So I mentioned we were going to finish off summer in grand style with a guided fishing trip for giant muskies on southern Lake Michigan near Green Bay, Wisconsin, arguably one of the 3 best big fish destinations in the lower 48. On August 5, we set out with high hopes around 7 am. We had a 6 hour guide trip scheduled with Brett Alexander and the plan was to get Cam a 50 incher. An hour an a half in, around East Troy, Wisconsin things would begin to change. A terrible noise began coming out of the back end of the van. I thought it was the hubs on the trailer. I got off to the side of the road. Smoke was coming out of the back left tire. Not good. I limped to East Troy and called a garage I take had done my brakes just a couple weeks back. They said it would be under warranty but that wasn’t much consolation. Fortunately I found a garage and they said they could fix it. 90 minutes later we were on our way. It seemed like a miracle. We were still going to make our trip. Then in Milwaukee the vibration and noise started again. It really shook the van and was scary in city traffic. Again I got off and found a Monroe Tire this time. This time I wasn’t so lucky. They said the driving I did burned up the fluids and damaged the front brakes. They could do the work but it would be over 800 dollars. The first stop I had already dropped almost 200. And now it didn’t look like I’d be able to get to Green Bay on time to fish. Wow, did this suck. These guys were really nice and got us going as quick as they could. It seemed like if we hustled maybe we could fish from 4 till dark. Brett was ok with that so we started down the road again. And you guessed it. The van started shaking and shuddering AGAIN! Did I say these guys at Monroe were nice? They drove out and found us, took the boat off, and then started figuring out what was wrong besides the brakes. It was in the transmission! It took another 3 hours but they got us going. We called Brett and told him we couldn’t make it. We set up the next day with an associate of his Drew Grissman. We met at Geano Beach Resort and did a 6 hour trip. Here’s the only picture I took. I guess I pretty much freaked out and that included not taking any pictures.
It was amazing to see so much water and consider that muskies were swimming around in there. Drew set us up with rubber. I threw a big tube. Cam threw a bulldawg. After going out into the lake for what seemed like forever Drew throttled down and told us we were on the spot. We would be fishing a large rock/sand shelf that came up as shallow as 5 feet. We lobbed our baits and pulled, did our figure 8, and then did it again. About 8:30 I got bit. I leaned back hard and the rod doubled up on what seemed like a good fish. Immediately we saw it boil on the surface and then it was gone. Bummer. I hate rubber baits and that’s why. It can be hard to get hooks in a fish. And that would be it. We worked hard through a number of spots and then did do a little trolling. We wanted to do this to see the process since our plan was to do this on our own in the afternoon and the next day. As we set up it was clear that the area was full of floating weeds and trolling was going to be next to impossible. Not only that but the wind direction was perfectly wrong and our little boat was going to have a heck of a time out there on such big water.
We finished up at 12:30. Drew was great. Once again I took out a guide and didn’t get a fish. This just seems to happen to me over and over. We launched our boat and wanted to start by trolling a bit. We set up but the wind and the weeds got the best of us pretty quick. We settled for getting back up on some of the casting spots we had learned earlier in the day. We fished hard but had no action.
The motel I picked wasn’t too nice and Cam and I weren’t too sure we were feeling ok. We thought maybe there was mold in the a/c or something or maybe it was just the stress of the trip with all the van nonsense. Anyhow, we launched, fished, and stuck out. Still pretty cool to be fishing Green Bay. I wish I’d have taken more water shots. Watching some of the guys work across these huge bars throwing those bigs rubber baits in the early morning light was something. I was stressing about the van so we called it early and headed for home. It was one of the longest trips i can ever recall but we did make it. I wanted to kiss the ground when we got home. But mostly I was disappointed the trip was so negatively impacted by a vehicle that had been nothing but good to us for its whole life!
Sometime this fall we hope to get back up there and maybe then we’ll get another chance at one of those giant Green Bay muskies.
No musical reference to this post. This will be more Joe Friday,“Just the Facts Mam.” Would anyone here even have heard of the show Dragnet? Anyhow, last time was about getting a better trolling set-up and breaking a pretty long drought. The last fish I posted was a 37 incher I caught July 21.
On July 22, not long after getting nothing casting for a hour, we repeated the trolling run that got me my fish the day before. The result was Cam’s personal best a 44 1/4.
Later in the day I got in on the trolling fun with a 38
We skunked the next day then got 2 the following day 1 casting, 1 trolling, mine was 32 1/2 Cam’s was 36.
The next day Cam got the only fish during a windy cold front that was 37. We tangled countless times and lost 3 lures in the process.
Over the next few days we got out but only managed 1 30 incher.
And then after another tough day we hit one of those magical days where the fish bit. It was all casting which is the way Cam and I both like it best.
We actually missed a couple of nice fish trolling the next couple days. We have continued to work at fine tuning our gear to better get hooks in fish and fight them better. Cam lost one real big one probably over 45 so that’s kind of a sore spot, but a good problem to have. We only got one fish the next day a 34.
After a one day breather the fish went nuts again. This time Cam got the whopper.
The big fish was something. Cam had been throwing the double 10 and doing the big, deep figure 8 most of the morning. On the cast he hooked up he finished this manuver and just had the back hooks in the water when the big fish decided to strike. It was total chaos, and then a nice photo.
And that’s the way the last couple weeks of July shook out for us. The whole time we continued to pull together info on Green Bay. I homed in on fishing with Brett Alexander. He has a pretty big reputation as one of the best guides up there. We were doing so well it made no sense to rush away from fish but things did slow as August began and we set up to fish with Brett on the one day he had open until October which was August 5. I’ll post about that adventure soon.
After a too long drought which I’ve talked about in other posts, Cam and I have finally started putting fish in the net again. Man, what a relief. Again, its hardly a burden to chase fish around as a hobby, but if you know me, you know I’m pretty competitive, and if I’m going to do something, I intend on succeeding. Muskie fishing has a way of humbling you. I love that and hate that and it continually stokes my fire to get better, learn more, and fool those big predators. The last few trips we’ve done just that.
The skunk breaker came a week ago yesterday. It could have been the day before that but unfortunately Cam knocked about a 33 incher off at boatside with a shaky net job. It was a low point for sure as we had put in many days and hours without success and were close to at least having a small fish to hang our hat on. Cam felt worse than I did. In his defense it was a super frisky fish that had just 1 hook in the nose. When he started to lift he wasn’t quite quick enough and the hooks caught the rim of the net and he was gone. We talked often during this stretch about just grinding it out and it all ended the next day when Cam hooked up and landed a nice 35 incher.
Finally back in the saddle we were excited to get out the next day until we saw the weather report for strong north east winds and a wicked cold front. Great! Seems like we just dealt with this twice lately on trips north! The only good thing was it was right on the full moon so we were going reguardless. It was quiet on the lake most of the morning as most had the sense to stay home early. We kept banging away but I wasn’t too confident. Cam was throwing a big bucktail into a stiff breeze and I was lucky enough to turn just in time to see a beautiful ski slip up on it and engulf the plug. FISH ON!.After a tough battle I netted Cam’s thick 41 incher, his 3rd 40 + of the season. What a thrill.
This could have been the beinging of a real big fish streak. Unfortunately, I had a doctor’s appointment in Chicago Wednesday and Cam had one scheduled Thursday. Bummer. We did go out in the evenings on those days but didn’t get any fish. The one highlight was one evening we met Greg and his daughter. They were out casting away also. We really enjoyed talking muskies with them and finding out that Greg’s daughter, sorry, don’t remember hearing your name, was trying for her first ski. Not only that, Cam thought she was cute. Good luck to them And I’m sure they’re enjoying time together just as Cam and I are.
On Friday we got back at it and I got a nice 36 1/2. This time Cam got it in the net and we got our pic before it swam away.
We spent a good portion of the day trying to double up and had a couple nice fish follow to the boat but couldn’t get a second bite and finally called it a day. With the nice weather report we wondered about going out with the crowds Saturday but decided to brave it at least for awhile to see if we could rile up another fish. Cam did this in the first 10 minutes before most people had launched with this 30 incher.
It was real calm for a couple hours and with bunches of shad on the surface all around the lake I put on a bass size jerk bait and got a couple hybrids and Cam got 1 largemouth.It was nice to change gears even if it was just for a little while.
We are getting ready to take a trip to Green Bay for some serious size muskies. To do this we need some trolling rod holders. Unfortunately, my boat doesn’t really want to accomodate them. The last few days we’ve been drilling them into the floor of the boat and you’ll start to see them show up in the pictures as we start practicing with them. Saturday I got my first fish using one of them, a nice 32 incher.
We were happy with a small double for the day and Cam wanted to drive a little which I don’t let him do too much. I was pretty surprised when he said he was hooked up and then landed a little 28 incher to make it a triple Saturday. We left feeling good considering at times we could count 50 boats around us in plain view.
So with the success of having one rod holder in the floor we swallowed hard and drilled holes for three more yesterday. Because of the way this boat is laid out there are very few places they can be so we were worried as we got to the lake this morning. We casted for a couple hours without a sniff and decided it was time to try or new set up. It started out ok but it is pretty tight for room. Before we could worry too much, BOOM, fish on. It was a little crazy getting the other rods in and out of the way but in the end Cam netted a nice 37 incher for me. This was a great way to start a new adventure with 4 rod trolling.
After we got set up and started again the trouble began. On some of the turns lines would foul with one another. Once you got the tangled lines in, getting it untangled was a challenge. We’d start up again to find that some lures ran fine and other liked to spin out at certain speeds. Weeds would foul plugs over and over. Boat traffic, even on a Monday was a challenge. Getting snagged was a major headache and we lost a couple expensive lures that way. Still, we caught a fish. This is something we needed to do because Green Bay is so vast much of the fishing is done trolling. Now we have a bunch of fine tuning to do to become efficient at trolling. And hopefully we’ll also keep catching fish.