It has been a season of crazy weather patterns, and this week has been no different. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were scheduled to film with the crew from Babe Winkelman Productions, and I received a call from Nate Berg late Sunday night letting me know that the Brainerd, MN had been hit by a bad storm. Thankfully nobody was hurt, but there was a lot of cleaning up to do before they could hit the road so Monday was cancelled. Since the plan was to put as much together as we possibly could in three days, I knew we’d be pressing when the crew arrived. Nate, Jim Bedell, and Joe Marshall rolled in on Tuesday morning just in time for a massive cold front with north winds that brought a 25 degree temperature drop. Could this get any better??? I felt like I was bringing a knife to a gun fight… Plan #1 was to film a crappie piece in the Hayward area, and I wasn’t very optimistic as we hit the water with 30 mph north winds and a light rain. We anchored up in 10′ of water over a thick cabbage bed, and Nate was hooked up almost instantly with a nice slab. Really??? They continued to bite, and we had everything we needed within a couple of hours as we pitched small plastic jigs and swam them through the weeds catching some really nice fish up to 13″. Water temps held around 75 degrees. With our first piece in the can, we moved on to walleyes. The crappie bite was surely a fluke, and there was no way the walleyes were going to bite as the north winds persisted. Our first few hours went by without a bite as we started with leeches and slip bobbers over deep weeds in 15′ -20′ of water. As time was running out in the day, Nate and I knew that the only way we were going to get a walleye in the boat was to drag crawler harnesses, so we made the switch trolling the outside edge of the weedline. Nate got us going with a small fish in the net. It was a start… Not long after, I had a 25″ fish in the boat. You’re kidding!!! Before long we had several fish between 20″ and 25″ on film, and piece #2 was in the can. I have to admit that it kind of felt like we stole something as we were driving home that night. What a day!
With two out of three things accomplished, I thought Wednesday would be a piece of cake. The plan was to head over to Chequamegon Bay and get a smallmouth segment done which would leave us with the afternoon to do whatever we wanted. Funny how fish don’t follow the script. Flat conditions, and high skies made it almost impossible to get on active fish, and we had to pull the pin early in the afternoon when it was obvious that they weren’t going to cooperate. Now things were interesting… We had the afternoon to put together enough footage, so we headed inland to see if the bite was any better. Within 5 minutes Nate and I were doubled up on big bass, and they were the first of many over the next few hours. We worked 5′ – 10′ of water with plastics and minnows as we piled up video footage of big fish after big fish. Water temps continued to hold around 75 degrees. Nate and I landed a bunch of nice fish up to 21″ along with a nice bonus walleye, and I had to pinch myself as we were putting our boats on the trailers at the end of the day. Three different segments in two days for three different species during a cold front in the middle of summer. Although I didn’t think it could happen, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Nate Berg was in the boat, and that dude can fish!!! Thanks to Nate, Jim, and Joe for an excellent two day slam that I’ll never forget. We wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if it was easy, but I’d sure like to try sometime!!!
Thursday was spent with some great folks from my hometown. John Jatzow from Iron River, WI along with his sons Andy and Greg were with us on Chequamegon Bay, and we were after big smallmouth bass. Steady south winds made for almost perfect conditions, and we started out right with a nice double as we drifted minnows along break lines in 12′ – 20′ of water. A steady bite continued throughout the morning, and the Jatzow men put some really good fish in the net that included a 21 1/2″ beast landed by John right before lunch. What a fish!!! The afternoon was a different story however as the fish were a bit sluggish, and we struggled to get into any consistent action. I guess they were full… Nobody was complaining though after the morning we had, and we shared some good stories with some good laughs. Winds kicked up at the end of the day which made for an interesting boat ride back to the landing that left all of us all a little soggy. No extra charge for that one boys!!! Water temps ranged from 66 – 68 degrees on an enjoyable day with some really great guys. Make sure you check out Greg’s band Gypsy Road if you get a chance. They play great rock and roll at many venues throughout northern Wisconsin. Since Greg promised me a spot as a guest tambourine player, you may just want to make sure that I won’t be there… Great job Jatzows!!!