any shorts today. But, the Sheephead and White Bass were plentiful, and kept us busy in-between Walleye bites.

I don't know what happened to the morning, that the weatherman was talking about, because after the beautiful sunrise we got to witness, the sky to the west, turning dark gray, and showing a rainbow. So that meant it was raining...and, coming our way.

"I didn't know it was supposed to rain this morning...none of the apps predicted this one," I said. After taking some photos of the rainbow, while my guys reeled in, and netted fish, I dug out a raincoat for Orion to wear. The older two didn't mind getting wet, and I had a lightweight one on, from our drive out, so I was okay, too.

The fish kept coming....and coming, and coming. It was so much fun!

We had our 24 by 8:30.

The ride home was upbeat, and full of giggles....just a perfect morning. :)

I'm off for the next two days, but will be back out on Tuesday, for another trip. 

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing with Mike, George, and Robin...July 20, 2023

by Capt Juls on 07/20/23

I called Hi-Way Bait last night, before I went to bed, to make sure they would have Emerald Shiners available this morning, and talked to DJ. He said, "I hope so...it will depend on what we can get tonight". Meaning, they were going out to net some minnows. He said they were headed 70 miles east, to find them.  Then, he said, "I'll text you at 4:15 tomorrow, and let you know if we got them". "Okay," I said, "That will work". 

He let me know they have fresh shiners, and I should stop on out...so, I did. 

I had them put 5 scoops in a zip-loc bag, that I put on ice, and another 4 scoops in a new live bait cooler/bubbler thingy. And, later, I'll tell you why I will never have one of those on my boat ever again. lol

But, first, let me introduce you to my crew. Mike Shepperson, fishes with me a couple times a season, and has been for the last several years. I'm not exactly sure how many years it's been, but it's at least 5 or 6 years, now.  He brings different people every time he comes, and shares his love of fishing with them.  This time, he brought his friends, George and Robin, who are fishermen, themselves, so it was an easy morning.

They had scheduled a walleye trip for today, but I asked if they would mind if we went perch fishing instead, because where I wanted to walleye fish today, would have been pretty rough. After telling him that the perch fishing was pretty easy right now, and what the conditions to the east would be, it was an easy decision for them.

We first set up on some marks close to Mouse Island, but that didn't pan out. Even though there were marks on the Helix, nothing was biting there. After 15 minutes there, we picked up and moved north to deeper water.

I hit the Spot Lock, over 34 feet of water, near South Bass Island. That area had the best marks I have seen on the Helix in a long time. I was hopeful. "How about a dollar bet, on the first yellow?", I asked.  "Sounds good to me", said Mike. Robin and George were in too.  I find that, that usually gets people to focus a little harder, right off the bat. :)

After some missed bites, some Sheephead (which seemed to like Robin the best), George caught the first yellow perch, and the skunk was out of the box! The bite picked up to a steady bite for a couple of hours, and then slowed way down again, at around 9:30. It would take an hour to get their last 30, of their 3-man limit. We were done at 10:30

George would end up winning the bet on catching the last fish, too, for a winnings total of a whopping 6 dollars. :)

It was a fun morning for everyone. Except for....

When the three pleasure boats came by, and threw a big wake, which ended up toppling over my live bait cooler from the front deck, to the step....dumping the entire contents of water and shiners all over the floor in back. You can imagine my dismay at seeing all those shiner scales all over my clean floor. Arrrrggghhhh.....stupid pleasure boats. I will never be using one again, since the minnows in the Ziplock (on ice) does the job, too. Besides, the minnow dies when you rip them in half anyway, so why bother keeping them alive?  They don't lose their scales when they are in a bag, with no water, and on ice.  

Tomorrow, I'm off, but have a walleye trip on Saturday. The wind looks very good for Saturday, right now, so my fingers are crossed that it stays that way.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with the Franklin Family... 7/17/2023

by Capt Juls on 07/17/23

I was supposed to meet my crew at Mazurik's at 5:30. The Franklin family were driving in from Mansfield, OH. I left the house at 4:30, so I could stop, and top off the gas in the boat, get ice, and hit Hi-Way Bait for some crawlers (just in case). I wanted to get to Mazurik's, with enough time to be by myself, for the last half hour,  before they were to show up. 

Mark had texted me at 4:45 and said their ETA was 5:10. I just smiled...oh, well...so much for the alone time.  They were already there, when I arrived at 5:06. "It's much better to be early, than late", I reminded myself. 

We waited to launch. The sky was cloudy, smokey, and dark. Sunrise isn't until around 6:13, right now, so we had a lot of time.  

I readied the rods with Bandits on the starboard side, and Reef Runner Mag 44s, on the port side.  

I left the spoons on the dipsey rods, that I ended up using last, on the last walleye trip. A blue/chrome Stinger, a blue/silver-hammered Scorpion, an "Orange Crush" Yeck, and a green/black/silver BadMo Arrow spoons.

We started out in front of Cedar Point, in 35 feet of water, and trolled with the waves, in a zig-zag, to the Canadian border, kind of line. We were marking fish the entire way, but they were all very deep. We tried everywhere in the water column, and caught fish....just not all walleye, and not consistent enough for it to be a pattern. 
The spoons outfished the cranks today, by a long shot.

Bandits ran behind the Off Shore boards, at 110, 85, and 60 back, to start. We caught a nice eater on the original "Blue Shiner", at 60 back. But, that would be it for the Bandits, for the rest of the morning.

Speed was 2.1-2.3 on the Fish Hawk, and 2.4-2.6 GPS.

The Mag 44s were set at 90, 70, and 50 back. The Mags didn't produce anything, so they were changed up to Flicker Minnow 11s. The first one out was, "Pooh Bear" at 90 back. Before I could get the board on the second one, that first one loaded up with a nice fish.  I thought to myself, "Well....maybe they wanted Flicker Minnows. Fingers crossed!"  We set all three boards out, and watched them get washed for a while, before I would decide to put some crawler harnesses on.
We had one hit on the harnesses, using three oz inlines, at a speed of 1.9mph. That fish hit on it at 62 back. We lost it.
The crawler harnesses would be replaced with Spro Madeye 120's, and the speed turned up again. The port side was changed up a lot this morning. The Bandits on the starboard side, would just be changed out for different colors, and depths. 2oz snap weights were used at 50/60, 50/30, and 50/20....nothing.

Dipsies, with the zero setting, were set at 30 and 40 back. The three settings were at 45 and 65, to start.  Eventually, they were dialed in to 40 and 50, on the zero setting, and the three settings at 70 back.  
Spoons caught a lot of fish to keep them busy, but unfortunately, there were a lot of Sheephead, small walleye, and a white bass in the mix. 

We only put 8 eater walleye in the cooler this morning. It was a tough walleye bite for us, today. 
If all of the Sheephead had been walleye, we would have been done early. 

My crew did great. Alyssa, had never caught a walleye before, and now she can cross that off the "To Do Yet" list.  She caught on to the procedures of setting and retrieving dipsies, and perfectly bringing in the fish with the "Lift and Back Up" technique. She told her Dad, that they should get some dipsies and spoons for their boat, and he agreed. 
He's not a troller, but I think we may have given him the itch to go shopping for some trolling gear. Ha! 

Anyway....everyone had a fun, even though it got rough up there from time to time, and it was hard for them to move around the boat. Claudia was smart. She hopped in a seat and stayed there...perfectly content, until it would be required of her, to reel in her own fish. It got easier for Mark, when I told him to take his shoes off, because he would have better balance. "Don't worry", I said, smiling..."I don't have any hooks on this floor".  He removed them, and was able to move around the boat easier. Alyssa is a natural. She has good balance,  common sense, and can easily remember directions...giving her the honorary title of, "First Mate", for the morning. :)

I'm off tomorrow and Wednesday, unless I book a perch trip....otherwise, I will be back out again on Thursday, for another try at walleye, with one of my regulars, Mike Shepperson, and his crew....weather permitting. :)

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with the Chapman Family... 7/14/2023

by Capt Juls on 07/15/23

This morning, I took long time customers out for some perch'n. Luke, is 4 years old, and it's the first time on Lake Erie. Thankfully, the lake was behaving, and it was a beautiful calm day.

We got on the perch in the first spot, but it started slow...then, picked up to a steady bite. Luke was the absolute best boy on the boat, and didn't fuss or whine, and was focused on the activities. He also like to touch the fish as they came in.

We caught 95 perch before calling it quits to go in and get something to eat, before they headed home to Columbus.

He lasted 4 hours, which is three hours longer than I thought he would last. lol

It was an awesome morning!

Sorry for the short report, but I have lots to do.

Next trip is a walleye trip scheduled for Monday...I'm off this weekend.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing Day 2 with Bill and Max Claassen... July 12, 2023

by Capt Juls on 07/12/23

I wasn't going to write a report, because of the late start today, but it wasn't a usual day, so I wanted to share it.

The bad news is, there is a missing young man in the lake right now. His last known location was at the 36/53 line (near F Can). He went overboard last night around 10:45/11PM, and didn't surface. I don't know any details beyond that.

When we arrived at Catawba this morning, there was the Sheriff's truck, and boat trailer in the lot, along with two other squad cars, that I assume were out there with him...searching.

The USCG had their orange helicopter out looking, and that big C1 airplane (is that what it's called? I forget). That big plane that flies so slow, that it looks like it could just fall out of the sky...that one. The USCG also had one of their boats out near South Bass, too.

I listened to channel 16 the entire time I was out there, and as of 2pm, when we got off the water, he still had not been found.  So, if anyone reading this is going to be near that area, please keep an eye out for him. If you have Side Scan on your unit...use it. It may just find him.

He's 21 years old and wearing a white t-shirt, and khaki shorts.

I hope they find him soon, so his family and friends can get some closure. 

Fishing Report:

It was rougher than expected this morning. It was 1-3s on the west side of islands, so we headed up to the "Triangle", between the islands, to see if there were any fish up there, and to fish more protected water. I didn't want Bill to be uncomfortable, again.

We set up at the south end of Middle Bass, and trolled north, over 31' of water. 

Mag 44s ran behind the Off Shore boards on both sides at 50-90 back. Blue Chrome, black/gold, and purple glass perch. 

Dipsies were running on both corners again, and ran on the usual zero and three settings. I like those settings, because it is less likely to cause tangles, with that kind of separation. :)
Zero settings were at 30 and 40, and the three settings were at 65 and 70. Yeck, Scorpion, Stinger spoons ran on three rods, and the black/gold Ripplin Redfin ran on the 4th. 

Speed was 2.2 on the Fish Hawk and 2.3-2.5 GPS/SOG.

We made one long ass pass, from there, to around the north side of Rattlesnake...down the front side of Green, and down to the F Can area. 

We caught a fish here and there, but the the most productive areas were east of E Can to F Can, and F Can to Catawba.
The bite got better the shallower we got. The bite picked up over 27 feet and kept going and getting better as we entered into 24 feet.  We also had a lot more shorts to deal with there, too. The eaters were nicer, however, so dealing with all the shorts was worth it.

One Mag44 was running on the starboard outside board at 60 back, and the "IB Infected" Bandit (DJ Custom Eye Lures creation) was running at 65 back.

On the Port side, two "Blue Shiner" Bandits (original blue shiner color/stock) at 70 and 80 back.

All of those caught multiple fish.

The dipsies were brought up to:
zero setting: 27 and 30
three setting: 43 and 47

The black/gold RR was replaced with another Yeck spoon.

Copper backs were best today. "Confusion" was a hot one.

We put our three-person limit in the cooler, but did a lot of catching today. We went through tons of shorts, one cat, several sheep, and a few white perch....oh, and two yellow perch, to get the 18 eaters, so it was a lot of work, today.

Water temp is 75.5 at F Can right now.

I'm going to cut this short, because my pup is climbing all over me, while I'm trying to write this, and wants to play....so, I must go play before I go to bed.

Tomorrow is the same crew....not sure what the plan is yet. I'll decide that in the morning, when I know what the winds and forecast are.

Stay tuned.....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Bill and Max Claassen... July 11, 2023

by Capt Juls on 07/11/23

Bill and Max Claassen, drove in from Iowa yesterday, to fish three days with me. I picked them up at the Best Western at 5:15, and headed to the gas station on the west side of town. I had already gassed the boat and truck up the afternoon before, at another gas station, that saved me money.  I only needed ice for the coolers, so it was a quick stop.

We went to Mazurik's, to launch. We were in the water, and on our way back to where I fished yesterday, by 5:45. The sun was just peaking over the horizon, as we rode north, showing us what a blazing orange fiery ball it was going to be this morning. It was spectacular...the camera didn't do it any justice at all. 

When we reached the line, the Terrova was deployed and the baby Merc fired up. They steered and pushed us along at a speed of 2.3-2.5mph. Once the Fish Hawk was set down to depth, it showed a speed of 2.2mph. It was time to set the dipsies.
We ran the same program as yesterday, with the dipsies set on the zero and three settings. 
The zero settings started at 40 and 50 back, but the 50 was less active, so I raised that one to 36 back, and put a gold/black Ripplin Redfin on, and it did better than the spoon at 50 back. The three settings were running at 65 and 70 back, and both were productive.

We caught a bunch of shorts this morning too, along with some Sheephead, and one White Bass.

It wasn't rough when we headed out, but it got rougher as the morning progressed. Just 1-3s with some 4s thrown in for good measure, from time to time, so not too bad, but, it was a little too rough for "Papa", because he started feeling seasick. 

When we put their 12th keeper walleye in the cooler, I asked, "Do you want to move down south where it would be a little less rough, and try for those last 6? Or, would you like to go in?" Bill asked Max, "Max, what do you want to do?", and Max replied with the usual reply of... "It doesn't matter to me, whatever you want to do". Without hesitation, Bill turned to me and said, "We can go in".  So, we packed it up and headed in.

It was a short day, today, but they still had a lot of fun, and are looking forward to going out again tomorrow. However, I will not be going back up to the line with the east winds that are forecast, (12-13mph...1-3s again), and will take them to the west side of the islands for a bit of protection, and smaller waves. I was over there three days ago, and managed to catch some keeper walleye, so I know we can put some in the cooler tomorrow, too. We just have to dodge some early morning scattered thunderstorms first, I think. At least, that's what the TV Weatherman just said on the news, at noon. 
It might be a later start in the morning...I won't know until the morning, though, when I can look at my radar, and see what's headed this way.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls