Sunday, February 26, 2012

Early Toonage

Frosty morning gear up in the dark and the voice in the back of my mind is wondering why am I loading up the tooner? This is February and lakes were frozen just a week or two ago. However I was really itching to take the new electronic fish lookie-lou device out for it’s first run. Really it was a simple replacement of the Hummingbird 110 lost in the semi-tragic storage break-in of 2011. This model can be easily transferred from pontoon to bellyboat and even some larger boats. It doesn’t have the greatest graphics or even sonar compared to a few high-end models but gives accurate depth and temperature. For me that is half the game and then some. After several moments and trips back and forth from truck to boat the tooner is finally ready for its first voyage of the year.
(Above: Guess I could have straightened up the anchor rope on the back of the tooner before taking the picture.)

Break a layer of surrounding shoreline ice and port in. Set the fish finder up and it clicks down from an inside truck temperature to 44-degrees. The display shows a gradual incline and then a steady depth of twenty feet. I do my best to follow this line around the lake occasionally stopping at structure points. Heavy baits searched the middle of the lake as where jigs and plastics worked the shallower water towards the shoreline. I expected to see fish on the sonar and get bites right away but this was not the case. It took nearly an hour before getting action of any kind.

Getting a few taps but no commitment on some of the larger plastics had me downsizing with some added weight. 4” senkos with a 1/8oz drop shot setup and a 3” grub on an 1/8oz jig head started attracting more attention. Even these smaller baits brought only timid hits that picked up the bait leaving nothing on the end of the hookset.

“Probably perch.” I tried to console myself while slow casting for smallmouth, crappie and possibly even largemouth bass. “Gotta be some larger fish around here willing to give it a go.”

Finally after moving to the east end of the lake I start getting larger thumps and even get one fish to hang on after the hook-set. The fish stays deep for a while offering only flashes of silver through the murky depths. Soon the realization came to me that this was not any of the species I was originally targeting. This was a trout, rainbow trout to be exact. A few of these stocker bows are fairly respectable in size and get active early in the year.

The fish comes closer with some coaxing of the reel and into the hands for a quick photo-op. Once in my hands it does a quick tail flip that splashes water on the camera lens. I don’t even hit the button and just let the fish go. It was a decent trout well worthy of the photo op. Sometimes it just isn’t meant to be.

A few more casts and the jig gets clobbered from right underneath me. Heavy struggle on the end initially makes me think this is a bass or even small catfish. Then once again I see the silver flashes through the water. Get it closer to the boat and the drag sings out for the first time in a long time. Eventually I get the fish to me and the photo op goes a lot smoother this time.
(Above: Not too shabby trout shot for the solo click and go. This trout has a scar line down the side possibly from last year? )

Moving along the east side of the lake it became apparent that this is where the fish were collecting. At least that could be said for the active trout. The fish finder didn’t exactly tell me where the fish were (to be honest it hardly blipped a fish) but at least it worked like it is supposed to. Getting things ready now helps me iron out the kinks before spring prime time.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


TexWisGirl said...

a pretty nice looking fish, to me! nice that you got out!

Shoreman said...

A really nice, fat, bow. Always good to make a trial run before things heat up.


Daniel said...

You are hardcore. :D

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