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MIchigan City 10/9/2016


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Hi all, first post here.  After going out with friends for the last few years and fishing off of their boats, I finally decided to get my own boat so I could get out more often.  Bought an old 1977 Searay last year at the end of the season for a very low price. Lots of work needed to be done on it. Finally got it in the slip mid July this year after getting it outfitted and most repairs done.  Turned out there were more repairs to be done once I actually took it out on the water...  Turned out the resistance wire in the engine harness had gone bad... Took two months a couple of breakdowns, a tow, and a whole lot of head scratching to figure that one out...  Anyways, finally made it out yesterday for the first day of fishing, way too late in the season.

Left the slip at about 8:45 AM.  Marked a good number of fish from the DNR building all the way out to the breakwall.  Outside of the breakwall, there was nothing.  Marked a couple of good sized bait balls right outside of the mouth of the north end of the breakwall though. Set lines and ran back in, out, and around the break wall.  Marked fish, but no hits.  Decided to troll out to the Purdue Research Buoy which is right on the Michigan / Indiana state line.  Buoy data showed a nice thermocline right between 45 and 48 ft, so we figured we'd find some fish there.  Not a single mark, and the Fish Hawk probe did not reflect that water temp change.  Surface temp on the Fish Hawk was consistent with the surface temp from the buoy.  Probe showed only a 2 degree drop down close to 60 ft, which was right on the bottom.  Buoy data did show that the temp was the same from surface down to 45 ft., but then showed the thermocline occurring between 45ft (around 62 degrees) and 48ft (right around 48 degrees).  Seemed a bit drastic to me, but I would hope that a research buoy would have accurate information.  Going to assume that the probe maybe damaged even though it's brand new out of the box this spring and this is the first time it's been used...

At this point we continued to troll due West to stay in Indiana water (neither of us had our Michigan licenses).  Trolled the line for about 5 miles or so, then turned back toward Michigan City.  Wind started picking up pretty good.  Forecast had originally called for SE winds at 10 knots, but by this point, wind direction had changed to NE at about 15 knots.  Waves built a bit from gentle Eastbound rollers when we decided to troll out to the buoy to NE 2-3 footers with small caps.  Nothing major, but definitely not what was originally forecasted.  Regardless, just wanted to be on the water and put the boat to the test, so we trolled all the way back to MC and got beat around for the next few hours.  I don't think we marked a single fish the entire way out to the buoy or back until we got back inside of the breakwall. Got back to the slip at 4:45 PM.

Long story short, we were completely skunked.  Didn't mark a single fish most of the day so I can't blame the presentation.  Trolling bags allowed me to get the speed at the probe all the way down to 1.3 when going into the waves, and kept us right around 1.8 - 2 at idle when going with them.  Varied speed from bottom at idle up to 2.8, made turns of varying degrees, etc.  Just didn't put ourselves on top of the fish...  Should have stayed inshore and kept trolling from the DNR building to the breakwall and back where we were marking fish (saw a few of them hitting bugs on the surface as well).  Might have picked up a couple of hungry ones.  Going to try to get out again this week and follow that game plan. 

Here's the buoy data website if anyone is interested / doesn't already know about it:

http://iiseagrant.org/buoy/index.php

It updates every 10 minutes, and could be a pretty decent resource as long as it's accurate.

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