Wednesday, October 26, 2016

BWCA 2016 Day Five
August 31, 2016

917 AM bacon to fry.

Day five we were down to 4/7 of our original crew; brother, nephew and cousin had left camp.  So we reconfigured the canoes for the morning: adult in each stern, kid in each bow; four dudes and two canoes left.

1235 PM this fish was taped at 19.5 inches.

211 PM.  The Kid had had a slow morning and was grumbling some about not catching many fish.  We talked a while about putting in work and accumulation of time on water resulting in success, etc.  I think it was also stated that things can turn around rather quickly.  In the world of angling things can change quickly.  As this talk concluded we were paddling by a bay full of deadheads and I asked: want to fish it or not.  We are here; want to fish it or do you want to go back to camp.  Let's fish it he said.  Couple casts in he had a nice smallie and then I think maybe few casts later he dropped it right by a deadhead and hooked this pike.  I was a little worried landing it because I could see only one of the three hooks on one treble was holding tightly; also just generally worried about the terrible nature of handling pike.  Very bad C&R fish.  They don't fight hard or run but near the boat they are devils.  No net; but the first grab was solid and brought the fish into the boat.  Very happy it played out as such.

Mark on paddle, tape back at camp said solid 36 inches.  The "conversion charts" say that equates to 13.3 lbs.  That feels right to me just based on ball parking it while holding and examining; also thinking that it was very averagely built.  

Late afternoon I jointed a 7 wt fly rod; first time all trip.  Day five. Had not felt need to do it until this day.  My dad wanted to take both kids out in the MN III.  That left me solo.  The actual first cast of any fly on the trip caught a pike.  Orange and white half and half clouser.   Then I said why would I ever fish those flies and I changed to poppers and didn't look back.  There were many smallmouth bass to hand.  This one at 504 PM.
That mark on paddle is 18 inches.  Closing the mouth and pinching tail put it right around 18 in this case.   
What I call a deadhead bay.  Money.

514 PM.  Note previous time of 504 PM.  The fish struggling here was caught by casting a popper so it nearly touched the wood of this deadhead.  One good pop and let it sit.  All that's needed.
516 PM two minutes later fish landed.  Kind of a bruiser looking fish; kind of a badass.

This one pushed past the 18 mark (hidden from view); the next mark is the 20.  Number of fish in that range.

604 PM.  Smaller fish but great coloration.  

Finally got a from-afar look at the fully-manned MN III.

Summary shot of the deal one is looking to close.

707 PM.

713 PM LMB.  This fish just crushed the popper.  See the glass pane there; it was quite a take.

Lip touching between the 18 and 20 marks.

739 PM.

I missed being sternsman for the boys.  But it was fun to light into some fish.  Poppers for big bass on calm water.  In the middle of a pretty vast wilderness.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

BWCA 2016 Day Four
August 30, 2016

Nephew picked up three nice SMB morning of the fourth day.

Both kids boated all three species before returning to camp around 9-10 AM.

Pretty long mid-day break.  Poking around camp, looking through gear.  Even rare nap for a kid.

Snorkeling off campsites.  Looking at shoreline detail and thinking through where the land-bound casual casts would cut through water and snag.  Two for one: cleaning up a bit and also gaining some tackle.

First time I've had to deal with a capsized canoe.  Not first time in history of Dad's camp but first in some decades.  This one was triggered by a front seat failing: Dad and cousin were just paddling out maybe 125 yards and a screw gave out; the fall of the front paddler jolted such that the roll was initiated and not stopped.

The boys and I were on shore when it happened and my estimate is that we were on site lending a hand within sixty seconds; good response time; the boys sensed the urgency and acted well.  Nobody hurt; minor gear losses; much gear was saved by dedicated paddlers.

Evening session of this day got pretty silly.  Immediately.  Our notes indicate this fish was taped at 19.5" - one of the biggest SMB of the trip (we taped two at 19.5, no one could quite break 20).

Nephew was beating them down with a Hula Popper.  Think this one was 17 inches.

Biggest LMB I saw on any of the days: 19" taped.  Beauty of a bucket for a mouth.  These fish were just ripping topwater; right off the boat; sometimes right as the lure hit the water; it was a show.

This was approx 30 minutes after that big LMB; thought maybe he had two-specie-19s but our measurement said 18 inches.  Great fish to end the night.

And then to top it off back at camp he found via headlamp Grandpa's tacklebox  - the only substantive gear that had been lost in the capsize incident.

Day four totals for our boat: 9 pike, 8 SMB (half of which were 17-19.5"), 4 LMB (one 18 and one 19 incher).