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Recent entries


Just Fishing

Summer Slipping Away

Fri, August 08, 2014

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.

Cam's Personal Best

Later in the day I got in on the trolling fun with a 38

pete's 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.

petes ski


Cam's 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.


Cam's 37


Over the next few days we got out but only managed 1 30 incher.


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.


30 incher


32 incher


38 incher>


41 incher


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.


34 incher


After a one day breather the fish went nuts again. This time Cam got the whopper.

37 1/2”
37 1/2




42 1/4”
42 1/4


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.


The final piece of this post is to put out some news that I hope some find interesting. Back in June I finished my career in education and retired. Next week will be the first time in more than 30 years that I will not report to school to begin teaching. That being the case, I will be a bit more serious on the guiding front and more importantly, more available. Fairly soon I hope to have a Facebook page and web page up for guys to go to for info about Fishing Friend Guide Service. For guys reading here you’ve known about this for some time. As you can see from my recent post fishing is good. If your interested in getting out you can contact me at 815 830 6110. Or if you want to email shoot me a note at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Back in the Saddle Again

Mon, July 21, 2014

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.

Cams muskie


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.


Cams big ski


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.


Pete's Ski


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.


Cam's 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.


pete 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.


pete 37 incher


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.


Kings of Pain

Mon, July 14, 2014

As I’ve mentioned previously, Cam and I are on a long muskie drought. Going north last week was suppose to be the cure. As you can guess from the title of the post, that didn’t happen. We were hopeful as always when it comes to going north but the long range weather forecast had us worried even a few days prior to leaving. It had been nice up there with temps in the 80’s, and then as we were getting ready to go a major blast of cold was coming through.

Like our last trip we took off in the middle of the night to take fully advantage of our short trip. I left in shorts and a tee shirt. By the time we stopped for gas I switched to pants and a sweatshirt. As we launched the boat mid-morning here’s how I dressed.


Bundled up

Can you guess how many muskies we caught? Right! 0.

After quite a few hours and a couple of lakes in about 12 to 15 mph winds we decided we had seen this movie before and maybe we should switch gears. Now I’ve been fishing around the Minocqua area for 40 years. Much of that time I’ve chased fish other than muskies. Cam is in love with skis so that’s usual what we do. But this was different, even for him. It was beyond obvious there would be no muskies. And so our bass and northern hunt began.


With water temps still in the high sixties both bass and pike were still a little active. We found some willing fish here and there and finished the day having gotten a few bites. This smallie was the best fish.


nice smallie


Days two and three were much the same. We did try some muskie fishing each day and did see maybe 3 fish total. Fortunately, Cam came around to the idea of smacking bass and pike and we did that pretty well. Conditions weren’t all that nice. Here’s the air temp reading in the car as we launched the second day. I think the lowest I saw was 47. That’s pretty chilly even for northern Wisconsin in July.


air temp


We did finally get some sun and the wind did start to behave which allowed us to shed a few layers at times. We continued to catch fish. I think for the trip we caught around 60 bass and 30 pike. Most of the bass came on senkos and jigs while the pike took spinnerbaits.


Pete's largie


cam largie


Another largie




We really didn’t take many pictures. I’m going to try to get better about that as it many times tells the story better than I do. But really, how many small bass and northerns do guys want to see? On the other hand, one of the reasons for being up there is all the wildlife we get to see up close. On this trip it was really special. It seemed the eagle and osprey were everywhere. On one lake the little otter swam so close you had to stop fishing till they swam away which was very cool. Here’s the only pictures we took of one of the many eagle we saw.  While we didn’t get the fish we were looking for, we can’t wait to get back up there.


Cam's eagle shot




After four 16 hour days it was fair to call us the Kings of Pain. The only thing missing was the muskies but we’ll take care of that soon enough.