THE BURBOT BEND

Posted on March 17, 2015

I’ll start this one off with the exciting stuff, we got the BURBOT BEND going in Traverse City last week. Some of you are probably wondering…what on earth is a burbot. Let’s just say they are in my opinion the best tasting freshwater fish out there, they are actually a freshwater cod. Not to be confused with a slightly similar looking dogfish we find roaming the shallows of our inland lakes. Burbot live in deep, clear, cold, water most of the year. This is one of the reasons they are such good eating.      

Anyway burbot has been a fish I’ve wanted to catch for awhile; I’ve eaten them before but never actually caught one myself. Luckily I’ve got some good buds in Traverse City that keep me in the loop on what’s happening up there. I got a trip set up to go out with Brent, Brad, Eric, and Kyle…and then it got warm. Warm enough where it was looking unsafe for machines for sure and possible unsafe period. But when I got the message they caught them the night before and were going back out for one last trip that night. Knowing Saturday was likely going to be unsafe I dropped everything and headed north.       

The anticipation of going up there was huge and it looked like we were going to pound them when Brent got a bite immediately where it was so good last night. Then that was it for several hours, no bites, no marked fish, just moving around that area hoping they would show up. Oh and catching lot’s of quagga mussels, the burbot were relating to quagga mussel beds and coming up to spawn. One of the successful ways to catch them is to let your spoon hit the bottom every time you jig it.

It became obvious maybe waiting them out wasn’t going to happen so we went walking dropping in every open hole we could find. I hit a new hole and immediately snagged some mussels, but as I pulled it off the bottom I noticed a blip on my Humminbird Ice-45 following my spoon. I cleaned off the mussels and sent my P-Line Kokanator UV spoon back to the bottom. A couple jigs and I could see him down there, from there I promptly missed him twice. He also got my minnow so it was back to get the minnows and gear. The whole time I’m sweating, hoping the burbs stay there. I get back to fishing and miss 2 other bites! Now I’m getting frustrated, I switched from a whole minnow to just the head or tail and hooked up right away. I had a custom walleye jigging rod that was my grandpas and a Lew’s tournament high speed spinning reel spooled up with 20lb P-line braid. I had the tackle to handle them, but man was it a blast pulling them up from 72 feet. It seemed like once I caught the first one it was game on. I put 2 more on the ice in short order, then I began to miss and lose them for some reason. I think there are a few ways to fix that so I hope we get another polar vortex of some sort and the bay freezes again next year.

I wasn’t the only one who was having fun though; it was also Kyle’s first time fishing the bay. He arrived right at prime time, with a special delivery of tacos and in a short time put 2 on the ice. Brent and Eric both caught some giants and it was an awesome time! I made the long trip back to Muskegon that night and had both deep fried and the “poor mans lobster” version of burbot over the weekend.

I also made my last ice fishing trip on Muskegon recently, taking my dad, brother, and father in law out. We didn’t get our 50 perch a piece but we did decent and had a good time. One thing that was weird is we caught mostly resident Muskegon Lake perch on a new spot I found, even though it was in 38 feet of water. The one cool thing is since it was really close to the break so I decided to put out a few tip ups. I actually haven’t busted out my tip ups since my 2nd date with Amanda which was a long time ago. We had 5 tip up flags and caught 2 fish, one was a really nice one. I am however going to be haunted by one of the fish I missed. I put my flasher in each hole as I set my tip up, so I can be sure my minnow is in exactly the depth I want it. Well as I was doing this, a fished rose off the bottom, swam up to the bait, and started taking line. I waited just a little too long to set the hook and missed my opportunity. I’ll probably never see something like that again in my lifetime.

Other than that I’ve got a couple other tidbits of news, I did a little bit of writing over the past couple weeks other than the blog. I’ve got a new Rahfish article out on the newly redesigned Rahfish.com 2.0. It goes into a little bit about ice fishing electronics like Humminbird Flashers, and FishSens Cameras (Here is the article Ice Fishing Electronics: The Basics). I’ve also got a new article out in the FishSens Magazine with a really important bass fishing tip. It’s really simple, and I promise it will help you put more fish in the boat when texas rigging (Lose Fewer Bass with a Snell Knot for Texas Rigged Plastics). Also next time you check out the magazine make sure you sign up for either the app or the weekly newsletter.

There are also a couple important bass fishing issues coming up including 2 petitions I would encourage you to sign. One to extend bass season and another to protect inland lakes from excessive weed poisoning (which I think is one of the greatest threats to our inland ecosystems).
Lastly I have a couple announcements about some deals going on. First is an angler website special from Brandirawks Productions. Their “March Madness” deal is 125.00 for a fishing website build. It is a huge tool for me for promoting my sponsors and opened some doors for me. It’s a much better way to show potential sponsors you are going to put forth some effort, than saying “dude check out my facebook account” (they can also design some killer business cards).  Without question it has made a big difference for me and what I’m trying to do. It’s also been cool to be able to look back on the blogs I write and see what I’ve been up to throughout the year. Don’t hesitate to get a hold of Mike, Brandi, or I if you have questions.

I also wanted to let everyone know ClearH2O Tackle is doing a free fishing license promo with a qualifying purchase until May 1st. Pretty cool deal, especially since licenses expire March 31st. Darrin and ClearH2O are going to be at the Grand Rapids Ultimate Fishing show this weekend. So make sure you stop by his booth check out what he’s got and ask him about that promo. If you can’t find him come get me and I’ll introduce you.

I’ll be there working with Humminbird and Minn Kota. I know there are a lot people talking about both the ONIX and HELIX series; we will have both of those there. As well as Talon’s, trolling motors, downriggers, and the rest of our electronics. I’ll be at the show Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Looking forward to seeing all the westsiders there, and next week I’ll be back on the east side Saturday and Sunday. For the grand opening of the Field and Stream store in Troy with Humminbird, Minn Kota, and Lew’s so I hope to see some eastsiders there!