Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Minnesota Quickie (Day 2)

Day 2 started with heavy rains. I wasn't going to get as much fishing in on day 2, so I planned to spend more time with the family. 

However, my aunt had a work meeting in the morning, so we all headed out, dropped her off, and my uncle, baby cousin, and I went to the nearby Moore Lake, which apparently had a decent population of northern pike, a species I desperately needed. I spent a bit of time throwing a spinnerbait I had caught my lifer chain pickerel on, but nothing took, except for one swipe from a small fish that I couldn't identify. 

I watched the guys next to me fish with live suckers and catch a 10 lb pike, which they promptly put on a stringer and took away. Oh well, at least I knew there were pike. I spent a while tossing the spinnerbait around, all the while it was a consistent drizzle. While working the lure past the weed beds, I hooked a little fish with a savage strike. Could this be my lifer pike? I was reeling it in, when suddenly my line stopped. It was snagged on a lilypad, with the fish still attached. In the dark, stained water, I though I could make out a small, skinny shape, and my heartbeat quickened. 

A pop! and the bait was free. I horsed in the little fish and snatched it out of the water. 

I did it! That's species #62, a poor representative of the most savage predator of the north but a representative nonetheless.   

This fish had a tear drop, like a pickerel, which i thought was a bit odd.

After that fish, the rain started to pour, and I stuck it out with some different lures for a while, even had some big boils on a walk-the-dog bait, but no hookups. The rain was coming down in sheets, and thunder shook the sky. Considering the fact that my rod was basically my personal conductor jutting into the air, I decided to call it an outing and seek cover.

In the afternoon, the rain looked like it was settling down, so I opted to head to the nearby Bass Lake to settle a long dispute with the black crappie. I had hooked one here before, but it threw the hook and I had never caught one since, which is a bit weird, due to their supposed abundance around me.

We stopped by the bait shop in Plymouth, Big B's Bait and Tackle, excellent service there. I picked up a couple extra large golden shiners for pike and a scoop of fatheads for crappies.

Walking to the fishing dock, I set up my gear and put a fathead on a small hook with a single splitshot. I lowered in under the dock, and it took all of five seconds to get my lifer black crappie, species #63.

Iridescent green and blues on these guys. Really pretty fish. 

It was still raining, but I was hooking up to crappies nonstop. I probably hooked about 6 but only landed 4, including this dark post-spawn male. All the crappies went on my stringer, to be fried at a later date.

The fatheads attracted small largies, too. 

Meanwhile, I spotted some larger bass swimming in the shallows, and rigged up a golden shiner. The fish took interest in it immediately, but waited a minute or two before viciously striking. It wasn't a large fish, but it was fun to sight fish nonetheless.

Tired of bass, I tried crappie fishing again, but the sun came out and the crappie bite immediately stopped. I didn't hook one after the rain abided.

Consequently, I turned my attention to finding some larg(er) pike, hopefully one that could eat my first one. I put a golden shiner under a float and cast it out. A couple minutes later, I fish took, and I reeling the little fish in until it spit the bait at the dock. It turns out the savage little fish was just hanging on to the shiner the entire time! The greedy guy could barely fit the shiner in his mouth!

After a couple more times of tug-o-war, I decided to add a stinger hook to the end to try and hook the little bastard. When the float went down, I waited a little bit, then reared back. The fish came in without much trouble, and I could tell that this time it was hooked. A quick lift brought the fish onto the dock.

Well, this fish was still tiny in terms of pike, but the hammerhandle definitely could have eaten my lifer pike, haha. It was a really pretty fish, but it had a nasty case of black-spot disease, small parasites in the fish's skin that do not harm the fish, but creates black spots around their location.

Parasites, aside, this pike was much more striking than my previous fish, being a brighter green and having stronger yellow and white highlights.

That pike ended my excursion. It was a two-lifer day, which I thought was not bad at all. I grabbed the stringer of crappies and headed back.

A stringerfull of crappies. The biggest one ran 11 inches. 

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