Walleye fishing has always been off and on for me. My buddy, Jeff, started taking me out once a year in what has become an annual event with his Dad. Known as the Hawg Hunter by the fishing crowd that claims the Cranberry Cove Marina on Lake Erie as their turf, he is the consummate fishing guide and fish camp host who, after 86 years, can find a Walleye anywhere.
The annual drill is the same. Jeff and I link up at Baltimore late Thursday and fly out to Cleveland. Rent a car and make the quick, painless one hour drive to Huron while being careful to pay attention to the exits. We missed the turn more than once as we worked to solve all the world's problems and some less important ones of our own during the drive.
Upon arrival, pick up some beer at the local IGA and then link up with the Hawg Hunter to start the weekend. The big challenge I face every year is the fact that Lake Erie is actually an ocean. I was an Army guy for 20 years for a reason - I get seasick. I attached my seasick patch, brought some bonine tablets and said many prayers for calm water. This year, they were answered.
We started our hunt at about the same time on Friday and Saturday, hitting the boat around 0900 and staying on the water until about 1500. The bathroom on the boat is a cut off milk jug that I have not been able to master yet, so 6 hours is about the max I can handle without having bladder failure. After dodging hooks, worm smears and any number of other unsettling looking dark spot, we settle into the Hunter's antique Lyman boat. The attack posture is standard. We hang two rods on each side with another two over the stern and start trolling at a gentle 2.1 miles per hour. The usual key to success involves dragging crankbaits behind a heavy weight that will both take the crank down to the bottom as well as knock any unwary fish unconscious.
This is a classic good time. No women to worry about. Everyone can deal with worms or other disgusting boat and fish things. It's all about the fish. The trolling can put you to sleep, but as soon as the rod plunges... and it really PLUNGES... you know you have a heck of a walleye on the other end.
On this trip, I had two that got away that had to be huge. One broke the line. The Hawg Hunter uses million pound test line, so he had to be a big one. Either that, or I was hung up on the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The other one broke the swivel!
As you can see from the map, we worked the area around Huron pretty well. The Hunter usually takes us out to the "Hawg Pen" which is roughly where it says "Lake Erie" on the map, but on this day we worked close. Failing to have much success in that area on Friday, we cruised out to 40 feet on Saturday where we had much better luck.
The proof is in the pictures. We picked up some nice fish. No catch and release here. Any Walleye that is legal gets eaten. In fact, that's the only reason the Basswife lets me go on this trip is that she loves walleyes - there is no better tasting fish.
No tips or tricks here in this post, just a thought for you to consider. Trout, bass, walleye and even the lowly bluegill are all part the wonderful sport of fishing. The pursuit and capture of each species requires different skills, tools, and techniques.
However, the common denominator is the friendship that goes with the sport. If it were not for our fishing buddies, we would not have nearly as good a time. After all, they are the ones who truly appreciate a good fish, a good fall into the river, or a good chase by a bear. You know. The things that guys like.