Awesome Evening Success

Posted by MNAngler On August - 4 - 2010

I had a lot of trouble with the title of this post. It could have been one of many:

Float Tube-tastic
Jig and Pig Magic
Slump Squashed
A Plethora of Firsts
Fish Porn Galore

But ultimately, I kept with the theme of my previous posts.

Date: 7/31/2010
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Body of water: Tiger Cat Flowage
Location: Hayward, MN
Weather Conditions: clear

After a good morning and afternoon of fishing, I didn’t know how it could get better, but it did. While we were out on the boat with my dad and cousin, my brother remarked that he wanted to make sure we got out on our float tubes. He was itching to get back into the channel to the next lake where he suspected there were some monster bass. He also didn’t want to have lugged it all the way from Colorado and not use it.

When things slowed down in the bay around the point, we decided to head in. My brother immediately got to work on his float tube. My brother gave me a float tube kit that included fins and a pump two years ago at Christmas. I had never taken it out because I had two mental barriers that prevented me from using it. First, I’m not a very good swimmer, so the prospect of a leaking float tube in the middle of a lake (slim of a chance that that might be) frightened me. I also thought that the time it took to get it all together wasn’t worth the effort. I was looking forward to my brother coming home to show me the ropes and break me of the mental blocks as I knew I would love it once I tried it once.

The latter barrier was quickly overcome by the fact that my brother had his float tube inflated and put together in about five minutes. Mine took a few seconds longer just because I didn’t know what I was doing. He showed me where the valve was and although I was using an electric pump, he finished hand pumping his tube before mine was even half inflated. Once I was done, he told me to inflate it some more. I kept the electric pump going, but it wasn’t pumping up to my brother’s standard. He ended up using his hand pump to finish the job.

Once ready, we carried our tubes down to the lake and before I even got into the water, my brother was in his tube about 50 ft out. I was hoping he would walk me through how to get into the damn thing, or at least how to attach and use the fins, but I was left to figure it out myself. I did hear him say I should use one of the canoe cushions to get myself out of the water more, which I did. And I did manage to get my fins on, although, they were boot fins and I couldn’t tighten them completely onto my feet. When I finally got everything set and got a few pictures, I yelled to my brother to ask him how to get out to him. He just said, “just kick really hard to me.” Having never scuba dived and never used fins before, that was easier said than done. I assumed I would be traveling more backwards than forwards and fortunately, I was correct when I pointed my back to him before I started kicking.

I finally manged to get out to where he was already fishing when I heard someone yell, “BEAR!” I thought it was a joke. I didn’t think there were any bears in our area. But then I turned and saw everyone looking at the far shore. Sure enough, there was a bear checking out what was in the water.

After the bear wandered off, I turned to my brother and asked him a few questions about how to steer the floating chair. He told me to kick circles with my left foot to turn left and kick circles with my right foot to turn right. Through experimentation, I found it was easier for me to turn with my opposite foot. Having figured that out, I complained to him about my fins and he was able to adjust them for me. They still weren’t completely tight, but they were much better. He recommended I get a pair of his scuba fins for future outings. I’ll do that eventually, but I was glad to have a pair of boot fins I can use when the water gets colder and I’ll need to be in waders while in the water.

For the next hour, we made our way West toward the channel like we did earlier that morning. It was weird trying to navigate while casting, but I managed to get the hang of it. I started my casts with my usual white pearl super fluke, but it was a bit harder to do the twitch retrieve effectively being so close to the water’s surface. I decided that it was time to try using a jig and pig. How to use the jig and pig was the second thing I was determined to learn from my brother while he was here. I clipped on a watermelon jig with watermelon chunk and started casting. I fished the shore bouncing my jig and pig on the bottom while my brother worked the weeds with his plastic craw further out.

It took us about an hour to get to the entrance of the channel. My brother had a couple of ticks that he couldn’t hook while I had no action at all. At one point, he remarked how he loved fishing like this. It was very peaceful with just the sounds of casts and plinks into the water. He definitely knew how to enjoy life and now I was getting a taste of it.

I entered the channel first and finally got a hit. I was able to set the hook and yelled, “I got one!” My brother said, “reel it in slow so I can get an action shot,” but within seconds of him finishing that sentence, the fish was at my knees. It turned out, however, that that was enough time for him to get the shot to the right. He then took a picture of my first fish in a float tube and first fish on a jig and pig. It was only 12″, but I was still a happy camper. But things were about to get better.

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 12″
Lure used: green pumpkin jig and pig

I started working the right side of the channel while my brother worked the left. Moving further into the channel, I got another hit in some lily pads that I couldn’t set the hook on. My brother asked if it was a weed, but I was sure it wasn’t. It was definitely moving. A few casts later, I cast into another set of lily pads and got a strong hit. I tried to set the hook, but was too late.

Then my brother gave me the advice I was looking for. He said he oftentimes lets the fish take it and swim off. Sometimes he even watches as the line runs left or right. That made me realize that the fish are after a meal. They are going to eat it and run, so I don’t need to be so quick on the draw (or the set as the case may be).

Not more than a cast or two later, I was able to land another bucketmouth. It was another 12-incher. I was going to ask my brother to take a picture, but he was locked in his own battle, so I took it myself. When he got a hold of his, we got a picture of both fish with my camera. The pic of mine didn’t turn out because the shutter didn’t fully open, but you see the shot I took on my own below.

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 12″
Lure used: green pumpkin jig and pig

Armed with my brother’s advice, the next 45 minutes or so was an absolute blast. Every 3rd or 4th cast, I would feel some ticks and I would be patient and wait for it to make its run before setting the hook. I was able to battle most of them, but lost a couple, including one when I got it near my tube. I did, however, end up landing 3 more fish. The only disappointing part was that they were all in the 11-13″ range, but still nothing to complain about.

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 11″
Lure used: green pumpkin jig and pig

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 11″
Lure used: green pumpkin jig and pig

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 13″
Lure used: green pumpkin jig and pig

The sun was now behind the trees so we started to make our way back to the cabin. By the time we got out of the channel, it was after dusk, so we started to do less lallygagging. My brother was kicking steadily to the point he was pretty much trolling with a swim bait. I would toss out my jig and pig and hop it across the bottom as I “trolled” only bringing it in when I felt it get heavy with weeds.

As we rounded the corner, I got a bite. It was a small tick and I fully expected another 12 incher because it didn’t fight very hard. But when I got it to the tube, my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the biggest fish of the weekend. I let out a “whoa!” which got my brother’s attention. But I had reeled it in too far and was trying to pull the hook out of a line that was bending the tip of my pole. I struggled with it for several minutes while my brother snapped some pictures. He then pointed out that it was a rookie mistake, but I snapped back, “I’m in a float tube!” He just laughed.

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 16″
Lure used: green pumpkin jig and pig

I finally got the line loose but still couldn’t get the hook out of the lunker’s mouth because part of it’s skin was wrapped around the barb. Then suddenly, it thrashed and fell back in the water. I panicked and quickly grabbed my pole to make sure the line stayed tight. I was able to pull it back in when my brother said, “good thing it was hooked well.” This time, he got a hold of the fish and got the hook out for me. He pointed out that if you pull the bottom lip downward, the fish won’t struggle. A good tip for the future.

My brother then headed for the dock while I took my time casting a few more times before heading to shore. I manged to land one more 12 incher before having to go in. And with that being the end of the day, my slump of the last month had decidedly been squashed.

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 12″
Lure used: green pumpkin jig and pig

So now that I’ve been out on a float tube once, I’m anxious to get out again. Just like the first time wading brought a new sense of freedom, float tubing has opened up a whole new world. I felt pretty safe and comfortable in it, but if I go out alone, I’ll probably wear the auto-inflating life jacket I bought for the occasion, just for added security.

I can’t wait to hit the lily pads at Lake Demontreville and I even want to hit the lily pads right off the boat landing of Bald Eagle Lake. We always catch a bass or two waiting to get off the water, so I’m sure I’ll land a few if I spend some time there. Who knows, maybe this fall, I’ll even be brave enough to toss out a bucktail or two and see if I can handle a muskie in the thing.

6 Responses to “Awesome Evening Success”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MNAngler, MNAngler. MNAngler said: @kmurrayhunts Check out the visitor we had at my dad's cabin this weekend. Scroll about half way down the post: http://bit.ly/9icRWE […]

  2. Optimista says:

    Bear?!? Wow!

    Where did you keep your camera?

  3. […] posts:Awesome Evening Success […]

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