2020 BLOGS

Short Season

Posted on March th, 2020

This has got to be about the earliest that I have put the ice fishing gear away. It's always a sad day but it's usually a little easier to handle when we've gotten lots of ice trips in throughout the year. It was certainly different this time around as I never even hit the ice without a spud. It was big difference from traveling willy nilly by ATV around. The biggest disappointment was never feeling comfortable enough to take my daughter out. However there were a few bright spots mixed in.

There were big questions about the typical winter perch fishery in Muskegon Lake. My experience in late December was that they hadn't even come into Muskegon Lake yet. It was consistent with other reports and I really wondered if we would get them ice fishing. Unfortunately it wasn't until late February until we got to find out. I had given up hope of getting out on Muskegon but one last cold snap finally put some ice out there.



Where's Winter

Posted on February 1st, 2020

This winter is certainly testing my patience. Ice making weather has been inconsistent and always followed by extreme warm ups and rain. I'd love to just have a little snow at this point just so it would feel like winter. It hasn't been fun for ice making, playing in the snow, or any of the other outdoor winter activities people do.
We did get one little window of it and unfortunately the stomach flu hit my house like a bomb. All 3 girls were sick and I was home taking care of all of them. It was brutal but thankfully the little one didn't get it that bad and we were able to keep her hydrated. By some miracle I didn't get it and was able to sneak out on the ice one afternoon once they recovered. I'm always amazed at how it doesn't really matter what time of year we actually get "first ice" fishing seems to be about the same. The spot I went to isn't all that great, it's a lot of sorting but if you can catch them fast enough a solid limit of perch is possible.



Break Time

Posted on December 21st, 2019

It's been awhile since I've sat down to write one of these. It was nice to take a little time to just focus on adjusting to the new baby and hunting. It has been a busy and productive fall and I'm looking forward to the next couple weeks of just keeping it simple and hanging out with the family. But between the last blog and this one a lot has happened so here we go!

When I left off last time I was just about to head back and fish one of my favorite tournaments of the year, the Jigs and Pigs Open on the Portage Chain. Bryan and I spent a day out there before the tournament looking for some new water and revisiting some old stuff. They were definitely snapping and we had a really good day. A couple of new stretches of water produced a lot of bites so we were really excited about the tournament. There was a good turnout this year and a bunch of guys who can catch them so it was going to be fun.



June in October

Posted on October 31st, 2019

Its official Hutch and I are outnumbered. The wait is over and June Kathleen made her appearance on October 12 at 5:29am. October 12 also happened to be opening day of duck season so I'll always be reminding her how she was the opening day baby.

June's arrival was quite a bit different than Mabel's. The doctors decided Thursday morning that they were going to induce Amanda. So we headed home from work to get ready, only to get the call that they were pushing it back to Friday night. Well we made the most of it since it was a beautiful day. We headed to Grand Haven to grab a bite to eat and a drink (for me) before we picked up Mabel from daycare.

Since we weren't going in until 7:30 the next night I had the brilliant idea of driving up to zone 2 to get a quick hunt in since duck season was open up there. I threw my 9 foot boat in the back of the truck and loaded up the dog and off we went. Ducks were quacking in the marsh and it was overall a pretty ducky day.



D&R Classic 2019

Posted on October 2nd, 2019

It isn't often you get to fish a team tournament in Michigan that pays out a total of 58k. Partially because we had our cancelled qualifier rolled into the D&R Classic but partially because we just have it really good in west Michigan right now. It's pretty awesome to have the opportunity to fish a local series like D&R. While the venue was a downer for pretty much everyone because that fishery is in a huge downturn right now, a tournament of that size certainly wasn't.

We honestly didn't know what to expect other than the weights were going to be garbage. Neither of us had been there since our classic win there a couple years ago. We finished 7th in a previous classic there as well so it is definitely a place we click with. We didn't pre practice so we had no indication of how the weeds looked or if we would even be able to get bites. Based on all the weights up there it certainly didn't seem like picking up the big stick all day would be the deal. So we were going to keep an open mind during practice and see what was working best.



Blown Chances

Posted on September 4th, 2019

First off it's that time of year for one of the most fun outdoor activities Michigan has to offer. It is time to hit the drowned river mouth lakes and do some salmon jigging. It's been going on for awhile up north but is just getting going down this way. There are few things that are more fun than having a big king on bass tackle. You can find a little more information on it in the latest FishSens blog.

We've had a lot of happenings in the bass game since the last blog with one particular day standing out more than the others. We finally had our last D&R tournament of the season on Muskegon Lake. We were pumped for this one as we have a pretty good track record on Muskegon and we were leading AOY by 2 points. Things weren't really lining up for it to be easy for us though the particular areas we can usually count on haven't really been the deal this year. Not a big deal though you have to constantly evolve on the lakeshore as dominant techniques and areas are always changing. Practice wasn't anything spectacular but we had couple things going. One that could have been lights out but was all going to depend on boat number (we drew boat 67 so that was out). The secondary plan had produced the right bites also and we had a bunch of other stuff to run that we never touched.



White X 2

Posted on August 1st, 2019

It has certainly been a strange year for tournament fishing in west Michigan. I can't remember a summer where it seemed like there was a little break in the action, but this July was it. Great Lakes water levels are actually so high in places that launches are flooded and unusable. Such is the case with the Harbor Island boat launch in Grand Haven.

This has been a big deal in the tournament scene over here as the Grand is always a stop on the schedule. It's been fishing well with the high water too, I think the reduced pressure is helping a lot also. We already had one tournament altered for D&R because of it, it wasn't a big deal because it was just moved to White Lake. But who knew what was going to happen with the next one being scheduled on the Grand. I think everyone had a little hope that the water level would just go down because it's a river. But Harbor Island is so close to lake Michigan that it didn't matter how big of a drought we had, Lake Michigan levels were what was keeping that launch flooded. As with anytime a tournament organization has to make a tough call with cancelling an event there were some upset people.



White X 2

Posted on July 4th, 2019

The Great Lakes being at historically high water levels has really impacted a lot of things besides the fishing. One of the biggest impacts on the westside is that it's flooded the main access to the Grand River. It's where all the big tournaments go out of and it's impossible to use right now. That's providing some unique challenges for all the tournament series that had the Grand on the schedule. The bummer of it all is the buzz is the Grand is fishing awesome and White Lake was fishing terrible.

The D&R Grand River tournament was moved to White which meant I was going to get a few cracks at figuring out White Lake in a row. I hadn't been up there since before bass season started so I didn't really know what to expect. I anticipated things being way behind due to the weather this spring. I also assumed the weed growth would be way behind from temp, lack of sunlight, and a couple extra feet of depth. Things didn't start well considering Cameron and I caught literally one bass on our Monday night tournament out there. It was a good one at least, missing big bass of the night by .02.



Back on Track

Posted on June 21st, 2019

It may have taken 3 tournaments but we finally righted the ship and caught a few of the right ones. We recently had our first D&R tournament of the year and got off to a great start, grabbed some valuable points, and had a blast.

Timing was weird for this one because of the late spring. There weren't a ton of bed fish to bed had, the largemouth weren't ready yet, and the channel was fading. There were alewives in the lake which may have contributed to it being more difficult too. Either way I felt there was no clear thing that was going to win the tournament. But I knew if we were going to do well sight fishing would play a role in it. I was a little surprised when there were 3 bags over 16lbs at the Monday nighter out there. Cameron and I mostly eliminated a lot of water that night but got a bite around alewives going the last half hour. We scraped up the last check and won big bass with a 4.75. Immediately I knew I was going to try and get in on this first thing Saturday morning.



To Down One To Go

Posted on June 9th, 2019

Well we finally got the party started! This is the first time I can remember water temps still in the low 60s around the Memorial Day opener. It's been a whirlwind with 3 tournaments in a row, 2 down and 1 to go at the time of writing this. Let's start with the Tom Cook Memorial day tournament on Muskegon.

With the low water temps, I knew this year would be a little different. However Cameron and I located the right ones to do really well in this event. The problem was we didn't have much to back them up if we got out of rotation. It was going to be all or nothing depending on whether the college tournament weighed them in or another competitor got them first. We had great weather for the event with some sun and calm conditions, it looked like it would be a great day for sight fishing.

We had a middle of the pack boat number so who knew what was going to happen. It didn't take long for some disappointment to set in when a boat was sitting right on a cluster of them. However there was no one on the fish I really wanted and it was an absolute giant. So regardless we were going to try and get that one and have a shot a big bass. We spent quite a bit of time blind fishing the bed, you couldn't actually see what was going on there.



Time to Weigh the Best Five

Posted on May 21st, 2019

Here we go, less than a week until bass season opens and many of the biggest tournaments of the year are about to go down. There isn't a lot going on in West Michigan for the opener. I don't know if that is because we have it so good during the rest of the season or what. But there isn't anything notable until the West Michigan Bass Tom Cook Memorial Day tournament. I'm not sure that one is setting up great for me especially with a college tournament on Muskegon 2 days before but I'm going to get in on it anyway.

I still don't have much loaded in my boat because it has been such a cold water fishery this year. I'm working on that all this week as well as getting some supplies sent in from ClearH2O Tackle. Hopefully by Friday it will be all ready to roll for the next few weeks. It is a busy start to the season this year with the opener, the HOTD on Grand Traverse Bay, and a D&R on Muskegon all in consecutive weeks.



Gone Too Soon

Posted on April 27th, 2019

The mornings are still chilly on the west side but it's finally starting to feel like spring. That means warming water and hungry fish. It also means some of the best fishing is already behind us as the forage and fish begin to spread out more and more. We've had some amazing days on the water so far and it feels great to have the BBQ sauce boat back on the water.
We've also experienced a great loss this spring. Unfortunately my brother in law Josh Green lost his battle with cancer this week. It's hard thing to think about and handle since he leaves behind a wife and 2 small children. We are a pretty close family so we've got lots of memories with Josh.



35 and Rain

Posted on April 3rd, 2019

After the Grand Traverse Bay ice fishing trip and working the Ultimate Sport show with Humminbird/Minn Kota, I was pretty much all in on open water fishing. After so much talk about big fish, perch just didn't sound that interesting anymore. Fortunately I had the duck boat sitting in the garage just ready to go. Unfortunately my first opportunity to go fish involved 35 degree weather and constant rain. I was going to make the most of it and I was pretty confident I would have the lake all to myself.
These nasty weather days can produce some phenomenal largemouth fishing in the spring so I was optimistic I was going to catch them despite not knowing the water well. Things started off relatively quickly although not with a bass. I certainly wasn't going to complain about having an 18 inch coho to take home for dinner.



Trouts and Pouts

Posted on March 15th, 2019

I've been waiting since 2015 for another crack at ice fishing Grand Traverse Bay. There's no telling when it will freeze again so we put some plans together and headed north for Trouts and Pouts weekend 2019!

The pouts is short for eelpout which is another name for a burbot (not a dogfish). We were going to primarily target lakers and burbot but wouldn't turn down whitefish or cisco if we stumbled upon them. Burbot are most active in the evening/night so we would be targeting them at those times and trout during the day. We were staying on Old Mission Peninsula (thanks Brent, Melissa, and Brad) and were planning on fishing East Bay. We had a decision to make Friday night, cross the bay or trailer to the east side of it. There was no reason to believe the ice wouldn't be safe but it is a little intimidating driving a couple miles over hundreds of feet of water...especially when we were the first crew to do it.



The Curse is Broken

Posted on February 17th, 2019

Finally! It seems every time I've been crushing the perch and my dad comes out, we end up struggling. Sure we've always ended up with a good pile, but we always end up working hard and it never lives up to my hype. I had high hopes this year was going to be different and since we were going to an area of the lake I hadn't fished this year we didn't know what to expect.
It was also going to be the first trip of the year on quads and we had just been dumped on with some major snow storms. Travel on the way out was absolutely terrible, the drifts were tall and we were getting stuck. There were some pretty powerful slush pockets out there too. After a much longer commute out there than expected we finally got started. I popped a hole right on the waypoint and they were there. My dad went to work right there and I started cutting a bunch of ice in the area hoping to find the mega school.



Polar Blitz

Posted on January 30th, 2019

Looks like we've got some ice making weather finally. With record lows on the way for the rest of this week I'm hopeful we will have ice for quite awhile this season. It went from wondering if we were ever going to fish, to getting the quad prepped for a trip to the lake this weekend.
It has been a unique couple of weeks for me, well more like a whole month. I've been off work because of the government shutdown. I feel like it was a glimpse into what retirement might be like minus the whole toddler running around thing. I definitely never got bored, ice fishing kept me busy!
It was a unique situation this year with the cold temps and no snow. High winds hampered a lot of ice formation but it still made ice fast. Usually we are getting lake effect snow at the same time and we get some weird pockets of ice because of the insulating snow.




Posted on January 4th, 2019

Cheers to ringing in the new year! Hopefully everyone had a great Christmas and New Years. Amanda, Mabel, Hutch, and I got to spend a bunch of time with family. Mabel came down with an ear infection that cut our trip a little bit short but in the grand scheme of things it was just a minor setback. One thing that has been nice about the mild winter we've been having was travel was decent for most of the trip to and from the east side.
In between the holidays we had one of the most anticipated days of duck hunting in Michigan. The 2 day late season usually is accompanied by frigid temps, ice, and concentrated birds. This year it was kind of wide open. Still quite a few birds in the area but just not as concentrated as normal.