Monday, July 27, 2009

Team Dramamine

Remember the time when you were 20 years old and bullet proof? I remember the days putting on my Marine Corps uniform and feeling that way. Well these past days going out and trolling for salmon would put me back in my place and remind me how old I’m “being out of the Marine Corps for 17 years”. We set out for Ludington, Michigan at 1930. We arrived at the launch site a little later than planned “due to our driver had a little lapse in navigation memory”, but that was ok by me Lake Michigan was going nowhere! Mike the fishing would prove to be just as hot buddy! We shipped out of the boat launch to fish the area called the bath tub to the stick! The bathtub was more like a very very shallow depression. We ran out there in 1 foot or less waves that day. I was feeling like a little boy going fishing for the first time. Eric L was kind enough to be willing to take a true greenhorn trolling for King Salmon. I thought to myself sure it would be tough we got the whole lake to find fish, but never truly grasped the concept until after our trip how much of a science it really is! I noticed on the color monitor that was the fish finder a huge ball of something down at 50 FOW “feet of water”. We placed our down riggers at 35-40 FOW using Lyman plugs. I had Eric write a little about the plugs. Eric L writes, "I was introduced to Lyman plugs a few years ago during a fall trip to Ludington. Plugs have always been a late season staple for great lakes trollers but most of the plugs used are hollow plastic with a Dacron & bead chain harness to hold the hooks. Lyman lures are wood plugs, made in Canada with the hooks permanently attached. The action of these wood plugs is where I believe their advantage lies. Not only does the plug swim like any crank bait but it also has a random darting / searching motion that have to be seen to be appreciated. I have found these plugs to produce year round and I always have at least one in my spread. Good colors are your typical greens, silvers, blues, and my personal favorite glow mother of pearl. These plugs are a little hard to find but well worth the effort, as was proven once again on this last trip where they accounted for over 70% of our total catch including one beautiful 18 lb male Chinook." We hooked up on our second pass with the full lead core going off c click click click click click click click click…… the reel went screaming as Eric yells fish fish fish! Eric gave me the rod and it was fish on! I was amazed on how I could still feel the fish even though it was anywhere from 100’-200’ away and on heavy tackle! So there we were a double within 1.5 hours or trolling. Good electronics and a keen since of what to look for were key in hooking fish on this trip. With the day rolling on we would hook 7 and land 6 on Friday. We would go back the ramp late on Friday and get to camp. The following day would be a whole weather different day! We awoke to 10-20 knot winds and we heard the surf pounding the break wall! We set out in the boat that was build for this type of fishing! Everyone except Mr. Bulletproof took Dramamine! This would prove to me that I’m that old! We hit the open water and due to Eric super coxswain abilities we trolled on! Eric new his limits! All boaters should have their head screwed on tight when getting on the big water! We got slammed by 2-4 waves all day from sunup to sundown! All of a sudden the full lead core goes off on my side, and I set the hook on a fish that said let go for a walk! He took more line off the reel, and I got nervous! I was really nervous! The lake was raging and I was fighting a big fish. This fish would take probably about 100 more yards of line out until I got it all reeled in. I reeled him close the boat and finally saw just how large he was! He would be about 19 pounds and still really not happy with the Lyman plug in his mouth! That King headed straight for the planer board we had out on our other line! I thought you have to be kidding me! Eric said ok hold on hold on and said hmm lets adjust a little! Eric would reel in the planer board and I continued to fight the fish. Erics’ dad Mike was at the helm at that time and oddly enough when the fishing was good he would always be driving! Well after holding my breath and praying to the great king in the sea Eric would net the fish and the Lyman plug just fell out of his mouth! I nearly fell to my knees knowing it was all pressure keeping that fish hooked! I held the rod high keeping maximum pressure on the fish ensuring a better hook and land fish ratio! I was amazed at the strength of these fish. We all cheered and slapped the king in the cooler! Then the long 8 nautical mile ride home started! Well with 4 foot swells and me just finishing my last cigar for the day we headed in. I was ok for the first 4 nautical miles, but then Mother Nature made my belly turn to jelly! Everything started to get warm on my body! My lips began to dry up and I knew this was not good. Mike started to get bad also, and Eric was like this is fun “yea right”! For a solid 20 minutes I felt like true crap! I was amazed at the feeling. I never ever had this before so not feeling so bulletproof I stared at the blackest horizon I could find and concentrated on it. We made it back to our safe harbor. Eric and I pulled to boat to the dock on the windward side and Eric said,” wow that guy is coming in to fast watch him smoke the dock”! The guy smacked the stuffing right out of the wooden pier that the dock was attached too. He ripped his antenna off the side due to the boat dipped like a football player lowering his shoulder! So we headed to the nice campground for the trip! We then decided to sleep in the next day. I went to take a shower and the monsoon started! We missed it by seconds lightning and wind. I curled up like a little puppy in my sleeping bag and fell fast asleep! I could have slept on a bag of nails that night. We awoke to blue bird skies and a lot of wind well not as much as yesterday! We trolled the same areas, and got blanked that’s fine with me I thought. We went to fish out of Pentwater, Michigan for the evening bite. We would go and find our next lodging camp ground. Now when you think of camping you probably don’t think about how close to your neighbor you will be. At Charles Mears State Park you would be so close to your next door neighbor you could hit them with a spit wad up wind! I caution all people who would go there to camp if you want quiet days, and quiet nights’ buddy this is not the place! If you like parking at the mall at Christmas time and setting a tent there this place is for you. The lake at this location would show us a little love but not much. I did catch a Lake Trout on one of my tube flies on a down rigger! That was cool to see that fish on my new creation! We would run form a storm or two but with Erics good coxswain abilities and taking no chances we remained safe! I do have to comment on three idiots kids who saw us towing a large boat with a large truck and kept on staying at the fuel pump not letting us pull up to the pump! I walked up to the car and asked them are you done? They said yes they are waiting on some one. I said well can you move so we can fuel up due to your done? He said no we are waiting on our friend. I said you pulled up here to gas your car, and since we are taking up three counties with our vehicle I think you should be kind enough to move so we let traffic through, and park in front of the building where your friend walked in. He sat there and I pulled out my Marine tone and said move now! He moved me mugging me the whole way, what a little tool-bag! Well we drove home after fishing the same water on Sunday morning! Beat down and tired, and yet one more scenic tour “lol” we made it home safely! Thank you Eric, and Mike you guys are good folks!
Tom G.
2-5's and 2-2's ! !