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John Kelley

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  1. So I drove the 9 hours to Sheboygan, WI, to meet up with several different guys over the week of the 4th, on Saturday, the 2nd. I arrived about noon, at the Sheboygan Super 8, and met my first fisherman, Chad Hendrixson, who is the brother-in law of a girl I went to school with way back in the day. We got checked in, bought some supplies, got the boat ready, and set off fishing by about 2:30 p.m. The reports we had both read were that the fish were between 70'-130' fow. I decided to motor out to 50' and set up the gear, and troll into the productive water with our rods set and ready. We took a south turn out of the harbor and made SE line out to 50 feet. I switched over to the kicker motor, showed Chad how to adjust the speed, and got to setting out lines. We decided to start out with 2 divers and FF rigs, 2 down riggers with meat rigs, and 2 spoons up high off the inline boards. That was our setup, and we started to see some high fish right off the bat, when we got into about 55 fow. I had started with the outside rods, and was working my way in. I think I had both boards and one diver rig out, when the starboard planer fired, and we cranked in our first fish of the trip, about a 5 pound steelhead. We boxed him, got the board back out, and the port planer fired, just as I was setting the starboard planer back out. Another steelhead of about the same size. We boxed him too, and I had just set the second diver rod out, and was telling Chad, that, we would be holding out now for some kings, when the diver rod I had just set took off screaming, with a Mountain Dew/Chrome spin doctor, and an Atomik mirage fly. I handed the rod to Chad and watched as he fought it. He had told me that his biggest King to this date was an 18 pounder, and I was hoping this fish could beat that. When I scooped the net under her, and flopped her on the deck, I got my answer. I could tell she was over 20 pounds as soon as I saw her on the deck, but tried to keep my calm composure. I told Chad, "She's a real good one!!" I could see Chad shaking with excitement, and his face was all lit up with a huge grin. When I hung her from the scale, she dropped it to just over 22 pounds by a couple of ounces. New PB for Chad, and that was cool. Then we banged a smaller king, and a greasy lake trout, and called er a night, with 5 fish. On the way in to the harbor, we noticed a bunch of good marks in the 65' area of water, and decided to check that out the next morning. My brother-law was just showing up after we cleaned the fish, and we would fish 3 guys the next morning. 3:00 a.m. rolled around fast, and the 3 of us met in the parking lot, and were motoring out to the 65' zone, where we had seen all the fish the night before. My brother-in law drove the boat, while Chad and set the rods out. This time we fished two meat rigs on riggers, 2 spoons on riggers, 2 divers with FF combos, 2 spoons up high on the boards, and one 200 copper with a spoon down the chute. This morning I was able to get all the rigs in, except the 2 meat rigs, and the copper when the starboard diver, with the glow frog spin doctor, and mirage fly fired hard. My brother-in law, Brent soon brought in a 15 pound king to my net. I was just get everything sorted, and was getting ready to deploy the 200 copper, when the port corner rigger fired, with the carbon 14 spoon. The boys both told me to just take that fish, since I was the closest one to it. I tried handing the rod off to one of them, but they both insisted that I reel it in, so I did. A nice 16 pound chromer king, to add to the first one. Then we popped a really nice coho on the other spoon rigger, and a steelhead on the starboard board, plus a pesky lake trout, on the other board. In a span of a couple of hours we had 7 nice fish, and started talking smart, and must have pissed off the fish gods, because then we went 0 for 7 on really nice hits, and ended up the day with 7 fish. We threw back 5 skippy kings, but never boated another keeper the rest of the day. Chad packed up a bunch of nice fillets in his cooler that night, and was set to leave for home the next morning. Brent and I had a short planning session that night in the hotel room, and then crashed. 3:00 a.m. brought my alarm clock on my phone singing "good morning" to us from what sounded like a small choir of Asian ladies. We shook off the 3 hours of sleep, re-iced the coolers, and headed for the lake. Brent and I made a bee line for the 55' line again, and stared dropping lines before it was first light. I didn't have a hit at all until I dropped the carbon 14 on the starboard corner rigger to 45'. Then I could not get the other rigger in the drink, because that one kept firing on jumbo cohos between 7 and 9 pounds. Pretty soon we had 4 of those in the box. Then I missed a really good male coho, that looked all of 10 pounds, with a pronounced kype, trying to net it one handed. The morning slowed way down, and we didn't get much except some little steelheads and skippy kings until dusk, when the big steelhead and cohos turned on again, and we finished off with a 12 pound steely, a 10 pound steely, a 10 pound king, and 2 more of those jumbo cohos! We had a pretty nice box at the fish cleaning station that night. Brent left the next morning at around 5:00 a.m., with his 10 fish limit, and I went back to bed, for some much needed rest! I woke up about 9:00, did some shopping, and some tackle repairs, and was back on the water around 2:30 p.m. I decided to try the inshore bite with light tackle and broke out the boards and the lighter rods. I caught a nice limit of cohos, steelheads and kings, and was off the lake fairly early. Next day was stormy in the morning, so I slept in and waited it out, Then I did more baot and tackle repairs, did some more shopping, and fished inside with light gear in the afternoon again. The results were very similar but I popped a huge, 14 pound 9 ounce brown, right out of the harbor in the afternoon, and I think I caught a nice king of about 12 pounds, too. That was Wednesday night, and I had my 10 fish possession limit, but my friend Josef met me that night to fish with me the next morning. His buddy, Arun, was going to meet us as well. We caught 8 nice nice fish, including a 12 pound brown, and a 10 pound king, and the rest were cohos and steelhead. We did miss a couple of fish that night, and those guys went home with a total of 8 fish. That was Thursday night, and they left, and my friend Dan met me that night to fish Friday and Saturday. A huge thunderstorm moved in on Thursday, moving the good water out, and and we struggled to get Dano his 5 fish each day, but we pulled it off. He went home on Sunday with his 10 fish possession limit as well! The end
  2. Did you try any flasher fly combos on the divers? I think they have been hot lately.
  3. Best way to know is head out there. Can't always rely on weather reports. If I relied on weather reports, I would not have gone out at least half of the times that I have!!
  4. The top pic appears to be a small king as well, and definitely not an Atlantic, either.
  5. it was a tough bite last night, with thunder storms rolling in and out, and the wind howling. My 82 year old neighbor, Ken and I managed 4 for the fillet table, despite the awful weather.
  6. Heading out tho Lake Thompson here in a couple of hours. I am in the Central time zone, so an hour behind you guys. I will keep you updated on how I do tonight. Hot and and still again tonight. 93 degrees at my house.
  7. Haha, no just bored in my hotel room out of town, and looking for topics to sound smart on!!LOL
  8. I can usually make it to the Oak, towing my boat in about 18 hours. 1245 miles, or thereabouts!
  9. I find that trolling can be a more effective way to locate fish in vast expanses of open water. Once those fish are located, though, stopping and throwing jigs or jigging lures is the way to really load up on them, and catch all or most of those schooling fish. Also more control with less tackle and BS between you and that fish. Plus, they fight much harder on light spinning gear than on trolling tackle.
  10. Really not that expensive to just swap them out for new ones. Another Faux pas I see guys do all the time with their power augers is stand there and push on them with all their might while drilling their holes. This is counter-effective and actually causes the blades and auger to flex, bend, bind against the ice, and not cut properly. All you have to do is get that thing started, and just hold it perfectly vertical, and let that drill do it's work, man. Good luck next winter.
  11. Ask anyone who is old enough to remember the days before 3 color flashers, and they will tell you that the first name in ice fishing sonar has always been Vexilar, since it came about in the 80's and bought out Sitek, who had bought out Hondex. Before then, the first name in ice fishing sonar was the Lowrance Green box. Vexilar perfected the 3 color flasher way back then, and I have been a Vexilar guy ever since. There are plenty of brands to choose from but if you want to choose a solid unit that was actually the very first one designed Primarily and specifically for ice fishing, and has the longest history of any sonar in ice fishing, than choose Vexilar. Okay, I am done with my rant, sorry about that. I am sure everyone makes a fine unit these days, and there probably are cheaper brands that will do a passable job for you. I suppose the digital versions are better on the battery life and so on. I am just brand loyal, and if something works great for me, I tend to stick with it. Always been a Lowrance and Vexilar guy, and will probably never own a Humminbird, even though I have heard good things about them. Good luck in your decision, and Les (SK8man) has a good point about used units on here, too.
  12. That's what has always pissed me off with jigging Rapalas, as I have used them every winter for the past 35 years. When everyone else came out with all kinds of glow color combinations, they never did. I agree with you on the Mooshine products, too, best glow in the business, by far and away. When you are fishing after dark, for a primarily nocturnal predator fish, that makes a huge difference in my book. Nils Master makes some nice wider shad bodied variations as well. Those Salmo Chubby Darters are also a very effective vertical jigging lure for the 'eyes. I don't think there is a jigging style lure out there that has a better action on the upswing, and definitely not even close to the action on the drop as a Chubby Darter. Buy a couple and watch them in clear water some time. I love jigging lures, as jigging is my all time favorite way to catch walleyes. I have done very well with chrome rattle traps on the walleyes out here on the prairie, as well.
  13. If I lived out there I would be there for this. Maybe someday!! Have fun, fellas.
  14. What a beast, man. Stripers are definitely on my bucket list of cool species!!
  15. Hahaha, no, while in his store and buying something. We used to always BS in the mornings and afternoons. Didn't matter for me, as I always got gas from him anyways, and was always topping off, even when I probably didn't have to.LOL
  16. Nice to see some chrome finally showing up out there!! Looks like a good day on the water!!
  17. I have run them shallow with flashers and flies this spring and done well on cohos. 60' back on a 3 setting, for instance. Not much with spoons, but I am sure it can easily be done. .
  18. Hey guys, I often follow a certain Columbia river guide on YouTube, and am going to try a technique he was showing on my 12 pound rigger balls this summer. I have bought a couple of those Big Al Fish Flash triangular flashers, and 2 of the Agitator brand. I am going to attach these flashers directly to the rear ring of my downrigger ball, as an attractant only. I will then add a very large snap swivel, of about 2" in length, below my Black's release, and connect that swivel to my forward ring on the rigger ball. This should give enough room between the release and my attractor flashers, so the line does not tangle. Then I will use fairly short leads, and spoons, and see how it works. The idea is that the fast spinning strobe type, triangular flashers will attract the fish into the spread, and then they will see the spoons, and eat them. I will let you know how this works out after my 4th of July trip to Lake Michigan. Seems to work good on the Columbia river, but we all know how that does not always translate well to the Great Lakes. Thanks.
  19. Nice bunch of wee morning 'eyes! Those bastard over 25" fish always end up slicing the snot out of my thumbs and index fingers with their gill plate spines. A small price to pay to be a walleye guy, I suppose!!
  20. I work with DC on my job all of the time, in the telephone industry, and what I can tell you about batteries, fuses and cables is all pretty simple. When cables start to smoke and start fires it is because everyone uses as light of gauge wire as they think they can get away with for cost, and ease of pulling through the boat, etc. My advice is to always use as big of gauge wire as you can get away with, to lessen your resistance and improve your current flow. If I could, I would wire everything on my boat with 6 gauge flex wire. That would pretty much alleviate all chance of cables smoking, etc.!! Don't forget to fire up your big motor from time to time while still fishing and running your livewells, lights, sonar, etc., to put a charge back on your batteries, as well. Thanks.
  21. Thanks Pap. You can shrink your presentation down to a 1/16 ounce jig-head and the very smallest ribbon leeches you can get, and absolutely hammer the monster bluegills on this setup, as well. You will also want to shrink down your float size. Those big 'Gills can't resist that leech swimming right in front of their face. If you are into panfish, give that a try sometime on your favorite bluegill hole.
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