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Storm Warning II

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  1. The annual spring ritual of Niagar Bar King hunting took place this past weekend. We arrived in the Niagara region to reports of improving catches, but of catches made up of primarily immature Kings and some Coho. The "inside" waters we historically fish along the massive drop were turbulent with temps all over the place and inconsistent. However, our partners in crime for the past number of years over this weekend, a Lake Ontario United member - Richard was already on scene and was on fish, Immature Kings and Cohos up to 14 pounds. Their reports were similar to ports east, finding action in the 300 to 400 foot depth range, in the more stable offshore waters. So upon our arrival Friday afternoon, we launched from Youngstown and headed to the area that Richard had told us was working. Once there, we spent an hour or so touring without moving a rod and trying to make rhyme and reason to his bite and finding some fish. As we trolled west towards the Canadian line, the starboard inside wire diver took a rip, then the port rigger followed by a big nasty scream on the outside port braid diver. Triple! A quick glance at the fish finder revealed we had discovered a nice temp break, banged out a really nice 19# out of the three on the outside port diver. Long story short, the next hour and a half of pounding that waypoint produced 12 rips, including another triple and a double, and a nice box of Kings with the 19# leading the way. Friday night the NE winds blew and between the wind and the currents that flow all around the Niagara Bar, we found our waypoint and temp break absent. Commence search mode. Several hours of searching yielded a few immature fish, a few hook ups and drops, and a nice 17 pound King that came on a purple die hard free slider on our deep rigger. Reports were coming across the radio that they were doing a lot of fish in front of Wilson, the next port to our east, and we decided to pick and motor. A 1/2 run down, reset, only to find out the bite had slowed substantially and 2 hrs. of trolling in the waters we were told were "hot", didn't move a rod. We decided to troll back to port and picked a couple skippers and missed one wire rip. Back to port, a few cold ones, and re-group for Sunday. Saturday night and Sunday morning yielded calm winds and a flat lake Sunday morning. We decided to revisit our Friday night are to see if we could find something set back up holding fish. We were pleasantly surprised to find a massive scum line that held nice “pea green†water inside of it. It was visible descending from the north and make a right turn and headed east as it became visible in front of us. It wasn’t long after we watched Richard cross the boundary of the line and enter the green water north of us that he came on the radio: “double!†It didn’t take us long to switch from a “stitch†pattern on the east-west southern edge of the line to make a due north heading. Shortly after crossing the line we were hooked up on a rigger bite. To make a long story short, we ended up producing 19 hits that morning. The size of the Kings seemed to get bigger as the day progressed, however, our hook up to box ratio dropped substantially as the dime bright aggressors had their way with us as the morning progressed. At one point we dropped 2 out of 3 on one triple and 3 out of 3 on another. Big, angry, spastic Springers that were jumping, tail walking and doing all kinds of “stupid†things that spring Kings do. One particular bite had a wire diver out past 700 feet before coming unbuttoned. We never got a chance to gain an inch on that fish before he “long distance releasedâ€. We managed to boat 10 of the 19 with an 18 pounder and a 19 pounder highlighting the day. Undaunted by losing some high quality fish on Sunday, we returned to the Sunday spot on Monday morning. We were greeted in the lake by glass conditions, but a heavy, thick fog. We set up just south of our first way point and proceeded north. Shortly after crossing the way point the starboard wire comes to life with a thump off the side of the boat and the sweet song of an awakened Tekota. It became apparent very quickly that this was a good fish. I stood over Capt. Jimmy’s shoulder and watched the counter pass 375, 400, 450, 500; commence program wrecking! Over half an hour later this 23 ½ pound beast was netted. Good start! We then proceeded to miss the next 3 fish on free slider hits as we traversed a north / south pass across our two most productive way points until we clipped the streak by boating a 13 pounder. As we commiserated about not having repeat performance of Sunday, I happened to notice the port rigger bounce from the release and then dive back towards the depths; rigger! Rigger! Rigger! It was clear that this was another really good fish as the rod maintained its heavy arc and the drag was being torched by another brute. Clear the lines – again! After a long battle where the fish made several extended runs, he became visible behind the boat, the tell tale shark fin emerged from the icy depths and our expectations were confirmed. What a tank! As the big King neared the back of the boat, it made a last ditch attempt to free itself with an attempt at a tail walk, the scope of the fish that we tussling with was now abundantly clear. As per usual, as the fish came to the net, the fish made a turn, and the free slider became lodged in net, rendering it virtually useless! In the blink of an eye, Jimmy carefully pulled the net and big King dangling on the wrong side of it to the transom, reached down and meat hooked it under the gill with the agility of an osprey’s talons and heaved it onto the floor of the Storm; then the happy dance began… A 25 pound 10 ounce King now rested on the floor of the Storm, a true trophy now destined for the wall! The morning concluded with another smallish King and a dropped wire diver rip and free slider King that put on a show racing around behind the boat before coming unbuttoned. Another great trip to the bar!
  2. Don't ever overlook the magic of the Pimple and the Acme Sidewinder for frozen 'eyes. Don't leave home without them with the Sidewinder being my all-time favorite.
  3. Carmel Dolphin is a good Dr. Try it with the A TOM MIK Crazy Bitch fly. That was HOT all year on the O
  4. DW Green Glow Action fly behind A MT. Dew on White Spin Doc. Catches fish every time we fish in the Niagara Plume. A.M., P.M., middle of the day. Best in the top 80 feet of water. An honorable mention goes to the A TOM MIK purple mirage being towed by a Bloody Death Spin Doc. First trip of the year I lost two of these rigs in the first hour on the wire to angry, angry springers. YIKES!
  5. The Storm made its annual pilgrimmage north in search of the "derby winner" to Olcott, NY. Beautiful lake and weather all weekend was definitely the highlight! Sat. 8/30: Plied the inside waters for the early am seeking staging matures. Radio chatter was very slow as well as our morning. Started in 50 fow and worked out to 80 running most in the marks right on the bottom as well as 2 outside divers higher in the column with a mix of spoons and Spin Docs/flies. 5:15 am to 9 am never moved a rod. Turned the good ship north and power trolled out to 460 with 1 knock off and a shaker on a DW 42nd on the 65 rigger. Worked around the "Blue Zone" for an hour or two without marking much other than a few bait balls. Pulled all at 11:30 and motored in. Headed back out around 4 pm and set up in the 100 fow range with same program as am and found virtually identical screen as the am, with fish prevalent in the bottom 5 feet of water and an occassional target up a little higher. Worked directly out in front of Olcott and slow going. Changed up some flasher/fly combos and spoons (Big thanks to the guy on the radio for the No See Um recommendation). About 5 pm had our 1st good rip in about 95 fow just west of the 18 mile pier heads, fish took on a dark green "oil spill" on white Doc towing a DW No See Um fly braid outside diver on #3, back 200 (parked in warm 62 degree water). Had the fish on for 3 or 4 minutes and a decent run. Fish surfaced 150 feet back or so made another run and "pop", there goes the hook. Reset and made it just a few hundred yards east of the mouth and same rod fires again. Good screamer peelin' off braid at a good clip. Fish got out 300 or so feet of line and we began to regain some. "Big Sexy" (a crew member of the trip) commented the fish felt heavy and shortly thereafter surfaced with the tell tale Shark fin 150 or so behind the boat. Slow tug of war ensued before a good run again and gone. Man! What's up? Reset and went another 1/2 mile or so before turning back on our track. Made it just west of the mouth again and fired the SAME ROD again. Another good rip, Jimmy got the rod and got 3 or 4 good small runs, bye-bye again. YIKES! Quickly reset and made 3 or 4 more small passes with 1 more rip before dark with the same unfortunate results, OUCH, 0/4. Sun. 9/31: Headed out to our little sweet water patch before sunrise and set up. Same screen and same spread. Slow going the first couple hours with nothing going on, but stuck with our water. About 8:30 am The SAME ROD fires again. This time "Big Sexy" grabs the rod with the same identical results. WTF?? Let's switch up who's in the hot seat and get this turned around! Swung in a little shallower on an eastbound pass and discovered a VERY nice scum line set up just west of the river heading east towards the Microwave tower. About the time the SAME ROD goes through the scum line, BAM! Hooked up and "Elvis" is on the rod. a good battle ensues and a chunky 16 1/2#er is boxed. Yippee, the boat is starting to smell a little better, a lot less like skunk. Tried tightening drags to a "scary" tightness to see if we could keep them on the hook a little longer. Reset and proceeded east along the line when finally fired another rod on the outside, drop. Fired outside divers again 2 or 3 times with same unfortunate results before changing out very quiet tail gunner to a Kelly green doc w/ white crushed glow and the No See Um on braid diver on "0" back 200. The new gunner hadn't been out 10 minutes and got pounded. Jimmy is into a good one. A 15 or so minute fight results in nice 24#er. Shortly thereafter in the "honey water" the same chute rod fires again and this time "Big Sexy" boats a dark high 18#er. All in all went 3/ 8 on the morning all in the inside waters. Went to work with the hook sharpener during our mid-day break. Ventured back out around 4 pm again for the afternoon bite and set up on same water just north of 18 mile. Quite a bit of boat traffic and had a hard time locating and fishing the scum line, just couldn't get inside. Finally had an opening in the trolling procession and got south into our pattern. Shortly before the pattern, the inside wire back 200 fires with a pearl on white Spinnie and Purple Mirage A TOM MIK, short fight and off he goes, zzzzzzzzzzt! Poof! Gone again. Got into the water and the outside No See Um rod takes a quick rip, but no hook up. WTF? Never ran above 2.6 at the ball, nothing hooked up below 2.1 and nothing above 2.3 but just can't figure out why we can't keep them buttoned. The crew decided to let me try one and I was happy to jump on an inside wire back 215 with a crushed ice glow on white with an A TOM MIK E chip rigged Green Glow takes off. Short battle yields a CHUNKY 18#er that is just about as broad as he is long. See how it works boys, LOL? Reset and soon outside diver with Mt Dew Doc/Green Glow goes again and this time Jimmy successfully boats a 15# mature with a Boone & Crocket blood sucking sea leech on it that must be on its last legs because the poor King was about as white as I have ever seen one. Dispatched the lamprey in bite sized chunks for most gobies and Eeked out 2 or 3 more passes before dark with one other drive-by on the No See Um outside rig. 9/1: Headed out for the morning fish and our sweet water was quiet! No scum line, no bait, no hooks. Where did they go? Hadn't really been east of the Microwave yet, so we decided to try further east. Worked that direction and got just about in front of the tower when the Green Glow A TOM MIK wire rod fires with a GOOD rip, zzzzzt, zzzzzzt, zzzzzzzt and look around to see 2 of 3 crew members catching some Zs themselves, as well as diligently mapping the back sides of their eye lids! I guess one too many celebratory cold ones with fellow anglers and the Double Play boys at the Time Out will do that. Fortunately I give a quick "...wire, wire, wire" and Jimmy awakes from his slumber and is able to clear the cockpit in a single bound just in time to grab the wire and feel the angry King come loose. Continued further east to the Plant and worked some green water for another hour resulting in 1 shaker on the Mt. Dew/Green Glow outside and called 'er quits for another year. One of these days I will figure out how to keep these bony mouthed fall Kings on the hook. Suggestions are greatly appreciated!
  6. Apparently there are some very hungry perch off Muskegon...
  7. 150' copper is shorter than some of the dipsys we have out! I just see a lot of customized options with the copper and once again, less line out, especially here in the east central/east. full core vs. 150' copper, 45 to 50' is never a "bad" walleye depth in deep situation (over 70 feet of water for us). 180' copper would be great right now and for basically the last month and still less than a full core. Not to mention it beats the LONG monel steel lines we run with deep diving plugs at 300'+
  8. I have a feeling I know what it is, but I will let you know for sure after this weekend...
  9. I always thought that this was the way to do it, unless you are letting them out simultaneously?
  10. Different tools in my opinion. Deeper faster with the Mags and obviously the opposite with a #1. Sometimes a stealthier longer run is better, sometimes, especially when structure fishing the mag is better to get better "spread control". 99% of the time I run my #1s and haven't had many tangle problems. The long outside on a 3.5# always seems to take the biggest steelies of the year and occassionally is the hottest King rod way out away from the boat. This spring outsides at 265 were smokin'!
  11. Don't know what scattered them, but our "hot" marks from the last 2 trips scattered...BIG TIME. Sounded like from the rest of the radio reports it was similar fishing across the board. Dropped lines about 7:30 after some early battery switching around due to a DUD. Started about a mile south of old marks and trolled NNE with the big rollers till 12:30 We did pull 12 'eyes including an impressive 8#, 28 3/4" MALE as well as dropping 5 others, :blink: ! Also banged a nice 8# or so buck steelie that put on a brief air show on purple icicle down 65 and about an hour later lost a MAG bug eater :woohoo: on the same rigger, same set up. The MAG jumped 5 times before trying to run the boat and I just couldn't keep up speed reelin'. Got a good look at him 3 or 4 of the jumps and I'd have to say he was pushing 12 or 13#. Oh well, today was not a tourney. By the time we pulled lines at 12:30, we were about due north of the light house, about 16 miles out. No concentrations of fish or bait, but fish scattered all over the place. The one constant was that they were ON THE BOTTOM. Inside wires, 1.5 back 190 both watermellon meat took a few. Outsides on 3.5 back 250 with HOT 42nd DW spoon. 1 'eye on a firetiger Bagley back 450 down the chute and the rest on modified Blue Dolphin Super Slim on the deep rigger riding the bottom and outside braids with 42nds.
  12. All 30s now P1! Gonna take some big fish to even make the top 20. Recent report from a bait shop said that there are a "lot" of 28s being weighed in.
  13. I got this off GLA. I was beginning to feel bad about all the BIG fish out of Lake O. Monster kings caught aboard NETMINDER....." I just got an email from Capt. George Peplinski with a picture of the 30.75# King his son Capt. Chris caught on 8-15-08. When I called to congratulate them on this fine fish George told me that this morning 8-17-08 Chris caught a 31# king near the same spot!! Two thirty pound + fish in three days!! wow..... So when did all the big fish leave Lake Michigan??!! They fish between Manistee and Frankfort. I tried to post the pic along with this notice and the dang thing won't let me. I'll have the pics up on my website within a day or two. For all you skeptics out there each fish was weighed and certified by the MI DNR for master angler awards. I had the chance and good fortune to fish with George and Chris this summer and they run an awesome program.......with many happy customers. Way to go NETMINDER!!
  14. After the first weekend... A 35.12# King in the lead... Look at the rest of the top 20, Ouch! http://www.loc.org/derby/leaderboard/currentadult.asp
  15. There are some innovative anglers here on the PA shore that are starting to experiment with it. It sure beats spending all day letting out a full core. The tourney we recently won was a real puzzler to most because of extremely warm water stacked on the east end of the lake, steelies and walleyes were from 70 to 95 feet down!!! Most guys that have fished for 20 to 30 years plus on Erie don't even set their graphs to look that deep and have never heard of wire divers. I am going to rig a few customized reels with copper for these DEEP water applications and Lake O salmon applications this winter.
  16. Bing, bang, boom... Decent ride out in the morning and set up around the 4N 36W (good ways east of the 'Bula brigade). Waves built and then subsided throughout the morning starting with less than 2' rollers and as tall as 3 to 5s starting to form some teeth. Had both riggers in and was letting out the first wire and fired the probe rigger, that's kind of the gist of today. Screen was PACKED with marks and bait from there east and we peppered them all morning along with a mix of whities, yellow desirables, and Fish Ohio Farm Animals. Pretty sure that we hooked up on 2 steelies as well, only to have them both come unbuttoned. Dropped 8 fish :eek: in the commotion of rods being on the floor of the boat, nets with fish in them and tightly loaded rigger rods firing with no one being able to get to them. Chaos for about 2 1/2 hrs. Finished our 3 man ticket of 'eyes and 5 bonus jumbos with a triple, our 2nd of the day. Hot tickets were Purple Icicle Super Slim on the probe rigger down 60 and Lime Icicle Super Slim on deep rigger parked at 68 as well as inside braid diver on a 1 1/2 back 165 with a NK 28 Mt. Dew Spin Doc look alike on a white blade with a crushed ice glow cup as well as regular DW Purple Icicle on outside braid diver back 190. Only 2 'eyes and a ton of junk on port side divers w/ watermelon meat rigs. Definitely a spoon bite today and they wanted it MOVING... 90% of hits were at 2.3 or better at the ball. All the aforementioned rigs boated 'eyes, but the Purple Icicle definitely shined today.
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