Thursday, September 29, 2016

BWCA 2016 Day Three
August 29, 2016

Morning session; more of the same.  Doubles.  Many of the cookie cutter pike; nephew got three nice smallies.

Taped at 18 inches.

Think this one was a year (or two) older than the plague year class that they couldn't keep off their lures.  Long and skinny; demon-headed predator; I think one of the top burst speeds of any freshwater fish.

My viewpoint.  Slow paddling; holding steady; a lot of treble hooks and photographs seasoned with fish slime and blood.  Day three and I still had no urge to fish with my own hand as I was thoroughly enjoying manning our canoe and watching these kids do good work. 
Right up to the canoe and this SMB shattered the spinning rod.  He proceeded to land the fish anyway; then stated flatly I'm going to have to give my brother twenty bucks.  Nice fish taped at 16 inches.

Daily down time generally 1100 AM to maybe 230-400 PM.  Not many campsites have sweet beaches; this one is very desirable in that respect.

Evening session.  Both kids hooked slobby largemouth.  Nephew's may have been the biggest LMB of the trip to this point; got it to the boat and even got his hand on it; in course of landing, it broke off his hula popper.  I felt bad re a number of instances of difficulty because as sternsman I couldn't help him land fish; whereas son was literally two feet in front of me in the center seat, so he was afforded more assistance.  In the end they both caught plenty of fish.  This one taped at 17 inches.  Nice work handling and releasing; they got a lot of practice on this trip.
Thirty minutes later boated SMB of same length - 17 inches.  Topwater ripping.  Enough to run a guy's glasses askew.

Nephew pointed out that the cloud formation had appearance of a footballer.  We had this glass condition most nights; like wind was just laying down to make things right for kids looping giant casts with poppers.

Day Three totals for our boat: 11 pike (topping out 4-5 lbs), 9 smallies (18" max), 3 largemouth (17" max).

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Venison Pastrami

Recipe from coworker.  Calibrated here for 5 lbs roast but I used three whole forelegs instead; adjusted accordingly.

Added some wire loops under the hood of barrel smoker; used bungee hooks to hang.  Stacked two barrel smokers to provide enough vertical. 

First use this morning as breakfast meat with eggs from yard.

Monday, September 19, 2016

BWCA 2016 Day Two
August 28, 2016

Kid made this lure at a workshop some years back.  This pic was taken 8:27 AM on day two to document the scratches and the fact that we had already replaced one of the treble hooks after the ~dozenth fish claimed one.  Some good wear.

Morning LMB taped at 18 inches. Really clean fish with a giant mouth.
Usually take afternoons off but went out with cousin and he logged this fish at 3 PM.  He and The Kid combined for quite a few bonus fish out there in broad daylight.

Campsite is ideal for swimming: large particle granitic sand as far as I can tell.  I thought the whole world up there came of bsalt but I think I looked a map a while back and saw that granite is present at land surface in this particular area.

Evening fish for nephew: 6:45 PM.  Both boys brought exactly three pike and two SMB on this evening, topping out at 16 inches for bass.

Calm nights; topwater was supreme; that RatLTrap made giant splashes ending exceedingly long casts.  Sternsman enjoyed the great arcs.

Night goings-on.

Day two totals for our boat: 16 pike, 6 smallies (16") and one largemouth (18").

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.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Various Dooryard Canning Matter

Last year's garlic.  Eggers.  Peppers in various stages of ripe.  Looking to pour hot vinegar over the works.