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Pentwater 6/2 Almost all day, 10 for 11


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Last weekend the king fishing was really good out of Muskegon and Montague.  Based on previous years of studying the king migration up the coast in the spring, they seemed to travel about 7 miles per day.  That would put them in or near Pentwater around Wednesday and Thursday.  With a favorable forecast on Thursday, I decided to slip my boat Wednesday night through Saturday.  I didn't get out of work in time to fish Wednesday night.  With fuel prices the way they are, I can't justify a long distance but short duration trip with my boat.  So, my son dock fished in the evening, and I read the message boards and Facebook posts about how great the fishing is in the Grand Haven:  "On fire"  "The best king fishing in 20 years"  "Limit catches"  "We kept 25, but caught more"  And I'm sitting in boat at the slip thinking, "What am I doing in Pentwater?"  I couldn't reach anyone fishing on the radio for a fishing report and my normal local contacts either had no information or were in Grand Haven prefishing for the tournament.  So we had to decide if we were going to pull the boat out and run south to Muskegon (I didn't want to run to Grand Haven - I hate fishing in a crowd), or if we'll get some sleep and hit Pentwater early in the morning.  Partly because I wanted the sleep and partly because I didn't want to pay the gas bill to haul the boat to Muskegon, we decided to get some sleep and fish out of Pentwater in the morning.  
If the fish from Montague had moved north, they would likely be around the structure off the dunes and Little Point Sable.  So we ran further South to setup than we normally do.  I was afraid I might have to travel a ways South of the point to find fish, so I didn't set lines as far north as I normally do.  We had scouted for a bit, but didn't find much on the sonar.  Based on our early start, I figured we'd be OK setting up inside the North edge of the Dunes and working South.  If we didn't find them off the dunes, we should find them off the point and still get in on the morning bite.  If we didn't find them south of the point, we should probably pull the boat out and fish another port that evening.
We started setting our 6-rod spread at 5:15 am.  It was a strictly King program, with nothing targeting steelhead, coho or lakers.  I'm a bit stubborn that way.  We ran two riggers, two wire divers and a 250 and 300 Cu.  We didn't find any fish off the dunes, which really made me rethink the strategy of not driving South for the morning.  In two hours of prime, early morning trolling we covered water 100 to 180 ft deep and had no hits.  As we were getting close to the lighthouse 7:10 am we had our fist hit.  It was a decent King on a free slider.  For the next hour we were busy going 4 for 5 with 3 kings and a laker.  The fish we missed was likely a king.  Then it started to slow down and we had to hunt for them.  We got three more kings over the next hour and half.  Then just before noon we put a fat steelhead in the box.  This gave us 8 fish for the morning.  We were two away from our limit.  We had four hours go by where we tried different baits and water depths.  We fished as far South as Stoney Lake.  At this point I was really tempted to throw a line out for steelhead as we found some dramatic temperature breaks around 200 - 220 FOW.  I was cool limiting with a steelhead and laker at this point, but my son wanted to remain focused on Kings.  It turns out that he hoped to still be fishing at 9 PM when his favorite basketball team played in the finals so he could watch the game from my phone.  Dude.  Come on.  Let's get two fish and get home to catch up on our sleep. 
Just as I was rigging up the steelhead line, the 250 Cu with the RV Bloody Nose got hit for the fourth time of the day.  Another king.  Now we're one fishing away from out limit so we stuck with the King program.  Then we headed back to the water that was so productive in the morning and picked up our final and smallest king at 6:55 PM on a big Yeck Wart Frong on a 300 Cu.  We thought about throwing it back.  We likely could have picked up a bigger one but it was a long trip back to the port, a long trip home and I had 10 fishing to clean.  So we kept it and pulled lines.
We finished 10 for 11, with 8 kings, a steelhead and laker.  We covered a lot of water and tried a lot of different baits combinations.  It's wasn't one of those limit trips where we couldn't keep the poles in the water.  We swapped out a lot of baits, changed leader lengths, speed, troll direction. water depth and locations.  We worked for them.  We marked some, but I wouldn't say we marked a lot of fish.  That was my first time limiting with my son and he was excited about that.  I had pulled him out of school because his class was doing a rafting trip down the Muskegon river and he decided he rather go fishing.    On the way home is was able to watch the first half of the game from my phone, so he was happy about that too.
I had a buddy fishing the same waters I did, but he was about two hours behind me.  He fished from 7:00 until 6:30 PM and ended up 2 for 4.  So, I think we found the right water at the right time.  I've been on trips before where you limit out in the morning and can't keep the rods in the water and every line takes a hit.  That sounds like what Grand Haven has been like.  This wasn't a trip like that.  The fishing was great for an hour, but it wasn't like the reports I'm hearing further south.  The good news is I only saw four other boats the entire day.  So we got our limit, avoided the crowd, and didn't have to spend the extra money on gas.
The biggest kings were 16 and 17 pounds.  Enjoy the pictures.  I try to take them with the lures in the mouth so I have record of what was working.  One other thing to note, in all of our travels, we didn't find much bait.  I heard from another boat they found bait further north in 60 to 70 FOW, but didn't catch anything while fishing there.  The only thing I didn't try was meat.  My buddy's boat had one out and it didn't get touched.  We tried a lot of flasher flies too, with no bites there.
Wire slide diver leads are 25 feet of Gamma fluorocarbon.  I go from the wire, to braid to the fluorocarbon to make that work.  Downrigger leads varied from 30 feet to 100 ft.  The 250 and 300 Cu that took fish did not have two colors of lead on the end.  They went right from the Cu to the fluorocarbon leader.
Here's the text version of the catch log because it reads better on a computer:

Time   Speed FOW Toll Fish Bait Pole
7:10 AM            2.6 161 SW King Small, blue & silver skinny spoon Free slider on a rigger down 80'
7:22 AM            2.4 168 SW Miss Bloody Nose RV 250 Cu
7:50 AM            2.4 161 S King Bloody Nose RV 250 Cu
7:55 AM            2.4 160 S Laker Small, blue & silver skinny spoon Free slider on a rigger down 80'
8:05 AM            2.4 156 S King Mongolian Beef 300 Cu
8:58 AM            2.2 157 S King Bloody Nose Heavy wire slide diver, 2 setting, out 100'
9:58 AM            2.7 160 NW King Five Eyes Heavy wire slide diver, 2 setting, out 100'
10:23 AM            2.3 160 NE King Bloody Nose Heavy wire slide diver, 2 setting, out 100'
11:47 AM            2.2 225 WSW Steelhead Bloody Nose RV 250 Cu
4:05 PM            2.6 200 NE King Bloody Nose RV 250 Cu
6:55 PM            2.3 182 NE King Yeck Wart Frog 300 Cu
 
 
And the image version because it reads better on the app.
catch-log.thumb.PNG.674b71dce6e2e2c2bd04e90eee9cd777.PNG
 
And the hit time / FOW chart.  It was a slow start, a great next hour and good next hour and a half. Then it really slowed down.
hit-chart.thumb.PNG.52ef92d956eda97345662705e4a61804.PNG
 
 
I can't figure out how to rotate the pictures, so just suffer through them.
 
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This is the lure I used as the slider that took two fish:
slider-lure.thumb.jpg.645ea87c7879465776e8b973e1548dbc.jpg
 
This big Yeck Wart Frog took our final and smallest king:
yeck-wart-frog.thumb.jpg.86355f6edbae192f123c5606d256d2f3.jpg
 
The hot bait was the bloody nose RV taking 4 hits on the 250 Cu:
Bloody-Nose-RV.thumb.jpg.02a4b32fcef096d1b2310319c46c15c7.jpg
 
The Moonshine Mongolian Beef took the biggest king at 17#s:
Mongolian-Beef.thumb.jpg.e6467a684b017f72461d4752895f1788.jpg
 
This is a great bait last summer for me.  It has been slow out of the gate this year, but Five Eyes RV finally took a fish:
Five-Eyes.thumb.jpg.2a048782c9f73c185d84bdfa2d8fc840.jpg
 
This Bloody nose was on the wire diver and took two kings:
wire-diver-bloody-nose.thumb.jpg.3c59cf567408438e8c49608086a5a3a4.jpg
Bloody-Nose-no-RV.thumb.jpg.57c75ab6da422e2c02e43fcfb01c934f.jpg
250Cu-Bloody-Nose-Rv.thumb.jpg.7e15f474ac5dbf3310af1eb505193e45.jpg
This was our biggest king at 17 pounds:
20220602_083240.thumb.jpg.92d59a28a19ff567f5e476b64008bdf3.jpg
 

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Great outing and enjoyed all the details of your report.  Must have packed many sandwiches to stay out that long!  The spoon on your slider is similar to what has been working for the king bite out of Holland.  Will have to wet my RV bloody nose as well and see what happens.

Very great report I’m going to start doing that with the lure in the
Mouth or paddle fly that catches , it also makes it a much cooler picture
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