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

Fishing with Steve and Jeremy Chapman 3/21/19

by Capt Juls on 03/22/19

I wanted to go out of Turtle Creek, so I had Steve and Jeremy meet me at my house and we rode over there together. We launched at 8:45 and found a foggy lake waiting for us. It was gloomy and misty on shore, but it wasn't that foggy, so it was a little surprising to see thick fog on the lake itself.

I turned the navigation lights on, and set out to find some fish. The Helix wasn't marking much near shore, or out by Locust Reef, so we headed south towards the cans, where I fished during the previous outing. It was a slow ride down, and we were straining our eyes for any silhouette of a boat that might pop up in front of us. We could only see about 100 yds in front of us at times, and other times, we could see 1/4 mile or more. It was very patchy fog.

Anyway, we made it down to H can and set up with Bandits running unassisted at 75/85/90 back at 1.2-1.3mph.  The first fish bit, and was a nice female that we took pictures of and put back to swim another day.  Another fish came a short time later that was also photographed and sent back swimming, but it was a slow bite for us.  

A friend had texted me and said he launched out of Turtle shortly after us, and had caught his first one too. After about an hour he texted me again and said he had 7 in the box, had good marks, and the water clarity was perfect, so we made the decision to make the drive back up in the fog, towards the NW side of the reefs, and give it a try there.  Once we got up there, the Helix was showing much better marks, so we set up with the Bandits again at 65/75/80 back unassisted (no weight) at the same speed. 

Within 10 minutes of setting up, we caught our first fish...a nice eater. That one went in the box. The next one was another fat female that went 28 1/2 inches, so she got her picture taken and let go to do her spring fling thing for another season.
At some point, the fog cleared up and the sun came out, which was appreciated by all of us! 

I changed a depth to 55 on a couple baits, and we hit a triple of 2-3 pounders that went in the box too.  The hottest color for us is one called "Buck Fever". It's just a purple chrome bait that is just purple and silver...no color on the belly.  Pink Squirrel was another hot color for us.  I have heard reports of others saying that all green baits, or all white baits were the ticket for them. So, basically, these fish are hungry and if you put a bait in front of them...they are going to eat it. I don't think the color is going to matter very much at this point.

It was a nice day on the water, and fun to spend some time with two of my longest regulars that feel more like family than customers now. ;)

Friday is going to blow, but Saturday is undetermined at this point. My Saturday customer changed his date to the 31st, because of a marine forecast he saw yesterday afternoon, but this morning that forecast has changed for the better, so I'm not sure what we will find Saturday morning....weather wise yet.  I may or may not be fishing on Saturday, so my next trip out is Sunday with another Father/Son team from my home state of Wisconsin. 

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

First Day Back on the Water! Woot! Woot!

by Capt Juls on 03/19/19

I didn't have a guide trip today....well, I kind of did...let me explain.

I didn't have a scheduled trip, but I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and get the new Ranger out for a shakedown run, and try to see if I still knew how to catch some walleye for my trips coming up this weekend. ;)

I asked a young couple to go with me, so I could run more lines. Mark works in the produce dept of the local Kroger store, and his girlfriend Cassie works at "Waldo Peppers", a local restaurant with some pretty good food. Mark had run into me at the last place I did a seminar and mentioned that he had never trolled before...he was a "caster".  I had remembered when I talked to him at the store, that he mentioned that he had Tuesdays off, so I sent a text to see if he wanted to go...and, he did.

It was a fun morning west of Catawba. The wind was light out of the west to start, and died down as the day went on. It was switching though...at around 2pm it was coming out of the east for  a short time...then, it died again, and switched to the SW.  
 It was chilly early on, but when the wind died and the sun was out...it got warm. Then, if the sun disappeared, it felt about 5-10 degrees colder. I didn't know whether to put my warm hat on or take it off...it was a decision made several times today. lol

We ran P-10's  with 1 oz snapweights 25/25 and 30/30 at 1.0 to 1.2 mph to start... we caught 5 fish on those. In the afternoon, we switched to Bandits at 1.2-1.4mph with no weight at 75, 85, and 90 back. We caught 9 more with the Bandits, in much less time than it took to get the first 5 with the P-10's. We fished 25' of water with the p-10s and 22' of water with the Bandits....wink wink. ;)

The Helix wasn't marking a lot of fish at the Cans either. We would see a pod of fish, get a little excited and then... nothing. Then, see another small pod, cross our fingers, and then...nothing. Deep sigh.

I didn't make any runs to other areas, since I was just making sure everything was working as it should, and teaching my crew how to run the Off Shore inline Planers.  It was more about revitalizing my soul today than putting fish in the boat. And, today was a good day for that.  Of course, it's always better in flip flops...but, we're not there yet. 

Thursday, I'll be fishing with my regulars, Steve and Jeremy Chapman. They're always game for an adventure, so I'll be exploring a different area than today. ;)

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

The Lake Ice is Leaving...

by Capt Juls on 03/11/19

On Saturday, March 9th, 2019 there was ice on the lake, but not safe ice...which was the reason 46 of 146 ice fishermen had to be rescued off Catawba after a crack in the ice opened up and left some stranded.

100 of those were able to walk off the ice on their own, but the other 46 were not so lucky and were rescued by airboat and USCG helicopters.  

That night, big SW winds appeared along with some warmer temps and some rain. I took a drive around the lakeshore yesterday morning to see what the ice conditions were like, and was pleasantly surprised to find that there was open water for as far as I could see, west of the islands. 

A drive around Catawba island showed the same. Sure, there was floating ice out there, but for the most part the big sheets of ice were no longer in the passage or east of the bass islands. I'm sure there was still ice up in the triangle, between the bass islands and Green and Rattlesnake islands, as a SW wind would be pushing right in there.

This week, we are expecting above freezing temperatures, so hopefully that will help open up the ramps. However, I am not one to play with floating icebergs, so I won't be one of the first ones out there. We're still dealing with gusty winds, and when the water temps are what they are, I don't take chances just to make a buck or catch a walleye.  One mishap could mean someone's life at this time of year, and when I am responsible for my customer's lives, it's something I take very seriously. Besides, my dogs wouldn't understand why I never came home...and, that thought helps me make better choices. ;)

My first trip is scheduled for next Monday, but if the winds don't die down...it won't be until the following weekend...23/24.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

A Few More Weeks Yet....sigh

by Capt Juls on 02/28/19

After the big winds, warm temps, and rain we had over last weekend, I was hoping it was the end of the ice on the Western Basin, but the cold came back and so did the ice.  

The next warm up, that would melt ice, isn't forecast until around March 9th, if accuweather.com is to be believed, so if I have to pretend to have a crystal ball, I'm predicting it will be the third week of March before the lake is free of ice and the ramps are open.

I hope this spring is a case of "In like a lion and out like a lamb", because I'm sick of this cold and wind, and need to get some sunshine on my face again. lol

It won't be long now, so I'll be back to posting fishing reports very soon! :)

Trolling with the Ulterra and the E-TEC in Tadem...:)

by Capt Juls on 02/14/19

While I was out walking the Dexter Meister this afternoon, I received a message asking if I would Blog about how I use my Minn-Kota and my baby E-TEC together, to control my speed, direction, and the life of the batteries.

When I am trolling at a speed that needs to be above power level 5 on the Ulterra, I'll fire up the kicker, and lock it in the straight position.  

I'll set the Ulterra's power level to 4 or 5 and then watch the speed on my remote, as I adjust the kicker's RPMs to match the speed I desire. I'm now pushing the boat with the kicker and using the Ulterra for steering. At this point, I check the remotes speed with the Humminbird's SOG display, and make any adjustments as needed.

Typically, I know that on a good day the power 5 level will easily pull the boat along at 1.5-1.7 miles an hour...so, the dual motor technique is a tactic I use for anything over that speed. 

Wind, waves, and current will dictate my speed at any given time.  Depending on what direction I'm going in relation to the current I will either need to speed up or slow down. If you don't have a cool toy like the Fish Hawk, that reads the speed at depth, check the baits at the side of the boat to make sure it has the desired action you want. A slow wobble is what I want in the early spring when the water is cold. And, in the warmer summer waters, I want that bait just a wiggling like a wild little thing.

Paying attention to the changes of those elements, as they happen, can greatly improve your productivity on any given day. :)

Capt Ross Robertson wrote a very good article where he discusses speed/current/wind that you might like to read too.... (click the link below or copy/paste it in your browser's search bar)


The two motor set up also helps keep the batteries from draining too fast, and keeps the starting battery charged up....a win-win. :)

I saw some open water out there today as I walked Dexter, and it was much nicer to look at than a lake of ice, so I'm hoping it doesn't freeze up again. Sorry Ice guys...lol

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Available Spring Dates Right Now...

by Capt Juls on 02/10/19

Here are the available Spring dates I still have open as of this morning, if you're interested in booking a trip for a chance at a trophy walleye. :)

I'll update this post as the dates get reserved, and are no longer available.

April:  7, 14, 15, 21, 24, 26, 29, and 30

May: 1, 7, 10, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, and 30

Thanks, and have a great day! :)

Capt Juls

Just Thinking Out Loud...:)

by Capt Juls on 02/09/19

The Columbus Fishing Expo was this weekend, but due to a cold snap I was unable to leave the dog door open for the dogs, so I had to stay home.

Today, I was invited to an annual "Harness tying Party" at a friend's boat condo. We never get around to tying harnesses though, because it's basically just a get together with a dozen or so people who talk about their memories, boats, and all things fishy...while partaking in copious amounts of food and beverages. It's always a good time. 
I took Dexter with me, and he was showing off by being a good boy...:)
(Jill is getting too old for a concrete floor, so I let her stay home to lay on her comfy bed).

All the talk about fishing really has me fired up to get going again. But, there's still ice on the lake, and rivers raging with ice and mud, so it's going to be a little while yet, before we can get out.

The reservations are coming in now, and dates are filling up....but, there are still some early spring dates left March and April if you're looking to try and catch a trophy walleye. May has a handful of dates left open right now too.

The new 2019 Ranger was "broken in" before it iced up, so she's running great and ready to go as soon as the ice goes out!

Who else is ready for spring? :)

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fish ON! Dang...it's the outside board...Do I Clear the Inside Boards?

by Capt Juls on 02/06/19

Let’s set the stage: It’s a beautiful morning, the wind is light, there’s a beautiful sunrise happening, and there’s a small chop on the water, and I have great expectations for a good bite here on Lake Erie. I have new customers in the boat that have never fished with Off Shore inline planer boards before and are excited to learn.


My Off Shore Boards: I use the Tattle Flag system on mine. The front arm has the OR-18 black “Snapper” release on it, and on the back, I like to use the red OR-16 release. The Snapper has a toggling closure that allows me to use it two different ways, but I only use it one way, with the closure pushed down, to put the pin in the front of the line, keeping it from releasing until I take the board off. The OR-16 has a pin in the center of it, so when the line is put behind that pin it will not release from the line until I take it off. 


There are many different set ups used by many different people, and what works best for one person might not be the best for another person. The way that works best for you is the way to use them.  That’s why Off Shore Tackle has a plethora of release options to choose from.


I have used mine this way for 18 years, and it hasn’t let me down. Is it the best way? I don’t know, probably not. But, it works best for me. Will this work for you too? It most certainly will!


The first question from a novice board user is, “How do you bring in the outside board when a fish is on?” “I’ll show you”, I say. This is something that I’ve started doing, and it seems to work out pretty well.  Will it tangle with the other lines inside? Sometimes, but for the most part it’s tangle-free.


I’m usually running three boards per side and will try to run leads as short as I can. That means, if I have to run the baits deeper, I’ll use a “Guppie Snap Weight” on a crankbait, or a “Tadpole” on a crawler harness. By doing this, the outside board has less chance of tangling in the other lines when a fish is coming in.


For the sake of my story, picture the outside Off Shore board going back with the tell-tale sign of a big Lake Erie Walleye on the line. The board wiggles and falls back violently. I say, “Fish on! Let’s go…who’s up?” The next angler takes the rod from me, and I give these instructions:


“Point the rod tip to the other side of the boat…let that rod bend in half if it needs to, but just keep reeling nice and steady. Not too fast and not too slow.”


At this point, I move the middle board rod, and the inside board rod, forward to the next rod holder. This allows those two boards to move forward in the water a couple feet. It’s usually enough to allow the outside board to come in behind them. When the outside board has cleared the inside board, I have the angler straighten the rod up, and keep it at a 45-degree angle. At the same time, I tell him/her, “Now, move back between the driver’s and passenger’s seats, and keep the rod tip over my outside shoulder” … (meaning the shoulder on the side of the boat that the fish is coming in on).  When the Off Shore board is a few feet from the boat, I grab the line and start bringing the board up to me and undo the releases from the line in one smooth action, as the angler keeps reeling.  

Once the board is off, I have him/her move to the back corner and keep the rod tip pointed out to the side of the boat. This allows the fish to come up off the corner, where I can net it easily, instead of behind the boat where it can, and most often will, get in the motors.


More often than not, this procedure works well, but there are times when a fish just has evil intentions and decides to take a run at the other lines too, and it might bring in one or both with it. However, it doesn’t take long to untangle and reset the Off Shore boards in “Marching Soldier” fashion again.


Give this a try next time you’re out and see if it works for you too. One tip though, if you don’t keep that rod pointed on the opposite side of the boat and bent in half until you clear those other two boards, it will never work. That is the key!


I wish you all the best of luck fishing and hope you find this helpful!

If you're looking to learn how to run inline planer boards, a guided trip is a great way to shorten the learning curve.  I pride myself in being able to teach anglers how to run them, so that when they go home they will be able to take what I've taught them and use them confidently on their own outings.

I still have open dates from ice out to ice up, so if you want to book a trip, just give me a call or email me for open dates, and let's get you on the calendar now! The fishing will be fantastic this year...don't miss out! :)

Spring is on its way...woot! woot!

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Arctic Blast...What to do While Stuck Inside the House?

by Capt Juls on 01/30/19

All the talk right now is the Arctic Blast that's happening across the midwest. Here in Ohio today, it's no different. We're experiencing the below zero temps with gusty winds along with everyone else. So, what is there to do when you're stuck in the house?

If you're like me, and you have a "fishing room", now is the time to get in there and play with stuff. Organize it, and start looking at hooks that need to be replaced, or check your inventory of crawler harnesses and perch rigs that you can make to replenish your stock before the season starts.

My room was so full of old boxes from electronics, that I thought I'd better keep, that I couldn't even walk into the room without having to step over something, so I threw them all out.  Just like when I go through my closets to get rid of clothing I haven't worn in more than a year, I decided that I had no good reason to  keep boxes with little pieces and parts any longer either. I did keep the pieces and parts, because you know as soon as you throw them out, you're going to need one.

I put all the little pieces and parts in a small box and put it away in the closet. Will I ever need them? Probably not. But, it's better to have and not need than to need and not have. I just didn't need to have the big boxes sitting around anymore. Maybe next year I will clean that stuff out again, but for now there's room to store it.

The other day, I got in there and cleaned it all out. There was so much room in the closet after doing that, that I was able to clear the entire floor area in the room, and organize it nicely in the closet. Now, I can go in and watch a movie while piddling around with my creativity making harnesses and perch rigs, without the nagging feeling that I've become a crazy horder lady. lol

I know the next question you're going to ask...."How do you make your crawler harnesses?"  It's very simple. Here on Erie, for the harnesses I troll behind the Off Shore boards, I use two hooks....a #4 treble in the rear and a #4 singe hook in the front. For harnesses used behind bottom bouncers I like to use two single hooks.
I use 20# test Sunline Super FC, and attach a barrel swivel on the tag end, so if I don't want to switch out the snap to a snap-swivel on my mainline, I don't need to.

As far as beed colors go...I have a plethora of colors and just have fun creating different combinations. I like to use #6 Colorado blades the most often, but if there's a cold front, I downsize them to a #5.  I have found that during a Mayfly hatch they like the rootbeer colored beads along with a #4-#5 gold hammered hatchet blade.  

There are hundreds of blade colors out there now, but I feel most are to catch the fisherman rather than the fish. lol

I believe, the bottom side of the blade is the most important, since I feel that's what the fish see's more so than the front side. Am I right? Who knows...it's just my gut feeling. I'm not a walleye, and don't talk walleye, so I can't actually ask a fish what it sees. lol

Having all the color options available to use and figure out what they want best each day, is key.  Own all the base colors...gold, copper, silver....along with antiefreeze, pink antifreeze, chartreuse, pink, green, purple, and orange. That will give you enough to choose from without having to own a fortune in different fancy painted blades.  You'd be surprised how often you can get away with just using the three base colors, so if you don't want to spend a lot of money, just buy some gold, copper, and silver, and you should be okay.

Now that I can walk in my fishing room, I'm going to go spend the rest of the day going through some boxes of building stuff that need organizing...while hoping I make it through the next day and a half without my pipes freezing or the power going out. ;)

Stay warm everyone....and, have a great day!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Driving in "Big Water"...How I do it. :)

by Capt Juls on 01/23/19

I run the Ranger 621 FS, which is a 21’ 10” beauty, and is rated for up to 350Hp motors. My 621 is powered by a Evinrude 300 G2, which is more than enough HP to reach speeds up to the mid to high 50’s. I am not as concerned with top end speed as I am with the mid-range torque, since there are few days where I can open it up, due to lake conditions, and powering up a wave with ease, is what I’m most concerned with.


Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, and the Western Basin is the shallowest of the entire lake.  With shallower water, comes the dangers of boat handling when the wind blows. Unlike deeper waters, shallow water creates waves that are closer together, and peak higher with lesser winds. 


It’s important to have a boat that can handle the conditions that the lake can throw at you, and for this reason, I run a Ranger.  There is one thing that Ranger does better than any other boat manufacturer, and that is, they fill the hull cavity with spray foam to completely cover every nook and cranny, which would keep the boat horizontal in the water in the event that it was to ever to fill with water. Most boats will not do that.


Good boat handling in rough conditions will prevent you from ever having to find out if your boat will float or sink, if you’re unfortunate enough to find out.


When I first learned to run big water, it was out of a Ranger 620. My mentor told me something that I have never forgotten…”If you can feel it in your ass, the boat can too”. Which, basically means, if you’re beating yourself up, then you’re beating the boat up too.  No one wants to get back to shore and then have to spend hours fixing loose screws, getting the windshield fixed, or listening to your fishing partner swear at you for hurting their back!


Here are some tips I learned for running big water, that might help you too.


1. Do not hide behind the windshield, if you have one. Get up above it where you can “read the waves”. If you can see what’s coming, you can adjust your speed to accommodate it. I change out the original driver’s seat pedestal with one that is a little higher. On the days where I need a little more height, I fold the seat down and sit on the back of the seat.


2. Keep your hand on the throttle at all times. Unless you run a “hotfoot”, one hand should be on the steering wheel, and the other on the throttle. 

The best reason for keeping your hand on the throttle is for “driving”.

While you’re reading the waves, you will be on and off the throttle continuously driving through the waves.


If you simply pick a speed, you’re going to get into trouble, because not all waves are going to be the same. Now, throw in a few boat wakes from other boats, that turns the wave action into a “washing machine”. If you are not reading the waves, and using the throttle for what it was designed to do, then you will find yourself in trouble.


Power up a wave, let off on the throttle a little bit, and let that wave go under you, so that you don’t drop off the top of it, and fill the boat up with water at the bow, then power up the next one.


Even on the calmer days, I still drive with one hand on the throttle, because that one or two seconds it takes to take your hand from the wheel to the throttle could be the difference between safety and tragedy…ie: submerged log you spot at the last second.


A following sea is the most dangerous, but can be the easiest to run if you have a lot of patience. This is what I call “surfing”. Keep the motor trimmed down when running a following sea. This keeps the prop from blowing out, and keeps a grip on the waves.


Power up the backside of the wave, reduce speed on the top, so you can surf it, and then let the wave set you down on the wave in front of you.  If you run a following sea too fast, you run into the danger of putting the bow of the boat into the backside of a big wave. Not only will it basically stop the boat in its tracks, but it will fill the boat with water from the bow. Now, all those waves that were following you will be filling your boat from the back end too.  This is why it is imperative that the operator have a lot of patience and just enjoy the “surf” until he or she is safely back to port.


The smoothest ride you’ll find, when it’s rough, is “running the trough”, or between the waves. The boat will roll back and forth with the waves, but it won’t get pounded.


Becoming a great boat operator takes a lot of practice. And, with practice come confidence. Having confidence to know what to do when the conditions change for the worse, will get you back home safely. 


When I run my charter business, I usually don’t take customers out when the wave forecast is calling for anything over 3-4 footers. Reason being, most customers do not have the big water experience and will usually have trouble getting out of their seats. This is not fun for them, and it’s not fun for them, it’s not fun for me either. Fishing and boating is all about having fun!


The worst conditions I ever ran my Ranger in was during a tournament back in 2003 out of Dunkirk, NY on Lake Erie. Luckily, the lake is the deepest at that end, so the 7-10 foot waves were spaced much further apart than on the western end, and the 10-mile run back in was safely done. I seriously doubt any small boat could safely handle the same conditions on the Western end of the lake. 


It’s important to check the weather forecasts, and wave forecasts, before heading out, so you know what is coming in for the rest of the day, and prepare accordingly. 


With today’s advances in technology, there’s no excuse to not be prepared. And, always keep a plan in your mind throughout the day, as to what you will do if conditions change unexpectedly, and you need to find shelter from a storm.  Always, have a plan, and keep safety your number one priority when playing on the big water. 

Live to fish, and have fun, another day!



Dreaming of Spring....:)

by Capt Juls on 01/14/19

Lake Erie Spring Walleye Tactics


My first trip to Lake Erie was in the fall of 1999, when I was invited by one of the areas greatest walleye anglers, Rick LaCourse, to do a little night fishing out of Huron, OH. It was a balmy December night, with a light 5mph South wind, and the temperature outside was 60 degrees. There was a full moon lighting up a clear sky, that shimmered on the calm water, making it look like it was made up of diamonds.


The fishing was incredible, and the size of the fish astounded me at the time. I’m originally from Wisconsin, where the walleye fishing is also very good, but it was nothing like what I experienced here for the first time at Lake Erie. 


That night, we trolled with crankbaits behind Off Shore Tackle inline planer boards at slow speeds. The boards were lit up with glow sticks attached to the flags, so when a fish hit, it looked like a shooting star going back in the water.  Seeing a large walleye, with a mouth large enough to stuff a grapefruit in it, coming up behind the boat elevated my excitement to the next level. I was hooked! I knew then that Lake Erie was the place I wanted to fish forever.


A couple years later, I had had enough dreaming and made the move from Wisconsin to Ohio. I had quit my job as a color correction specialist in the pre-press dept of Reiman Publications, sold my house, and moved to Ohio to pursuit of a career in the fishing industry. With much work and dedication, I have achieved that dream by first fishing for many years on the Pro/Am walleye circuits across the country, as a journalist covering the tournaments for Walleye Central, and for the past 8 years as a guide on the Lake I love. Many of my sponsors have been with me through this entire adventure and are the ones responsible for making all my dreams possible. 


The first spring that I fished Lake Erie with Rick, he told me that they start by “ice fishing” out of the boat and then, by jigging with ice fishing baits. Then, as the water warms, they would start jigging with regular jigs, and then on to trolling with crankbaits.  This made me scratch my head, because it confused me that we could troll in the fall when the water was almost the same temperature, but we couldn’t troll in the spring when the ice went out. It didn’t make sense to me, so I asked him if we could try trolling instead of ice fishing out of the boat. Being the kind of guy, he was, he indulged me, and we put the crankbaits out.


Now, I’m not saying that I’m the first one to try this, because I’m probably not. I’m just saying that in the circle I was in at the time, it wasn’t done that way.  As it turned out, it was successful, and we never had to ice fish out of the boat again, which is something that made me very happy!


In the spring, the walleye spawn in the Western Basin of the lake, where there are plenty of reef complexes and rivers. This happens in late March and April as the water warms after a long winter. The opportunity to catch trophy sized pre-spawn and post-spawn fish is at its highest during this time, and several tactics to catch them can be used.


For those that like to jig the reefs, a 3/8oz to 1oz hair jigs (best used with stinger hooks) are often tipped with Emerald Shiners, or soft plastics, but can also be successfully used without bait or plastics. Color can matter, so having an assortment of colors available to you will better your chances of catching fish. Popular colors are Purple, Chartreuse, Orange, Pink, Blue, Green, and Black.


For those who like to troll, most anglers will start out with some popular proven crankbaits like the Smithwick Perfect 10 and Top 20’s (very similar to their earlier “Rogue” baits), Rapala Deep Husky Jerks (size 12 and 14), Bandits, Bomber Long A’s, Berkley Flicker Minnows (sizes 9 and 11)  and both the shallow and deep diving Reef Runner baits. I know other baits get used, and the list could be extended, but these are the baits I have used over the years and are the ones that I put in my boat each season.


I was taught that when the water is in the high 30’s to low 40’s, the fish are sluggish, so trolling very slow is key. A speed of .8 to 1.0 has always been recommended.  However, that’s not always the case. For instance, over the years, I would hear of someone trolling at much faster speeds, at the same time that I was trolling slow, and they were catching fish too. So, keeping an open mind and trying new things can make you a better angler and increase your catch rate.


If you’re marking fish, and not catching for some reason, it only takes a few minutes to try a different speed. Get radical and try a fast speed like 1.5 to 2.0mph, to see if it triggers any response from the finny critters below.  Sometimes, I’ll use the “Rabbit” feature on my Minn-Kota trolling motor to speed up the baits, and then turn it off again, to slow it down. My thinking is, it gives the fish something to react to and can sometimes make the difference between a slow bite and a fast bite.


Changing colors often, until one stands out from the rest is another tactic I use while trolling. Sure, I have my favorites that I start out with, but if they are not in the mood for those colors, I have a plethora of other colors to try until I find the ones, they like best. It’s a lot more work, but it’s worth it when the bite becomes steadier.


Boat handling is another tactic I use to improve the catch rate. To help find the right speed, I will make turns during my trolling passes to determine if they want the baits faster or slower.  When you make a turn using inline boards, the boards on the outside of the turn will be moving much faster through the water than the boards on the inside of the turn. If a fish hits on one side over the other, and it’s repeated so I know it wasn’t a fluke, I will slow down or speed up to give them what they desire.  


The most actively feeding fish will be higher in the water, and not always seen on the sonar picture, so I always like to have at least one bait up in the top 10 foot of the water column, just in case. It’s not uncommon to end up having all the baits running that high during the spring.

The walleye I see on my Humminbird’s sonar screen, that sit close to the bottom out on the flats, are usually in a negative mood, and will not usually eat a bait that is trolled by them.  


The walleye up on the reef complexes, that sit close to the bottom are fair game for the anglers who prefer to jig though.  While I prefer the trolling game, I will take customers out to the reefs to do some jigging if they want to. Sometimes, it’s fun to feel that bite at the end of the line and feel the weight of the fish as soon as it hits. I must say though, that a jigging trip is much more fun for my customers than it is for me, because I don’t get to fish when we are jigging. I just man the net for them. It’s not that I don’t know how to jig, or that I’m not good at it… I just wouldn’t want to chance catching a big one right out from under them and steal that opportunity for one of them to catch it. 


If the chance of catching a trophy walleye is on your bucket list, then I highly recommend a trip to Lake Erie’s Western Basin from March through the end of May. June and July have some tremendous fishing too, but as the water warms the bigger fish that migrated from the east end of the lake, have already headed back to their summer haunts by then. That’s not to say, that some bigger fish do not stay in this area, because it’s not uncommon to find a trophy walleye hanging around from time to time during the summer. But, if table fare is your desire, then June thru September is the time to come here.  The catching can be very fast during these months, when conditions are right, and a ton of fun! Come fall, until ice up, the big fish move back from the east and we start the process all over again.


If Perch fishing is more to your liking, then I recommend looking at August thru ice up for limits of the green and gold treasures.


Now is the time to book your Spring Lake Erie fishing Charter for a chance at a trophy walleye, so don’t procrastinate, or you might be left wishing you had reserved your date(s) earlier!



Fishing with Steve and Jeremy Chapman 1/4/19

by Capt Juls on 01/06/19

It was windy in the morning, so we planned to meet at Mazurik's at 10am when the wind was forecast to die down for the afternoon.  Steve and Jeremy, who I know you all know by now, since they have fished with me for the past 7 years, were just a few minutes late, so we were in the water a little after 10.

It was a bluebird sky, with winds dying down to around 15mph out of the SW. The forecast called for the winds to die down to around 5mph for the afternoon, and air temps to reach as high as 50 degrees. The water temp was at 34.9 degrees.

My original plan was to head east towards Huron, but found that the water was mud inside, and I didn't think it was going to clear up the further east we went, so I turned the boat and headed north from the Marblehead lighthouse to find cleaner water. It would have been nice to have the previous day's satellite picture, but with the shutdown the link on my website for the NOAA Modis satellite pictures wasn't in operation. 

We headed to the east side of Kelly's to start, and I marked some fish on the southvside of Airport Reef, so we set up with Bandits running 60, 80, and 100 back (no weight) on the starboard side and P-10's with 2oz weights run at 20/20, 30/30, and 20/50 on the port side.  We had one fish hit the P-10 20/50 shortly after setting up, and as soon as that one was in the net, the Bandit running at 80 back took a fish.

We thought with that quick bite it was going to be a slam fest, but just like that....then, nothing.  We trolled up along that reef in 37 foot of water for another mile or so, before picking up and running back down to make another pass through where we caught the first two.  We passed a boat that was making a southerly trolling pass near the same area, but deeper out.  So, after passing them, I turned the boat to get inside again, and set up a little further down from my original pass, and set up again.   

We picked another one up short of where we caught the first two, and as I was turning to cut along the south side of the reef to stay in the same depth, I noticed that other boat had turned back around and was headed north again. This time, they were cutting in and were going to block me from finishing that pass. They would have had the right of way, since they were on my starboard side, so we decided to pick up and make a move out to deeper water, to give them the line.

There were several boats out in deeper water, so we moved out to the 40 foot contour and marked some fish, but not what I usually like to see. While we were setting up, they asked that I make a call to Bays Edge Fish Cleaning to see what time they were open till, because they didn't want to take uncleaned fish home. Their plan was to fish until we needed to get fish over there. Unfortunately, they were only open until 3pm, so that was going to only give us a total of 4 hours of fishing.

After about 20 minutes fishing the 40' contour, I decided it might be better up on the north side of Kelly's, so we picked up and headed up there. Driving around we found some...not a lot...of marks on the SW corner of Gull Island Shoal, so we set up and made a northerly pass towards the west side of the shoal.  Zip...nada...nothing happening.  However, the up side was the lake was getting calm and the sun was shining, so nothing was going to ruin the good mood the boost of vitamin D was giving us!

Soooo....due to the fact that my back Humminbird didn't have the time set correctly, we were going off that to keep track of what time we had to go in. So, when we picked up to go in, and were on our way back, I picked up my phone to see who just texted me, and noticed the time difference. We still had another hour to fish! I showed Steve, and smiled....shaking my head.

I took them to the NW corner of Kelly's and we pulled the rods out again and set up in 38 foot of water, where there were some decent marks, and we picked up one more fish...biggest one of the day in fact...but, it was still just an eater. That one came on a black and gold Bandit at 100 back.  We tried different speeds throughout the day, and it was different for each fish. The first two came at 1.4-1.5, because I hadn't dialed the speed yet, because we were just setting up. The next one came at .9-1.0, and the last one came at 1.3 mph....go figure. lol

We headed in at the right time, this time, and got to Bays Edge just as they were turning off the lights, and they were nice enough to cut their 4 fish for them, so we waited there the 10 minutes it took him to clean them and bag them. Then, headed to Casa Las Palmas to get some good grub before they headed back to Columbus.

That evening, I got a message from a friend that had seen us on the east side of Kelly's and told me that they were out deeper than us in the 40 foot, and had caught their 3 man limit. (deep sigh) 
They had started several hours ahead of us and finished up later too though, so I think if I had had more time to work with, I may not have left that side to go find better marks and cleaner water. Oh well...that's the way it goes sometimes.

We had some fun in the short time we were out there, and that's all that matters. The "water therapy" was something the three of us really needed, and the day's weather made it a very enjoyable trip. :)

To be fishing out of a boat in January is always a good thing. I'm sure the ice fishermen would disagree, but I'm hoping we don't get any ice this year! Ha!

Until next time...

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Fishing the Day After Christmas 2018

by Capt Juls on 12/26/18

Woke up this morning, and went outside with the dogs for their morning ritual. I was greeted to a warmer than usual morning for the end of December. There was absolutely no wind, which made it feel warmer than it really was.   The morning started out at around 32 degrees, and was expected to get as high as 40 degrees.  

I wanted to go fishing.  I shot Kevin Swartz a text and asked if he wanted to go today. He did. We would be taking his boat for the trip, while mine stayed put over in the building she's tucked in at.

We hit Mazurik's boat launch around 9am and headed east out of the launch. We would be fishing the east side of Kelly's Island today.  We started a bit SE of the airport in 40 foot of water. The marks on the sonar were very good, and we hoped it would be a good bite.

Most of the marks were deep, but there were plenty up higher in the water column too, and those were the more active fish, so we targeted those with Smithwick Perfect 10's using 2 oz Guppie Weights (Guppie's can be used as inline weights or snap weights, so today they were used as snapweights.)

The most productive program for us was 20/20, 30/30 and 20/50 with the 2oz weights at a speed of .9-1.0mph. We found that when we made turns, the slow side was doing pretty well, so we dropped from 1.2-1.3 to the .9-1.0  speed. ;)

Again, for those that don't understand what "20/20" means....you let the bait out 20 feet, attach the snapweight, and let out another 20 feet before putting the Off Shore board on. The same goes for the other numbers listed above.

Color:  Lemon Lime Crush w/orange belly, Chrome Pink Lemonade, and a Chrome Perch were the best for us.

The weather was perfect. We started out with a light south offshore wind that gave us 2 foot or less sized waves out there. Then, the wind was switching to the SE and it basically died to nothing and the lake went flat.  

The bite was never hot for us. We had one double, but otherwise, we would pick up two or three...and, then, nothing for a long time. We made adjustments when it was slow, and we would pick up another 2 or 3....and, then,  nothing.  Nothing was really dialed in.

The water temperature was 35.4 degrees on that side of Kelly's today. The water was stained, but you could still see your cavitation plate, so in other words...perfect.  

There were a lot of fish that were stacked closer to the bottom...  Kevin and I discussed it at one point, and concluded that some of those marks might be the big gizzard shad that live in the lake. It certainly wouldn't surprise me. Some of the shad that die over the winter and litter the Portage River shoreline in the spring are a good 3-4 pounds each.

It was nice to get out today and catch some fish. It made it a very Merry Christmas indeed!

Looks like we have some wind and rain coming to town again for the next few days. Lousy weather, but it's bringing warmer temps along with it.  Every day we don't have ice....I like it! Sorry ice anglers....I had to say it though. 

So, until the next nice fishable day.....thanks for taking the time to read this...:)

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

Merry Christmas! 12/24/18

by Capt Juls on 12/24/18

I just wanted to take a moment to say, "Merry Christmas" everyone! :)

It feels like this year just sped by. As I get older, it seems every year gets faster too....deep sigh. But, I guess that also means that the next fishing season will be here sooner than I realize too, eh? lol

I'm looking forward to next season already, because it's going to be fantastic fishing!  Even though, there's going to be a plethora of smaller fish from the 2018 hatch out there, there are tons of good sized eaters out there now too, along with the usual big fish this lake is known for.

I still have several dates available for those that would like to fish Lake Erie, so if this is the year you want to give it a shot, give me a call or email/text me, so we can get you on the calendar!

Have a safe and Happy New Year...and, I hope to fish with you  next season!

I might be going fishing tomorrow (Christmas Day), but it depends on whether my fishing partner is feeling better. We would be using his boat. We would have taken mine, but I did an update on my both my Humminbird's, last week, and had to send them back, due to a glitch that happened, (hey, stuff happens!), so until I get them back, (next week some time)...my boat will be nice and warm over in her heated storage building. 

Looks like we might even be open water fishing into January, so that may be a possiblity.

Stay tuned...

Capt Juls

$11.00 Permit Required on top of your License to fish Ohio Waters of Lake Erie in the Spring

by Capt Juls on 12/20/18

I just wanted to bring this to the attention of all the folks who come from other states to fish Lake Erie's Western Basin in the spring for Trophy Walleye.

This is a one time purchase each spring, over and above the non-resident license required to fish here. 

Per the ODNR site:
Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, a Lake Erie permit ($11) will be required for all nonresidents to fish Ohio waters of Lake Erie from Jan. 1-April 30 each year. Money generated by this permit will be used for specified purposes related to the protection and improvements of Lake Erie, such as combating invasive species, securing public access and providing for fish management projects in Lake Erie. 

93 More Days Until the Official Day of Spring!

by Capt Juls on 12/17/18

I'm counting down the days until Spring, when I start the 2019 Lake Erie charter fishing season.  It's been relatively warm for December, and we've gotten out a couple of times, but it's been windy for the most part, keeping us on shore more than we would like.

Tomorrow (12/18) looks like it's going to be a good day to go out, so I'm heading out with a friend in his boat...probably to Canadian waters to look for some perch this time. Do we have to run all the way up there to find perch? Absolutely not, but when the lake is flat, it's an opportunity to run up there. There are some big perch over there, and we want to find some. :)

Wednesday, looks like another good day to get out, but this gal has to go in for a root canal and crown...again...so, I'll be stuck on shore nursing a numb jaw for the day. :(

They are doing well walleye fishing here in the Western Basin, as the big walleye migrate towards their spawning grounds. The biggest fish still seem to be over towards Clevleand, but are making their way west each day. When the weather allows, many folks are still heading out in the  smaller boats, as the big charter boats are all stored away for the winter.

Smithwick Perfect 10's with 2oz snapweights seem to be the ticket for most. Bandits run without weights anywhere from 60 to 80 back is also a contender for good catches. Most are running a speed of 1.0-1.4mph. 

I've opened up my blog to comments, and would like to hear what techniques my readers have used successfully during the fall/winter months, that might be different than what everyone else here uses. So, if you are so inclined, please feel free to share your experiences here with everyone. :)

As for my 2019 season....I have open dates from April through November, so if you want to book a trip, the sooner you reserve your dates, the better!

Please contact me for open date information...as this website doesn't offer an online calendar. You can call/text or email me anytime!

Thanks, and have a great day!

Capt Juls

Oh...What to do all Winter?

by Capt Juls on 12/02/18

Well, it's that time of year...deep sigh. The boat is put to bed, and the cold/dark month are upon us....deep sigh.

Today's 50 degree weather and sunshine is a welcome, and much needed, change today. It feels like spring! 

I know tomorrow it turns into winter again, so I'm kind of getting the blues.  

I'm pretty sure the last trip was run this past Friday, unless we get some nice weather and winds, and the lake isn't muddy. I have a few customers that like to be kept "on call", and live near enough, to make it on a day's notice to get out fishing.

Like them, fishing is a form of "therapy", in that it calms us, focuses us, and allows us to make it through a long winter. lol

I don't ice fish anymore, so the winters seem even longer now between fishing trips....ugh.

I'm sitting here on this sunny Sunday afternoon, typing this at my desk, the windows are open, a Jalapeno/Cheese bread is baking in the oven, and I'm listening to the wind chimes dance on my front porch. It's December 2nd, and just yesterday, we just had winter temperatures and winds that would cut through a person's clothing and send a chill to the bones. While I want this nice day to never end, I know tomorrow will bring back those winter conditions again.  

The new boat is performing great! I'm still waiting on my one SmoothMove seat, for the passenger side though.  I only ordered the one, because as the driver, I like to feel what my boat is feeling. Those seats are so nice, you don't feel the abuse the boat is taking anymore, and I don't want any preventable damage done to the hull while I'm driving it.  The throttle is there for a reason, and it's not always to push it down! ;)

I'm already anxious for spring. This is the earliest I've had a new boat, and knowing it's over there in the heated storage building, in a spot that will allow me to take it out on a moments notice, is always tempting. But, at this time of year...one needs to be very safety concious, and pick the days, because the water temperatures are deadly from now until late spring. 

I've put her to bed for now. The weather forecast is not condusive to a fun trip for at least for the next week. I don't look to far ahead at this time of year, because you really can't tell what the forecast is going to do until a day or two in advance.

On another note, I started writing for an online magazine called, "Outdoor Unlimited", and sent in the first submission yesterday. It looks like a nice website, so if you get a chance...check it out.  www.odumagazine.com. I don't think my article will be posted until around Christmas time though. I'll write something each month, so it gives me something fishy to think about. ;)

Not much else going on now that the "Walleye Fall Brawl" is done. So, I'll try to keep busy this winter, and hope for an early ice out. Hopefully, we'll have a mild winter, and we'll get out here and there on some nice days. One can wish, anyway. lol

So, I'll think of some things to blog about through the winter, in case someone is actually reading this. ;)

I wish all of you a safe winter...a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Mark Moser and Dr Steve Reineck 11/25/18

by Capt Juls on 11/25/18

I left the house early this morning to go get my boat out of storage for today's trip, gas up the Ranger, and get some breakfast at Big Bopper's before heading over to Mazurik's to meet my crew.

They were meeting me at 8:30, so I had a lot of time to visit with some other captains that showed up at Bopper's too. It's been a while since I had seen the bunch of them, so it was a good way to start the day! :)

Mark was driving in from Fremont and Steve was driving in from Sandusky. Mark showed up a little after 8, so we chatted while we waited for Steve to show up. He showed up right on time and we were launched and in the water by 8:30.

After letting the G2 warm up to temp, we headed to the northeast side of Kelly's to start looking.  I stopped short of the south green can at the shoal and didn't mark much, but saw a few boats on the west side of the shoal and north of north bay trolling. But, just before I was going to move west, I got a text from someone saying they already had 6 in the box (they had launched 20 minutes before me), and gave me some numbers, so we turned and headed 4 miles southeast to give it a shot.

We set up with Bandits behind Off Shore boards at 75-120 back at a speed of 1.3-1.4mph. We picked up 4 fish, but it wasn't on fire. The marks were spotty...really good...then, nothing...then, really good...then, nothing. 

Just about the time I was going to turn and go back through a pod of fish, I got a text from another friend showing me his screen full of marks from top to bottom, and said it was a pretty good bite, so we picked up and moved to the west again. Ha!

We caught their two limits, and three of mine (but one I let go,so it would get a chance to live a little longer), before we ran out of time, and headed in.

Bandits 80 back and P-10's 20/50 with a 2oz Guppie weight were our best leads overall.  The Lemon-Lime Crush P-10 with the orange belly took a bunch...as did the Attention Deficit Bandit. 

It was a very nice day on the water. The air temp was a warm 48 degrees and the water temp was 42. It was mostly overcast, but the sun did pop out in the early afternoon for about an hour. The wind died around noon and went to nothing, so the lake was like glass...which means...that's right...I got to open up that Evinrude and go fast. woot! woot!

The guys had a good time and learned some little tips and tricks for using inline planer boards, so they can apply it to their outings out on the lake too. :)

I might be fishing with the Chapman's again on Friday if the forecast holds.....fingers crossed!

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

Fishing with Steve and Jeremy 11/19/18

by Capt Juls on 11/19/18

Got the call yesterday from Jeremy..."Looks like the weather is going to be nice tomorrow. Do you want a trip?" "It does! I said. Let's do it...it will be the first trip out on the new Ranger." I replied grinning ear to ear.

Steve and Jeremy Chapman are regulars of mine who fish with me about 8-10 times a season. And, it just so happens, Steve was my very first customer when I started this guide business almost 8 years ago. So, it was fitting that they were out with me on my inaugural run in the 2019 boat. :)

I met them at Mazurik's at 9am, and we launched. I let the ETEC sit and purr while she came up to temperature.  It was a slightly foggy morning with zero wind, and the temperature was only 35 degrees. The forecast called for winds less than 5mph out of the WSW all day, and temps to hit a high of 40, so I was really glad to get a chance to be back out on the lake.

I had no clue which direction I was going to go to find fish. I know about some areas to the east, and some to the north, but I had read mixed reports online about catches. I knew Capt Kevin was headed to Huron to launch, so he would be fishing from Huron to Vermilion....I didn't think I wanted to go that far with an untested boat at this time of year, so I turned to the east, instead of north and put the big girl on plane. 

"OHHHhhhhh Holy Moly!" I thought to myself, "This Ranger is AWESOME! I've had a lot of different Rangers over the years... most of them being 621's...this one included....To me, this one is a perfect combination.
I knew instantly that the boat and the 300 G2 were going to be best buddies. 
It just felt super-right this time.  Have you ever just felt like that with a boat? I've felt it maybe three times. You just KNOW when it happens, and it happens right away.  Some are good, but then, some are really-really good! I have one of the "laters" for next season, and I can't wait to use it again....woot! woot!

Anyway, I decided to go east and just watch the Helix for good fish marks on the screen. I turned the chart speed up to 10, and cruised at 40-43mph, and watched for little red "blob dots" on the screen. That's what they look like at that speed. 
If I saw any that were bunched up together, making it obvious that they were fish, I slowed it down to take a better look.   

As I come off plane, I turn the H'Bird's chart speed down to match the boat's speed.  If you don't turn it down, the arches are going to look huge, and you'll be given the false impression that there are giant walleye below you.  
When you turn the speed down, you get a better sense of the size of fish below. You'll learn the difference between the size of marks, and the actual fish, through practice and time on the water.

We dropped off plane at the 27/27 line (those are the middle numbers in the GPS coordinates for those of you who don't know). 
The marks were pretty decent, so I grabbed the remote for the Ulterra and crossed my fingers that it would work. It did! Flawlessly. She deployed and I set a course to the east. 

 We set a spread of 4 Bandits and 2 Smithwick Perfect 10's behind Off Shore inline boards.  The P-10s were used with a 1oz Guppie Weight (snap-weight) at 30/30. (Again, for those that don't know what 30/30 means...this time, it's the distance back using a weight. Put 30 feet of line out, attach the weight, and let 30 more feet of line out...for a total of 60 feet.

The P-10s took a few walleye, but were mostly tasty bits for a lot of big white bass too, so we ended up taking them off and putting all Bandits on.

Okay, so here's the info you want is:

Speed was 1.3-1.5mph....1.4mph was probably the best speed, but the other two worked too.

Depth of water was 40-44 with 40 foot having the most fish in it.

Colors: Anything with an orange belly.  The best colors today were the Blue/Chrome Bandit and a Custom by Domka Outdoors called, "Attention Deficit".  I heard from Capt Kevin during the day...he was further SE of where I was and had the Chartreuse WonderBread color working well. In fact, he said he switched all his baits to that color at some point. 

I put one of those out, but it did diddly-squat for us, until the very end. We put 3 Blue/Chromes, 2 Attention Deficits, and 1 Chartreuse Wonderbread out. 

The fish were coming in in singles, doubles, and triples...with a triple to end the day. When started to pull the rest of the boards in, there were walleye attached to all of them!

It was a great day to be alive today, and a great day to be on Lake Erie!

They're hoping that they will be able to get a few more days in next week too, since they are registered for the Fall Brawl, along with me, and we're running out of time. I think there's only 12 more days left for the tournament?  I hope the weather behaves and lets us get out a few more times.

Stay tuned....

Capt Juls

2019 Ranger is here and ready to go!

by Capt Juls on 11/13/18

Spent the day putzing in the new Ranger. She showed up last week, and I found some nice heated storage for her, for the winter.  However, she's not hibernating, and if the weather permits I'll be taking some late season trips before the ramps ice up.

Looks like we'll get some warmer weather mid to late week, next week...and, hopefully NO WIND!!  So, I'm looking forward to breaking her in, and catching some fish in the process. 

The walleye are feeding well, and fattening up now, so from now until spring...they will just keep getting bigger. :)

I saw a report from the ODNR stating that the 2018 walleye hatch was a "Record breaking hatch"....beating out the phenomenal hatch from 2003.  The 2003 hatch found 183 young of the year walleye in a hectare, and this year they were recording upwards of 255 per hectare....so you can see, if that's the case....this hatch was outrageously good!

They also mentioned that there was a really good perch hatch too.  I know from fishing this past season that there was also a very good hatch with the sheephead, white bass, and Emeralds too. So, it looks like the next decade or more will be fantastic fishing!

I'll be doing very select days the rest of this season, but if you want to try and hit one of those days....let me know. :)

I am taking reservations for the 2019 season now, so if you want in on some of this action, and would like to fish with me....give me a shout. My contact info is at the top of every page. ;)

Have a safe winter everyone!

Stay tuned...