Thursday, June 26, 2008

Great Slave boat ride. Weeeeeeee!

We have a ton of videos from the last trip to the Arctic. here's one of them.
Hey...sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do to get to the fish.

Get back on the horse. 6-24-08

I gotta be honest with ya. I almost had to force myself to get out there. I mean, c'mon, that last trip will just about ruin anyone's will to go bass fishing. But I pulled myself together and hit the water for an hour at dusk. 7 smallies and 1 largemouth all on Wilson. Fishing within 3' of shore making parallel casts. Fish activity is VERY high right now. So feel free to fill in for me and go out and lay waste to the land.
I'm back up in Canada in 2 weeks.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Arctic Circle Trip. Great Slave Lake. June 2008.

I really hope you are viewing this on a high speed connection because as usual I have a ton of pictures.

I don't have everything in yet as far as photos and videos. Plus I have something special in store for everyone in the form of a feature length video but that's going to take some serious time. We're figuring probably about 30 man-hours to complete it. So you now have something to look forward to.

This report will be revised a couple times as additional info comes in, so please bookmark it and check back often. You'll see new pictures, videos, specs and numbers. on with the Group 1 show!
The players were Jamie Riani & Bill Kallenberg, Dick Kessler Jr & Dick Kessler Sr., and Bob Brenton & John Mich

Great Slave still had a fair amount of ice on it even after we left. Upon our arrival the main ice pack was within 1 mile of us. Due to a steady southeast wind the ice was out of sight in a couple days.

The back bay water temps were generally in the high 40's with the occasional 51 showing up here and there. The main lake water was substantially colder which made ANY area that had warmer incoming bay water an instant goldmine. Some areas had pike,walleyes and inconnu (shee fish) so condensed that you could fish in a 200 yard area all week and do just fine.

Technically we were a couple days early. The first day or two were still the best fishing on the continent, but as the week went on the fishing got better and better. The tell tale sign that we were indeed a little early was the easy with which we found, targeted and caught a couple dozen inconnu. By week's end they had all but disappeared from the shallows.

The spring hot spots (which John can further explain if you want more detail...just leave a comment and he'll read it) were Snuff Channel, Becks' Camp, The Back Bay, Tower Island Inflow, Beck's Channel, Horseshoe Bay and the mouth of the Thubin River.
The Inconnu hot spots were Beck's Camp and Tower Island Inflow.

The walleye hot spots were Beck's Camp and Snuff Channel ( Snuff Channel is about 20 yards wide and 6 feet deep of tea colored water. If you took a sideways slice of Snuff you'd see a layer of dirt/rock, a solid layer of walleyes, a thin layer of pike, and a layer of water over that. I'll put it to you this way: We caught 120 walleyes in 2 hours. Most of the guys swear by a Beetle Spin there. Jamie swears by a Salmo Roach diving crankbait. It was not uncommon to reel in a 24" average size walleye on every cast or two. BUT...regarding baits for walleyes in June, we caught them on bucktails and larger pike plastics just as easily sometimes. So basically you can try anything. They aren't too picky. )

The pike hotspots were...well...anywhere we fished that had water. But seriously, all of the spots mentioned so far. The Back Bay is probably the best option if conditions are right. But Beck's and Thubin and Snuff each had their days were no other water in North America was going to compare.

The lures used: I'm going to change this and update it later with specifics. But for now let's just start with these: Savage Gear 4-Play, Savage gear Alien Eels ( FAR BETTER than a Bulldawg FYI), Dunwright Lifelike Pike 8", Savage Gear Rattle Shad, Bucktails, Bucktails and more Bucktails (save the silver blades please. Whites, yellows, reds, pinks and oranges worked better 10:1) and Doctor Spoons. Again..I'm going to update this so check back.

Koi sushi,anyone? (Savage Gear 4-Pal in Koi pattern)

This 43"er "found" Nemo.

Custom Modified Nemo Slider by Customfish.

As per usual I'm going to start with some scenery and other "interesting" shots.

And now some from the players themselves. The first slideshow is from John and Bob's boat.

Next up is a double slideshow. The first is of Jamie and second of Bill.
Why 2??? Because when you go fishing with Jamie (who co-owns you're gonna get internet-famous. There were over 200 pictures and videos taken in that boat with the promise to Bill " I'll make ya famous!". So instead of killing your computer with one massive slideshow I'm gonna split it up into 2.
Here's Jamie:

And here's the star of the trip, Bill!

Numbers! It's all about the numbers baby!
We have the totals for boat #1 and boat #2.
Boat #1 (Kallenberg & Riani) had a total of 594 fish.
Jamie with 302 and Bill with 292.
34 trophies (Pike 41"+). 17 for Bill and 17 for Jamie.
Our largest Inconnu was caught by Bill: 41" / 18lbs.
Most walleyes were in the 22-28" range.
The trophy pike numbers for Boat #1 were:
Yeah I know. It's just sick. And that's just two guys' numbers.

Boat #2 (Mich & Brenton)Had even better numbers. They caught 143 walleyes, 648 pike and 4 inconnu. They had 33 pike over 41" (trophies).

Here's some of my personal trophy numbers that I kept track of on the water courtesy of a golf scorer and a Sharpie Marker.

( Those numbers were only as of thursday. We still had a way to go.)

Here's some of the baits that really kicked ass. Take a close look at them and notice the teeth marks. These baits were responsible for hundreds of big pike.
The Customfish Malawi Bucktails.

After ( That's the 3RD tail on it!)



Savage Gear 4-Play: Let me stress that we had every intention of bringing back these baits in pieces. We expected the paint to be taken off by the hundreds of pike that were caught on them. But as you can see, even after thousands and thousands of teeth biting into them they are in suprisingly great shape. We give the hardware and paint a 4 star rating and recommend this bait as a mainstay for this trip. The only thing we might recommend is that the hooks be changed out to a size larger due to the sheer number of fish on this particular excursion.

One of my all time favorites, The Salmo Roach: This one bait has been one of my top muskie producing baits. It took a Trip to Taltson Bay to put this bait into retirement.

The Storm Kick'n Minnow: This bait held up suprisingly well and withstood dozens of fights from pike, walleye and inconnu.

The Savage Gear Alien Eel: Keep in mind that this ONE bait caught over 20 big pike before it was broken in half! The average Bulldawg lasts 1-2 fish. This bait really took a beating and a hell of alot of punishment. You'll see it hanging from the mouths of big pike in some of the previous photos...and it's all the same bait. I brought ONE on this trip and it paid off BIG!

More updates to follow.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mike's Florida Report Part 3

Well we set up on the last night for some Shark fishing. Rich wasn't leaving without one and to be honest we'd had enough of him so... a shark he wants... a shark he'll get. Pat set the rods, rigging both up with spanish mackerel that we'd caught earlier in the day.

Then he paddled the baits out for what seemed like two football fields and dropped them into the deep water. It didn't take long for the fish to start biting but 5 pick-ups later Rich still hadn't hooked up. Then came the sixth bite... FISH ON ROD-1!

Pat straps Rich in. (I could make a joke here but it's just too easy)

I love this next shot. Pat is coaching Rich who's possibly met his match...

Hold it guys, fish on Rod-2.... seconds later a huge Tarpon breaks the surface and tosses rig-2. That would have been a circus for sure. Now back to Rich as a crowd is forming. People are setting out lawn chairs and running back to their rooms for cameras.. one group ordered a pizza. This is going to take awhile.. notice the sun setting... and the clouds forming.

At the end of hour #1 Rich begins to question his sanity. So do we. Small children run in fear, a priest is called, the priest runs in fear, I refill my gin & tonic...

Then the heavens opened up as a thunderstorm unleashes lighting, thunder and buckets of rain... the fight goes on and actually the rain feels good though than my G&T is getting watered down. (I'm only there for moral support at this point) Half the crowd leaves but 10 or so remain with our fearless fisherman... or is it foolish fisherman...

Finally as we close on hour 2 the Shark nears the beach. Pat and Randy jump in and grab it's tail to get her up on the shore for a quick photo-op and release.

Congratulations Rich on your first Shark! Rich had this to say after the trip while recovering from his second of two knee replacements:

Still on pain killers from yesterday's surgery, but if I can be coherent for a few seconds, I have to say that that shark was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, let alone fishing.

I think immediately after, when Mike asked me how I felt, I compared it to the feeling of running a half marathon. Awesome.

Man, I love big fish.

Well that's it. I'd like to thank Pat Halko for his supreme Florida guiding and mostly Cliff and Betty Hooks for the giving us the opportunity of a lifetime. This is one trip we'll never forget.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mike's Florida Report... Part 2

Ok so day One ends on high note as Randy and I head back to the condo for some refreshments. The next morning we hit it again (We're late, it's 6:30) and already it's 85 degrees and seems like noon. Oh no I'm starting to sound like the ladies at Hertz....Why's it so hot in Florida... Wah!

The fishing is much slower this morning. Sure we got a dozen or so between the two of us but its nothing like yesterday. We head in early to do some grocery shopping and get ready for Ying and Yang....also know as Pat and Rich to show up.

It's now early afternoon and Rich is amped... literally shaking he's so excited. Just like we were the day before. Pat on the other hand is groggy and shows up with Walmart bags for suitcases and a empty lure case with 5 baits. 3 Puppy Jr's, and two Yozuri Crystal Minnows with broken hooks.

Then he proceeds to kick our ass. Couple cast here - Snook, couple more casts - trout, yawn... pause... cast.. a snook... lather, rinse & repeat..At this point in the story let me apologize to Pat for the lack of photos. I see now why he doesn't take very many. You can't carry a camera around your neck in salt water. I know that now. Mine is in the trash.. With the fast action you also don't want to stop and go unpack the camera to take a photo. So we didn't. I did get a shot of Pat with a small trout. It's all so boring and easy for Pat. It's not a shark so its dull. Been there, done that. BORRRRINGG! He's still pissed at me for this photo..

Meanwhile Rich was throwing a swim bait, Randy a Pointer Minnow & I was throwing some sort of tantrum... as usual.

The Savagear Rattleshad spanked a snook on it's first cast of the morning.

You'll notice that Randy is not in these photos... He took off up the beach runnin and gunnin... We shark fished later that evening with several takers but no hook ups. Got some great photos though..

The next morning Randy had great success up the beach and headed out at a sprinters pace. Unfortunately I had my camera in the back of his pack when i caught my biggest Snook of my life on a topwater. NOt huge by FL standards but it was mid 30's and was the best fight i've had in a long time. Damn you Randy.

We had a pretty successful morning casting the trough and everyone caught fish though Pat was getting pretty bored as the flatlanders from the north whooped it up. Rich even got a bluefish.

Pat taught us that the gray area close to shore was actually baitfish. He's so dang smart! Too bad he can't find the wire cutters, his hooks, the knife, his car keys, the sunscreen....

Later that morning we stopped for a sandwich break and a cold beverage

I proceeded to catch my token catfish/bullhead that I get on every trip on every body of water everywhere.. always..

Quickly I redeemed myself and basked in my snooky glory.

We took a break around noon, had a fish fry at 3pm and headed back out for the evening to snook it up before Shark Time.

Now that's good eating! Don't freak, we didn't eat snook. Those were sea trout!

Did we mention that Snook fight awesome!

Stay tuned for Rich's Shark story.. or as we call it... the calm before the storm.

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