Wednesday, September 14, 2016

BWCA 2016 Day One

August 27, 2016

Our party of seven included three youngsters; three cousins of whom two are my nephews and one my son.  Been waiting for these days to start and now they are here.  This development puts a serious demand on the food rations, as indicated by breakfast plates in Ely MN.  Our tradition is to leave Dad's place on the lake around 4-5 AM and eat a last meal-under-a-roof around 9 AM.  Then off to the landing.

Can't quite carry it yet but I suppose next year.  Or in a pinch he could make it happen.  This canoe is approximately 37 pounds and a really pleasant portage.

My own first cousin provided two canoes this year one of which is a MN III.  I'd paddled our family canoe with a kid in the middle but this was a first: 20 footer with three seats.  A coworker owns one and he warned me that it is pretty tough to handle in even moderate wind, given extra surface area.  I confirmed this difficulty and learned quickly that careful packing for good balance was even more important than in a standard craft.  My thought was to put the least experienced kid in the middle so I could help him with fishing logistics; the veteran up front on his own.
Our path included a 2800 foot portage and a bit of a scramble to find a campsite, so we were left only the evening hours to fish.  Even in moderate winds, with no gear in the canoe, I had a heck of a time handling the MN III.  My 200 lbs was too much relative to these wiry-strong boys' combined weight.  I ended up paddling backwards for much of the evening, which worked really well in the end.  They bombed casts and I kept us on a decent path; helped handle fish as needed.  Kids began banging pike and bass immediately.  I enjoyed watching them use spinning gear; been a long time since I've given it any sort of look.  Great for kids; they just bomb casts and cover a lot of water.  Good for these tight quarters with three dudes in one canoe.  The Kid started us off with this nice 18.5 incher on a Rat-L-Trap that he built and painted himself.

That mark is 18 inches; pinching tail and closing mouth was 18.5.  To quote Jerry Burns "There are many ways; many MANY ways..." to accurately measure a fish.  A tape.  A marked paddle.  A known span.  These are all devices that if wielded by one who can read the markings are clearly acceptable for "registering" a fish length.  
Little did we know, although there was some suspicion, that this year class of Esox would be a plague on our existence over the next week.

On this first night alone the boys in our boat landed ten of these pikers.  Action shot here which I really like.  The fish now free of its bond and capture.
First double of the trip; also recorded via video by the sternsman.  

The water wolf; the machine aquatic.  Eating whatever lure; striking at whatever point in the retrieve including often just at boatside.  Some instances were dramatic, despite relatively small fish all ten.
Brother and nephew took a differnt angle and searched a weedline for walleye.  Found this one and some other fish that I did not record.

Right away first night the boys confirmed that the time in camp required just as much focus as did time on the water.  Fire building, trap setting, capturing, live well building, etc. all in play.  All things that young dudes should do; all things that parents like to see their kids doing.

Day one totals for our boat: 10 pike, 2 smallies (18.5" max).  Approx two hours on water.


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