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Thread: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

  1. #1
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    When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    Seemingly, The Smart Fenner Continues...

    Ok, you've worked hard all year, saved your pennies, obtained the significant others permission to go on a week long big musky hunt during the week having most favorable seasonal and moon variable influences, driven to the water in question, all with high expectations of your well thought out game plan being the right choice for your desired successes and then Mother Nature intervenes.

    What to do is the purpose of my posting and with the relationship towards not wanting responses in the realm of sitting around and waiting it out.

    Because, in my case, Mother Nature intervened for almost 60 straight hours whereby wind velocities averaged 20 plus mile per hour with gusts exceeding 35 resulting in wave heights near 4 feet on waters of my targeted choice, being they are mostly exposed on all shoreline fronts - at least to the wind with the height of waves far less than 4 feet on those upwind connected shorelines.

    To better prepare my scenario and the thinking I want to convey here is that on the morning of my first day, the sky was bright, the winds were light and I trailed into a mostly exposed lake on the southeast shoreline. Around mid-morning, the wind switched to the West, then around mid-afternoon, it switched to the Northwest and blew that unholy gale described earlier.

    BTW, I was by myself and my stupidity cost me staying on the lake until 3:00 A.M. the next morning when the wind and waves subsided just enough for me to trailer out (remember, I had trailer to a SE boat ramp and the gale winds were from the Northwest).

    Having survived this learning experience, both in life and limb and new boat properties, I became more smart in those other nearby lakes of choice during this 60 straight hour gale wind affair.

    I became restricted to a lake that had a boat ramp on the Northwest side of the lake and that really wasn't bad, being this lake offered the biggest muskies I was seeking.

    However, forget fishing the east and southeast sides, even west sides mid-way between the north and south areas. I could look through binoculars and see whitecaps similar to Lake Superior on a windy day.

    Memories of ordeals presented in past times came to mind: most relevant was Bobby's M Simply Fishing Classic and Mr. Heitings description about that unholy gale resulting in them using their Ranger gas engine for forward boat movements with the bow trolling motor acting like an auxiliary steering wheel.

    I actually did in fact do this several times to branch out from this lakes Northwest and Northeast areas.

    However, the most impacted element besides appropriate boat control was casting. Being I wasn't in a glass boat, my aluminum boat was severely effected in drift speeds even with trolling motor usages.

    Sure, I trolled when I could, casted when it made sense, but eventually, I wanted to use that wind and lure presentation to my advantage.

    Running upwind of the intended target, letting the lure out behind the boat with the boat broadside to the wind, I drift trolled (with trolling motor adjustments) a variety of lures that would effectively cover submerged rock humps, sand flats, cabbage weed edges and within these forests.

    Lures utilized where Pounders, DC-13's. Kilr Eels, topwater whereby all required various line let backs and added leader weights to keep them at the desired depth for the given structure and all lures where presented from an action range of a feather floating in a near calm sky to violently ripping and/or jigging it.

    I am curious about how others faced with similar conditions of excessive wind and waves presented their lures as one could under more calm conditions.

    Thank-you.


    Smile, Youses Are On MH TV!!!!

    http://www.frontiernet.net/~ddfenner

  2. #2
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    RE: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    With gas prices the way they are we almost always now fish 3 in the boat on destination trips,,,with that I usually stay at camp on the less then perfect days, watch dvds or sign in anon on websites and cause trouble/slander using the camps computer/untraceable ,,, letting the other two companions frail away at the water,,keeping in contact via cell phone when a window opens I can then jump in.

    "I agree your experience is a big benefit in certain situations"

    thinking about doing an article for MH on this

  3. #3
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    RE: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    This is my routine: Fill the gas tank, fill the livewell, throw in couple Menards sand in a tube thingers. Zip up the PFD, deploy drift sock if possible and keep a knife handy. Ibuprofen for strain of riding the bongo board all day and/or throbbing headache of disappointment.

  4. #4
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    RE: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    Ben on trips where the wind blow,or a week of all day rain, or blue bird sky's. Leaving for Minnesota for a week of fishing this Saturday looks like a lot of blue bird days in the long range. Just might have to sneak out and do some night fishing.

  5. #5
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    RE: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    That is my least favorite situation. I can deal with cold, rain, snow and heavy wind,but when it gets so bad that you can't work certain parts of the lake I really struggle. If it was a one day deal, I would probably stay home, but a week is too much and I'd get out there. I have been faced with this and the only thing I could think of is anchor hopping.

    You get to a desired area and start upwind. Throw the anchor down and secure. You will undoubtedly drift slowly in this type of wind. If you come upon a spot where your anchor sticks and holds, simply let out more rope. Don't let out too much as pulling back against the wind is a killer. You want to move? Pick up the anchor and move farther down the weedline or structure and repeat process. You have to continually repeat the process and it is a pain, but it will let you fish. I realize that musky fishing near an anchor rope is an iffy proposition, but beggars can't be choosers. It has allowed me to fish on days when nothing else was possible.

  6. #6
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    RE: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    The "Smart Fenner" thats good!

  7. #7
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    RE: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    Oh yes, the anchor was utilized - somewhat. I've discussed anchoring with Leech Lake guide Jim Murphy more than a couple of times during winter month visits to Thorne Brothers where he occasionally works. I utilize a anchor a lot when I have fish pinpointed, however this trip was an adventure to explore never before fished waters and all I had were several starting points based on research and seasonal conditions so being absolute on exact fish locations wasn't there from the beginning. I knew up front I would have to explore to see fish and their locations in order to figure out how to get them to eat.

    Before the start of this wind, water temperatures were 71F and near the end of this wind (rain, snow and sleet showers during one day part of this 60 period), water temperatures had plummeted down into the low 60's.

    This severe cold front Mother Nature blew in hit hard on many fronts from boat control to casting to water temperature drops and my exploration for fish contact was still a major factor.

    What I will say though, this slip drift fishing brought upon me the experience of fishing these casting lures in a far different way than I ever had before.

    It took a couple of wind drifts and weight changes to get a 11 inch Kilr Eel down in the roots of the thick cabbage and it took a gentle feel and twitch to free it from weed hangups to keep it coming through. Imagery of this snake floating by the noze of the biggie I sought filled my mind and each stoppage of lure forward movement was a sense of reel spool and rod tip feel to determine yet another weed hangup or a very subtle suck in from that biggie I sought after.

    BTW, that picture Mr. Turgeon has of this ugly puss was caught on such a Kilr Eel, floating it like a feather in a light breeze on a cold front type day.

    So, the excitement was there fishing this way, so was the drama and while the Kilr Eel did not produce being floated this way through the cabbage, a musky jig/reaper ripped off the bottom and free falled back had one instance of no fall back and that 44 incher provided what later I realized as the major enjoyment of the day after that 7/0 Spinnerbait affair which came later.

    I guess if you can experience fishing in a new way and fish lures in ways you have never fished before, thus realizing their versatility in various presentations, Mother Nature limiting your bread and butter ways can be of benefit down the road.

    So, yes, I feel my glass is half full, not half empty. Musky Hunter has written about PMA - Positive Musky Attitudes and this trip and results was a strong a test of this as I have had in quite some time.

    ;)
    Smile, Youses Are On MH TV!!!!

    http://www.frontiernet.net/~ddfenner

  8. #8
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    RE: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    Double D ...

    did you reference your library? didn't steve herbeck put out a boat control article for severe conditions?

    i'm not mich, but find the kind of boat you have is huge! a few years back i was on the big pond out of the red door and at the time was running the center-console. thankfully there were two of us in the boat so we could take turns on the trolling motor (cable on the deck). the butt seat was like a catapult and it was hard just staying in the boat. the guy in back was able to stand mid-ship and cast effectively but i used the big motor engaged which slowed the rear-end push so that you could crab a cross-wind spot somewhat effectively. there was another day on the same water where jonesi and i were the only ones remaining ... i remember having the entire boat motor and prop included out of the water and hitting the rev limit shutting it down.

    my 690 has a deeper front gunnal and i like that to brace against in heavy winds.

    mind-over-matter sounds like what you did ... the most important thing of all is to find a way to relax and enjoy it knowing you have the boat and the ability to fish a spot. 36-volts of fresh juice with a long shaft help out too as do 9'+ rods.

    makes you really find the value in having plenty of motors ... a big motor, a kicker, a rear vantage tm and front tm along with a drift sock available and at your disposal.

    i know up at eagle lake i'd rather have wind than not ... and it sure helps having a couple of you doing the work as a team. there are times when you just have to fish the spots when you can't maneuver and that's when i just run the big motor and let the other guy take a few shots ... if you hook up on a monster i figure that's why you pay an insurance premium. :-)

  9. #9
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    RE: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    Nothing wrong with a big glass or two of whiskey and a nice day in the cabin while the wind blows itself out when you get to the point where it is more work fishing than fun. That's the key, work vs. fun. The day it's more work than fun is the day I quit.

    If the wind is managable I troll, troll, and then troll some more. I pick on areas where I have the best control and pound them to death. Better to be in a marginal area with the lures doing what you want than to be in a great area with no boat control at all. One lure is more than enough when the wind is howling. One lure run right is worth a dozen out of control.

    If it's not managable I look for somewhere it is, or get the heck off the lake.

    If I have a partner, I will do some of my very best casting spots between trolling areas, no matter what the wind is doing unless it is unsafe for the boat. I'll stay at the console runninng the big motor and have my friend in the very back of the boat where it is the least affected by the waves, bombing casts into the prime spots. I'll keep the boat out of trouble and at the same time keep it close enough my friend can get some good casts in on the structure. I haven't seen this pay off too often but at least I have the satifaction of knowing that if there was a fish there we would have had some action. I find that when the wind is that beastly even the good spots aren't really that good. It might be the fish get out of the wind and hold in the eddy areas when it blows that hard or they stay deeper, but for the effort expended our returns are minimal.

    I've been out in 40 mph winds with gusts over 60mph on LOTW in Sabaskong during October. Tried all kinds of tricks to save some fishing time and it just wasn't worth the effort. All we got was cold and worn out fighting the wind with nothing to show for it. Sometimes you just need to wave the white flag.

  10. #10
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    RE: When Mother Nature Limits Your Fishing Options

    I have never tried alone, but with a friend, I have used multiple drift socks along with running the engine with the boat facing into the wind ALL day long on a few occasions. One guy casts while the other just postions the boat. I was sore for three days just from steering and putting the engine in and out of gear while the waves rocked us around. I'm guessing that can't be very good for the engine, either?

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