December 19, 2006

Prime Time Bite

Last night I finally got out. I headed over to my local lake to catch the prime-time bite at dusk. After I unloaded my gear at the public access, I headed out on foot a 1/4 mile to my spot. Luckily, this season I have my GPS unit with the MN Lakemaster chip. I was able to get right on the spot, in not time. I drilled a few holes around the inside curve of a deep flat, adjacent to a break-line and midlake hump. I hole hopped for little bit and then settled into my portable for prime-time. I wasn’t as productive as I could have been, though, as I was tinkering and adjusting my equipment, getting all the bugs and everything worked out, typical for the first trip of the season. I manage to catch two little walleyes about 10-22″. The deadstick was not productive. About a half hour after sunset, I had just charged and dropped a JB Lures Rattling Varmit tipped with the head of a fathead minnow and watched as a fish cam up off the bottom of the flasher. The fish took my spoon hard and a lengthy fight ensued. After a few minutes I saw the slipknot on my line near the hole, I knew the end of my line was near. I watched through the hole as a nice walleye flashed her belly and white tipped anal fins as she swam by. I finally got the fish up to the hole and onto the ice. The only tape I had was my ice scoop and one of those C&R stickers that the DNR had given out years back, 40″ in length.
I brought the fish up to the sticker on the side of my sled tub and I had a rough 23 inches. I didn’t get an opportunity to lay the fish out or pinch the tail, so it could’ve been longer. The girth on the fish’s belly was pretty outstanding, as this was definitely one of the fattest 23″ walleyes, I’ve seen outside of their spawning run.
Come 6 PM, I wrapped it up as the bite begins to tail off. A brief recap on the first official field test of my portable mods is as follows:
The reflectix worked well and cut down on frost quite a bit, only the canvas on the sides had frosted up lightly. The LED lights worked out nice. Plenty of light, but maybe a using the headlamp is in order to tie knots quicker. It is doable, but 2 lb test or smaller could get difficult if you have limp line, especially if you are threading the small eyelets found on light panfish jigs. Taking out the extra seat definitely provided some extra room. The insert I installed in my sled was nice; It’s always nice to have an extra flat surface to lay tackle or or other things on, like my bait puck.
Hopefully we’ll get some snow soon, and I’ll be able to test out the new rigid hitch with my snowmobile.