Would you believe it was January 8th out?
With 22deg early morning temperatures we arrived at the launch to find that there was no ice to be seen except for the ice near the water on the ramp. The ice was just enough to cause problems if you backed in too far, but doing this kind of fishing we come prepared. A bucket of salt in the truck was at the ready and the 4-wheel drive was engaged.
It is January 8th 2012 and in the last two weeks I have had my boat at this launch 4 times now. This is almost unheard of! The brown trout bite is on and my friend Ed, myself and Ed's friend Craig were going to take full advantage of it.
The exciting part of this day was the fact that Craig had only fished Lake Michigan one time prior without any success. It was up to Ed and I to put him onto some fish and let him experience what the big water has to offer.
We set up a trolling pattern with cranks on the boards and spoons on the downriggers. It wasn't long until the starboard downrigger went off and I told Craig to grab the rod and hold-on! The fish screamed out drag and Craig giggled like a school boy. This was no small brown, but it was a bulldog of a laker that gave him a great fight.
This fish put on a fight that put the burn in Craig's arms. Not having done this before he worked that fish like a pro and after what seemed like a 20 minute battle a giant laker was put into the net.
After releasing the fish and resetting lines Craig was still shaking with excitement. The smile on his face was all it took for me to realize that we had succeeded in our mission to have a great day! The fishing could have stopped there and we would have been happy. However, we certainly didn't stop there. Craig went on to catch not only the biggest laker of the day, but the biggest brown, the smallest brown, and the most fish. I tell you this without any jealousy as both Ed and I were just as excited for him as if we had caught the fish ourselves.
Here is Craig with one of the Bigger browns
I got into the action and put another laker in the boat that smiled for a picture or two and was then released to fight another day.
We finished the day off by catching about 15 browns and two lakers. We had several doubles and even a triple or two. There were several fish that didn't even make it to the back of the boat because of all the chaos. There were 11 fish that we kept for the grill and the rest were sent on their way.
It really doesn't get any better than this! Fishing Lake Michigan on the open water on January 8th and catching loads of hard fighting fish. Thanks again to my crew and I suppose I better spending some time cleaning up the boat from all the fish that made it onto the deck.
Oh and for those looking for details here you go: These were our hot set-ups.
Pro-King spoon in green/white, 50' stretch 27' down on the rigger
Chart/White no-name spoon 50' stretch 30' down on the rigger
Spro McRip with 1oz inline 75' back on a board
Berkley Frenzy with a 1 1/2 weight 50' back on a board