With the crazy good bite we’ve had over the past couple of weeks, I knew we’d pay for it at some point. Thursday was the day… Northeast winds and a high pressure system moved in to blow out all of the nasty weather we’ve had, and the results were predictable. Jeremiah Andrews (Union, IA) returned and brought along his friend Marvin Brandt (Ackly, IA). Jeremiah has a knack for arriving during some interesting weather. Three years ago we fished together the day a tornado hit Hayward! I’m noticing a pattern here… We started our day on Chequamegon Bay targeting smallies, and I immediately noticed that water temps had dropped significantly. After trying several spots with only one bite, our decision to move inland was easy. Water temps ranged from 50 – 56 degrees compared to the mid 60’s just a few days ago. The inland bite wasn’t on fire by any means, but we were able to put a decent afternoon together drifting windblown shorelines with minnows in 12′ – 15′ of water. After catching a few small fish here and there, we had a late day rally with some nice smallies up to 18″ and a really fun double. I’d rather end good than start good any day! Jeremiah and Marvin did a great job hanging with the program, and I’m glad they were rewarded with a good run to end our trip. Thanks for a fun day fellas, and congratulations on your fish. I’ll be applying for that Iowa tag Jeremiah. Can’t wait!
If Thursday was a tough bite, Friday may have been tougher… Kirby and Susan Krischke (Hudson, WI) wanted to check out the smallmouth action on Chequamegon Bay, and we gave it our best shot. Northeast winds continued to pump cold water into the bay, and the smallies continued to be stubborn. We were able to land a couple of nice fish on minnows up to 20″ on a weedline in 15′ of water, but there wasn’t enough going on to keep us there. Things will even out eventually on the bay, but it may take a few days and some stable weather to get fish back in their “Happy Place”. Inland we went for the afternoon. The tough bite trend continued, but we were able to find a few fish along 12′ – 15′ breaks with minnows. Fish were really spread out though, and each drift was only good for one or two opportunities. We moved around a bunch to stay on biters, but it was difficult to put any kind of a pattern together. Our last spot of the day was a rocky point, and there was a pile of fish holding in 20′ of water. They were cooperative, and we ended our trip in grand fashion. Kirby and Susan landed a couple of beasts with time running out. It was a perfect ending to a day with a lot of lessons. Keep working, keep searching, and eventually you’ll figure it out. Sometimes the tough days are the best days. Excellent work today Krischkes. You were awesome, and I really feel sorry for the other guy Susan!!!
Our weather finally started to stabilize on Saturday, and the big bass binge continued. Keith and Carleen Brown from Maylene, AL joined me in the Hayward area to celebrate Keith’s birthday and their recent marriage. The NE winds that we’ve been experiencing finally calmed down, and the sun came out. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that, but it sure felt good! Apparently the fish agreed. We spent our day chasing smallmouth and put good numbers of big fish in the net. After a shaky start with a few misses and Carleen’s “fish stick”, we located a good school of smallies along rock and weeds in 5′ – 12′ of water. The rest of the morning was spent landing fish that included a couple of beasts measuring 21 1/2″. We used jigs and minnows and had a lot of short hits, but when we connected it was all good stuff. High skies and light winds in the afternoon seemed to slow the bite, but we put together one heck of a rally to end the day that included a perfectly landed double by my well seasoned crew. By quitting time, Carleen was doing everything but holding the fish. We’re still working on that… Water temps hit 64 degrees on a spectacular day to be on the water. No long underwear, no rain gear, and lots of sun. After the past several days, I’ll take it! Heck of a job today Browns. Thanks for all of the laughs, and congratulations on some great fish. I’ll see you next year!
Time for a switch! My friend Rick Tutor and his 13 yr. old son Dylen from Ashland, WI spent an incredible fall day with me on Sunday, and we went on a little adventure in the Hayward area. We spent our day on a small river in search of muskies, and this was Dylen’s first time trying to get one in the net. I didn’t make it easy on him, but he was up to the task and did an excellent job hitting spots and working the baits with lots of hazards to avoid. We pitched bucktails along the banks and had an incredible amount of action, but hookups were hard to come by. We had contact with seven different muskies on the day including a couple of really good looking fish that just wouldn’t stay buttoned up. We were so close on several strikes, but the bigger fish seemed to be doing a lot of nipping and not a lot of eating. Dylen had a really nice fish roll up on his bucktail ten feet from the boat, and I know he’ll be seeing that one in his dreams for awhile. It was a good one… When it was all said and done, we boated a couple of pike and a small muskie on a fun day with lots of action. Water temps ranged from 60 – 63 degrees. We even drifted within a few feet of some deer that had no idea we were there. The weather couldn’t have been better, and the fall colors were amazing. I always love doing these trips, and this was one I won’t soon forget. You did one heck of a job today Dylen, and I know you’ve got a big musky in your future. We may have created a monster!!!
Slime is in the air, and we were back after muskies on Monday with a couple of good dudes. Dave Russ and Jim Hanneman from Merrill, WI joined me in the Hayward area for their first musky trip, and we had one heck of a day. The weather couldn’t have been better with high skies, warm temps, and fabulous fall colors. It wasn’t exactly what you think of as a musky day, but we made it one! Jim got us started in the morning with a nice 37″ fish landed on a sucker right after it had chased in Dave’s bucktail he was casting. Nice teamwork! Right before lunch Dave landed a 34″ pike, and we were feeling pretty good about the morning we had. Our pm shift started slow, but things got interesting fast. Jim battled a good fish to the boat that came loose before we could get a net on it, and Dave followed up a few minutes later with another high 30’s fish on a sucker. With time running out in the day, Jim “Totally Redeemed Himself” and put another high 30’s fish in the net on a sucker. We worked shorelines and weed edges throughout the day in 5′ – 15′, and water temps ranged from 59 – 64 degrees. I couldn’t have been happier for some great guys that deserved every fish they caught. Thanks for a great day Dave and Jim, and congratulations on your first muskies. There’s no saving you now!!! Enjoy this weather while it’s here everyone. The forecast looks like we’ve got a big change on the way. Stay tuned!