I know it hurts some of you to hear this, but I think this summer is just cruising on through. As you all know, I'm a huge ice head and can't wait to be back out on the hard water, but the action our system is providing now is just something one cannot get enough of. I've been seeing a lot of folks getting those plots in and gearing up for the brown backs, but I'll tell you what, save a little extra time for a fishing adventure this weekend as we're still firing on all cylinders here on the Winnebago System!
From my recent personal experiences, you can practically spin a wheel loaded with our main tactics, fishing whatever style it ends on, as that is how crazy this bite has been. As you have heard me say numerous times in the past, have a bunch of rigs and tactics ready to go as you never know what the fish will want on any given day. Well, that's certainly still the case, but I have still yet to get that skunk in the past few months while fishing a variety of different tactics. This probably has to be one of the best ‘dog days of summer’ bites I have had in some years. As we approach a busy weekend, thanks in part to a gorgeous forecast, what should you do to put some fish in the boat? Here's what I’ve got for you.
It's no secret, the reefs have just been phenomenal out on bago and the Upper Lakes. Jigging/dragging a crawler/jig combo over the tops of the reefs has certainly been working, but this has been causing a lot of rough fish to accompany our lovely Walters. Many have been seeing a fair amount of success by casting cranks, such as Flicker Shads/Minnows in the #7/#9 varieties, over and alongside the reefs. The plus of this is that this has lessened the numbers of goats and smaller fish going after the cranks. The downside is that more reef jumping has been needed to find the more active fish that are willing to chase the larger bodied cranks. When working the reefs, you might pick up an extra bite or two on a slip, but beware, you will probably be looking at donating a lot of bait to the smaller eyes and rough fish along the way.
The Wastelands, aka the mud flats of Winnebago, have been extremely promising. I found this out firsthand the other night when I took the wife out for a couple hours of evening trolling. While search mode only lasted approximately 30mins until we found the fish, that 30mins was totally worth it as the bottom was just stacked thick when we found em. The action only allowed us to run four boards, and most of the time, not all four were even in. While nothing in the oinker class showed themselves, we got a nice pile of fish that all went back swimming, yet again, after some fun pictures.
The depth we located these fish in hovered right around 19 FOW. The best bait was a #9 Flicker Minnow, in the purple alewife pattern, running at 95' behind the board. This setup allowed us to just perfectly run over the stacked-up fish on the graph. The interesting thing was that these fish would seem
to hit when the speed was increased up to 2.5mph-2.6mph. This caused me to actually "rip the boards" at times. Let me tell you, it sure is a unique feeling when a fish hits a board while the rod is in your hand... I'm sure you all know that feeling I speak of.
There are many that are still having fun with crawler harnesses right now. While I like saving bait when I can, especially when I can catch fish on artificials, there is still some fun action to be had in the crawler harness game. I have been hearing a lot of great things coming from water surrounding reefs on the northern part of Winnebago, along with the contours the Garlic Island area holds. A dark blue/purple bead/blade combination would be a great starting point. I personally wouldn't hesitate going out into the Wastelands, even away from any structure, to fish harnesses right now. There are certainly some massive schools of fish out there, just ready for the plucking. The trick, as always, is just finding one…
Two things I will tell you until I'm blue in the face while talking about the Wastelands... First, search mode is crucial. Run at slow speeds on plane, using your electronics to locate marks, and plot your approximate course before setting up shop. The second, make sure to keep a keen eye on your electronics while the rods are wet. If the fish are relating higher, adjust accordingly for most lines, but not all of them. Don't be afraid to leave a couple higher than normal, or vise versa, a couple lower. You never know what might be lurking just out of reach of your ducer!
No matter where you find yourself over the next few days, I hope you all have an awesome weekend! Keep an eye on the Facebook page (facebook.com/oboutdoors) as we scoot into next week as you never know what might be going on in my world!
Until next time, "Tight Lines. Stay Dry." - Kyle
My new stock is almost out!
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