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Fall Walleye Wannabe

Having retired recently, I’m interested in learning about fall walleye fishing. I’ve read posts that talk about November walleye. I have recently seen what I’m guessing are suspended walleye on my Garmin while looking for perch south of Kelly’s. For the next month are both trolling and casting productive? You all have helped me with May-Aug walleye and I’m not going to store the boat yet in hopes of getting out in the coming weeks for more perch fishing and trying walleye. Appreciate any pointers.
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Fishing with Karl, John, and Bill…10/29/2022

After several perch trips, I was really looking forward to getting back out and chasing some walleye, and today was the day. I woke up at 2:45, even though my alarm was set for 3:50, and figured I’d just get up and take care of the new puppy, before I had to get ready.

Dexter slept in, so Alfie and I went out on the back deck to check the weather. I was disappointed to see thick fog hanging in the air, and questioned whether I still wanted to drive over to Huron to launch, imagining car wrecks, hit deer, or some other unnatural disaster awaiting us this morning. lol

Alfie took my attention away from all that, with his growling, and hopping around playfully, at the dead leaves on the ground. I sipped my coffee, and checked the wind forecast for the rest of the day. It was going to be really nice with a SE wind at less than 6mph most of the day. Yay!

By 4am, the fog was lifted, and I could see the stars shining up above. The air was crisp, and chilly. The air temp was 39 degrees. My friend, Jen, came and picked up my dogs for the day, so I could fish without worrying about the little one. Thanks, Jen!

I picked my Vexus up from her heated storage, and stopped off to gas her up and get ice for the cooler, before heading to the Holiday Inn Express to pick up my crew.

Karl has fished with me for around 6 or 7 years now, and likes to bring different friends or family members with him each time he comes. This time, he brought his friends, John and Bill along.

We headed to Huron to launch and showed up there at around 7am. The sky was still dark, but the ramp was full of lights. Truck and boat lights. I’m used to being the only one there when I show up early, but I felt like I was really late, this time.

It didn’t take very long to get launched, since most of the folks that fish this time of year are pretty seasoned anglers and know how to work with each other at the boat launch.

We were headed out of the river by 7:19. The destination was straight north of the river, until we hit 45 feet of water. So, that’s what we did. There were still residual NE rollers coming in from yesterday’s NE wind, so we couldn’t go very fast. John is older, and I didn’t want to beat him up on the ride out, so we took our time, and got there within a half hour.

The Helix had marked fish on the ride out, but nothing that I would shut down early for…I was determined to get to 45 feet first. When I did get to 45 feet, and came off plane, I wasn’t too impressed, and was hardly marking anything.

I figured it was as good a place as any to start, so the Ulterra was deployed, along with the baby Merc, and set on a westerly course at a speed of 1.6-1.9mph.

Bandits were my choice of bait this morning, because they’ve been my go-to bait for several years now. Knowing that white colors produce best in the fall, I opted to start with a few in the mix.

The stock color called, “Daydream”, was set behind the Off Shore board on the starboard side, on the outside, at 120 back, unassisted.
Next to the outside board, was a “Slim Shady Custom” called, “Glacier Shad”… at 97 back, unassisted.
The second board pulled a “DJ Custom” called, “RC Crush”, at 75 back, and the inside Bandit was another “Daydream” at 45 back initially, but later set to 75 back when the spread was changed to 120, 107, 97, and 75 back unassisted.

On the port side, Karl set up using 2 oz Guppie weights at the 35 mark, instead of the usual 50 back, and set up his spread at 35/35, 35/50, 35/60, and 35/80. His colors were the following…
Fruit Salad
Green Lantern (w/red chin) Another Slim Shady Custom
One color I can’t remember the name of…but, it had a lot of white in it…lol
And, another Daydream.

Everything listed above caught fish, with the Daydream running at 120 unassisted catching the most.

We caught our 4-person limit of walleye by 10:30am, and headed back in, before the rush at the ramp happened, again. Loading out was easy enough, since it wasn’t as busy as it was early this morning. There wasn’t a spot left in the parking lot, and all the grassy areas that could hold a trailer were loaded up with parked vehicles and trailers, too. I’ve never seen it so busy there before. But, it was a beautiful morning, and the fish are biting, so I guess it’s to be expected. 🙂

Everyone had a good time, and John and Bill were very impressed with our fishery. They are from Chicago, and I don’t recall if they said they have ever fished here before. If they haven’t, I know they will be again…the walleye did not disappoint, and kept them very busy.

We had many doubles and a couple triples this morning, which is always a good time.

Karl will be back again next season, and that makes me happy! 🙂

Tomorrow, I have a crew of three. A father and his two sons will be going to try for walleye again. The morning should be very similar to this morning, so I hope the bite will be just as good, if not better.

Stay tuned….

Capt Juls

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Fishing with Bruce, David, and Dan….10/30/2022

I woke up early this morning, and looked at the glowing numbers on the alarm clock. It read “3:20″AM, or so I thought. After getting up, feeding the pup, and drinking two cups of coffee, I glanced at the kitchen clock, to see how much time I had left before my crew showed up, here at the house. The clock read, “2:30AM”. Wait…WHAT? I was so confused. I woke up way too early, and knew it was going to be a very long day. lol

Since my crew wasn’t supposed to be here until 6:45 I decided to go gas up the Vexus at the gas station down the road from me, and get ice in the cooler, before they showed up. It would save us a stop on the way to Dempsey’s, where we planned on launching this morning. Huron was a zoo yesterday morning, and Dempsey’s was empty this morning. What a difference! No pressure and much more relaxed.

Bruce, and his sons David and Dan showed up 15 minutes early, so we hit the road and got to Dempsey’s a little before 7AM. There was hanging fog above the road, but it didn’t interfere with driving at all, and I was keeping my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t be on the lake, either. I was happy to see, that when we got to the ramp there wasn’t any fog on the lake.

The sky was clear this morning, so the horizon was starting to lighten up pretty fast. Sunrise wouldn’t be for another hour, but it was light enough to head out. The navigation lights were turned on, and the motor was warmed up first, then, off we went. The air temp was a touch warmer than yesterday’s chilly 39 degrees, but I didn’t look at the actual temperature this morning.

I headed back to where I was yesterday, which was about 11 miles out of Huron. It was also 11 miles from the channel marker at Cedar Point, just from a different angle, so the ride was about the same. Again, there were ENE rollers coming in, so we didn’t go very fast getting out there.

The program was the same as yesterday’s program (copy pasted here, so I don’t have to type it all again…with a little more added…I’m tired…lol)

Bandits were my choice of bait this morning, because they’ve been my go-to bait for several years now. Knowing that white colors produce best in the fall, I opted to start with a few in the mix.
The stock color called, “Daydream”, was set behind the Off Shore board on the starboard side, on the outside, at 120 back, unassisted.
Next to the outside board, was a “Slim Shady Custom” called, “Glacier Shad”… at 97 back, unassisted.
The second board pulled a “DJ Custom” called, “RC Crush”, at 75 back, and the inside Bandit was another “Daydream” at 45 back initially, but later set to 75 back when the spread was changed to 120, 107, 97, and 75 back unassisted. Today though, as the morning progressed, we set the unassisted side to 120, 110, 97, and 85 back.

On the port side, we set up using 2 oz Guppie weights at the 35 mark, instead of the usual 50 back, and set up his spread at 35/35, 35/50, 35/60, and 35/80. Colors were the following…
Green Lantern (w/red chin) Another Slim Shady Custom
And…. another Daydream. 🙂
Everything listed above caught fish, with the Daydream running at 120 unassisted, and 35/65 w/2oz, catching the most.

Speed varied…as slow as 1.4 to as fast as 2.1mph. Water temp today was 51.9 degrees over 45 feet of water.

My crew are avid fishermen, but life got in the way, and they hadn’t been walleye fishing together, in at least 10 years, I was told. They did a great job picking back up on the lingo, and were working like a well oiled machine by the time we had our 24 fish in the cooler. They had never used inline planer boards before, so that was new to them, but they did a great job, and were setting them out like the pros. 🙂

They want to come back in the spring, next season, so that makes me happy!

I’m off tomorrow, but will be back out walleye fishing with Frank Smith and his friend on Tuesday.

Stay tuned….

Capt Juls

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Fishing with Frank and Ray 11/1/2022

I have fished Frank and Ray a few times, now. Frank likes to go out with me, before heading out for a few days in his own boat. He likes the practice, and the ideas on where to go, and what to do.

After watching the forecast on TV last night, I wasn’t sure if we would be going today, because they were calling for some dense fog to be hanging around until noon. I wasn’t going to go if it were thick fog, because of the brawl going on, and knowing how unsafe some people can be in bad conditions. But, it didn’t happen.
When I got up this morning, there wasn’t any fog…just a misty rain, so I sent a text to Frank, letting him know that we were still on, and that I would meet them at the Huron ramp at 7:30.
Sunrise, isn’t until a little after 8am right now, and since it was cloudy, it was going to be darker than usual at 7:30.

We took our time heading out the river, and by the time we got to our area over in front of Cranberry, in 33 feet of water, it was light enough to set the Off Shore boards out on their merry way, pulling Bandits behind them.

The Ulterra steered us in a northeasterly direction, so that we would gradually get to deeper water, the further we went. The speed was set at 1.7mph.

Bandits on the starboard side were set at 120, 115, 100, and 95 back, and the Bandits on the port side ran with 2oz Guppie weights at 35/65, 35/50, 35/40, and 35/35.

Colors were:
Daydream (4)
RC Crush (2)
Glacial Shad
Green Lantern

It was a slow pick, but enough to keep us in the area.

After making our way all the way to Vermilion, and trolling over 40 feet of water, I turned the nose of the Vexus to the east, and headed towards Vermilion’s breakwall. We caught three nice walleye going that direction when we got over 37 feet of water, but the marks disappeared as quick as they showed up, and we never got another bite. I tried going back over them, but they didn’t cooperate.

It was at that time, when I had made the turn to go back over them, that I heard a Loon call. I looked out, and saw a orange Ninja board being pulled around, like the barrel in the back of “Jaws”.
It would go under, and then pop up when the Loon popped up, and go under again when the Loon would dive.
It was a young female. We were going one way, and it was going the other, so I said, “We should try to help it”, but then I realized, I had 8 boards out, and two old men in the boat. I didn’t know how fast we could bring them in, to go chase her. We would certainly lose sight of her, before we could get back to her.

First, we decided we couldn’t do it, but then a minute later I said, “Let’s pick them up fast, we need to go try to help that Loon”. Frank agreed. Luckily, it stayed in line between us and another boat, so I could keep track of her. And, she didn’t move very far.

Once we had everything in the boat, I turned the boat around and headed towards her. I had Frank get up on the bow seat with the net, so he could try to net the board. He missed the first attempt, and I threw the throttle in reverse, so I could maneuver the bow towards the floating board. The engine must have startled the bird, because she popped up, and sat there. Frank was able to net the board and bring it to the boat.

Once I had my hands on the gobs of braided line, I was able to handline the Loon to the side of the boat, where we scooped her up in the net, too. It’s a rubber net, so she didn’t get tangled in it. Her beak was poking through the basket of the net, so with my gloved hand, I held her beak, and instructed Frank to grab the knife, so he could cut the line that was wrapped around her wing, and body.

Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad, and she was cut free in no time at all. She thanked me by poking at my pant leg, which, you should know, kind of hurts. lol

She sat there for a while, and then I picked her up and did the “Back to the Wild’s”….”1-2-3 Be Free” slogan, and she flew off the side of the boat…beating her wings, landing, and then diving. So, with that, I knew she was going to be okay.

Frank and Ray were very happy that we were able to rescue her, and I’m sure she is very happy we were able to, too. 🙂

The radio chatter said that they were doing well out in 45 feet of water off Vermilion, so we picked up and headed north a few miles, to reach that depth. We set up again with the usual program.

Once again, the radio chatter mentioned that the “Sun Spot” bandit at 100 back was doing well, so I dug one out of the box, and put it out. It wasn’t out there an entire minute, before that Off Shore board when flying back. Frank got a kick out of that, and said to Ray, “How about that, Ray? I think we’ll need to listen to the radio more… they give you tips”. He then asked what channel I listen to, so I told him, “79”.

Then, I put a couple more “Sun Spots” out, but we were interrupted in our trolling pass, by a freighter that was bearing down on us, so I said, “We need to pick up and move out of the way…those freighters move faster than they appear, and I don’t know where he plans on going.” So we did.

We moved back to 43 feet of water, where I had seen several boats prior to moving out to 45 feet. We set up one last time, and needed only one fish to finish out their two-man limits. We caught one nice one, and Frank mentioned he was tired, and since we only had 1/2 hour left, we decided to go in.

It was a beautiful morning on the lake, even though it was cloudy and kind of foggy. The wind was light out of the WSW, so the conditions on the lake were fantastic. They had fun, learned some stuff they had forgotten since the last time out, and are now ready to hit the water the rest of the week, in Frank’s boat.

I’m not scheduled again until the 11th, so I’ll be off, and continuing the training of my new 10 week old pup, Alfie, and keeping Dexter happy.

It’s supposed to be beautiful the rest of the week, so I’m pretty sure, since I’m not scheduled, you can thank me for that. hehehe

Stay tuned….

Capt Juls

PS…If anyone is missing a Ninja Board with braided line and a chrome spotted Bandit…let me know. You can have it back. Thanks!

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Fishing with Jeff Baker, Jeff, and Will….11/3/2022

Jeff called me last night, and said, “I’ve been reading your reports, and it looks like it’s going to be nice this week…can we get out? We were a reschedule from October”. I said, “Tomorrow is supposed to be nice, but then it gets windy again for a couple of days, can you go tomorrow?” He said, “I’ll have to check with my crew, but I think we can make that happen”. And, they did. 🙂

Huron was a zoo again yesterday, so I didn’t want to deal with that mess, and pray that someone didn’t damage my trailer while it sat in an overcrowded parking lot. We launched out of Marblehead, and had the launch pretty much to ourselves, except for another captain friend of mine, who was there waiting on his crew, and a family of three launching a pontoon boat to go perch’n. It was very relaxing. 🙂

We headed out, and started out at Airport Reef in 34′ of water and trolled the outside edge of the reef up towards the tip of the island. We landed 4 walleye in that one long pass. There was one set of perch nets, set up off the tip of the reef, and surprised me….we were kind of close, but with quick assessment, quickly figured out there was no danger of getting in it. We were on the single flag end, and on the outside of it, so all was well.

Captain Bobby Greene, who was the other captain at the launch, sent me a text to tell me he had moved from the area I was in, and found some good marks to the east. He sent me the numbers, and it turned out they were right on top of the marks I laid on my Helix last Saturday and Sunday, so I told my guys we were moving over there.

We picked up and made took a ride to the east, and set up again. We were running Bandits and Reapers unassisted by the reef, and only caught one of the 4 walleye on the Reaper, so we took all those off and put 4 more Bandits out again.
Since we were in the area I was last weekend, I decided to try the program I ran last weekend, too.

Bandits unassisted, behind the Off Shore boards, on the starboard side at 120, 110, 100, and 85 back, and with the 2oz Guppie weights running at 35/85, 35/65, 35/50, and 35/35 on the port side.

Bandit colors that worked well today were….
RC Crush
Red Headed Wonderbread
Red Head
IB Frozen

There wasn’t a lot of traffic out there, and at one point, there was a red StarCraft next to us that looked like they were trolling pretty fast. I was doing 1.6-1.7mph, and because of the angle he was running, I couldn’t tell how fast he was actually going, but it looked fast. I got on the radio…..”Red StarCraft are you on channel 79?” At first there was silence, so I figured he wasn’t, so I put the mic down, and turned around to check the boards. At that time, a voice came over the radio, and I think he said his name, but I didn’t make it out, and he said my name, and asked how we were doing. I told him, “We have 10 in the box…what speed are you doing? You look like you’re hauling ass, and hauling in fish at that speed, too.” He told me, “2.0mph going south, and 1.6-1.7 (I think that’s what he said on his slow speed) going north. Red and white Bandits at 120 back”. He was finishing up, and just fun fishing by that time, so I thanked him for his info, and dug out some red/white Bandits to put out on the starboard side.

He didn’t lie. They worked. Thank you for the info, Mr. I can’t remember your name in the red StarCraft! We were able to put 8 more fish in the cooler in time to finish out their 3-man limit. I appreciated the help. 🙂

Jeff Baker (I’m using his last name, because there were two Jeff’s on the boat, and JB booked the trip with me)….he and his friends fish together all the time, and he wanted to learn how to use the inline boards. They have done other charters, but he said they didn’t let them do anything, but reel in the fish. The Captain set all the lines. I told him when we got in the boat, that if they really wanted to learn that I would teach them, and they could set their own boards, and they would be proficient by the end of the 6 hours.

They started out a bit shaky, but a couple of hours in, and they were setting lines just fine. They were even able to set the Off Shore boards back out in their original positions without having to move other boards out of the way. I was so proud of them. They did a great job! We only had one small tangle, and never lost a fish, so I call that a successful trip…and, that makes me happy!

Jeff asked me a lot of questions, and wrote my answers down on his little notepad, so he could remember the information, later, when they set up their boats with Off Shore boards and dipsies.

It was a fun morning, and a beautiful day on the lake. The wind was light out of the south in the morning, and then went down to practically nothing by 1:00. Some bugs showed up when the wind died, too, but they weren’t too annoying.

The guys had fun, and I have no doubt that they will be able to duplicate what they learned today, on their own. And, with a little more practice, they will have the confidence to keep on troll’n on. 🙂

I’m off until the 11th, and hopefully that weekend will be nice, so I can get out a few more times, before I stop for the season. This little pup of mine needs some attention and some training, so that’s my job in the off season, this year.

Stay tuned….

Capt Juls

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Huron, November 2-3

We fished Wednesday and Thursday out of Huron with good success. Beautiful weather obviously helps. We motored straight out to 38 fow both days and set up when we began to mark fish on the Helix. Thanks to information in Captain Juls reports, we fished bandits unassisted at 120 and 110 with the inside bandit down 40/40. All depths caught fish. We had the most success using bandits that were predominantly white. Black headed wonder bread, sea sick frog, ivory with red eyes were the best. We had two man limits by about 1130am. We launched about 7am and avoided most of the traffic at the ramp. Fish were not that concentrated and we caught a nice grade of fish both days, averaging 20-22″ and about 3-5 lbs. Great way to finish the season. Have reservations at Little Ted’s in the spring to start again. Great resource to have access too.
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Combo Trip: Jigging and Trolling

Had an epic combo trip yesterday in the cold. We started out jigging in the D-River and had our limit in 65 mins. We caught 17 that way and then it slowed down. We decided to venture just into the lake and pull some of my custom baits. We caught 33 in about 3 hours, plus another 6 or 7 monster smallies. We must have lost another 5 or 6 fish during the chaos.

35-40 back at 1.6 – 1.9 mph, into the current (12-15 FOW) was the ticket. Best patterns were Smokeshow Shad, Pimp Daddy Perch, Glow Wonderbread and Blueberry Cheesecake.

Several times we had 3 or more on at once. One time, we had 5 on at once and then the 6th one had a drive-by. We only landed 3 of the 5. One got off as I was horsing it in. The other got off as I was trying to swing it into the boat. Towards the end I was only putting out 2 lines on my side, because 3 was too many to deal with as fast as they were going back. They were all nice eaters, but nothing bigger than 25″.

It’s been a while since I had a trip with that kind of action. Early in the day I set a goal that we would get to 50 fish landed. My partner said, “I have heard about people getting 50 fish in a day, but I would have to see it to believe it”…..he saw it, and now he believes it…:D. BTW, we kept 12 eaters and the rest were immediately released.