Friday, October 28, 2011

Len Ralston Birthday Trip

Cloudy, Cold, Wind, Cold front conditions, Water temperature dropping to 62*and Clear.
I would have postponed today's trip but this trip was scheduled about a month ago when a hurricane blew into the state and this would be the only day they could get everyone together to go fishing. I told Len's son Mark yesterday that fishing could not be any more challenging than fishing today with a major cold front blowing through last night dropping the air temperatures 25*, high winds and the lake turning over. Mark thought it would be a great day to learn the ropes on locating bait and Stripers and cracking the code on how to put fish in the boat in less than desirable conditions. We hit the water at 5:30 and went to where I caught bait the last couple of days but after an hour of looking never saw a piece of bait. The cold front had worked its magic and dissolved the acres of bait I had been working into thin air. We picked up the rest of the crew at the marina even though I warned them of the frigid day and poor expectations for bait collection and fishing. After burning 3/4 of a tank of gas and 5 hours later we finally located enough bait to get started fishing. I had been looking for fish as well as bait for hours and set up nearby where I had seen fish a few hours before. We had pulled an area for about 250 yards when I saw a school of fish off the right side of my side scan so I turned the boat hard right and chaos erupted. Eight people on the boat with boards and downlines hooked up on their first experience with this type of fishing was needless to say interesting. I might as well been speaking Russian when I asked them to hold their rods up high, follow the fish, avoid the other lines or to give them any assistance in boating the Stripers. They had been so cold and patient with me trying to catch bait they were ready to warm up reeling in the fish. After the first round I had to retie and rebait most of the rods resulting in loosing the school. We worked an area of about 400 acres never finding the school or even picking up a single. A couple hours had gone by, I only had a few smaller baits left in the tank, my baits on the hooks were tired, I wanted to catch fresh baits and suddenly I ran over a school of big Gizzards so I had everyone reel in the lines, throw away the baits , got my net ready went back over the school and caught 35 in one cast. Now I was feeling better although my shoulder was killing me from throwing the net so many times today. I got on my big motor and found an area where I felt we could put a few fish in the cooler. I set up my spread again of 8 boards, a bobber and 8 downlines and trolled around popping a fish here and there. I glanced at my side scan and saw about 20 Stripers 80 feet out to the side of the boat so I made a gradual turn in their direction. Within the next 10 minutes everything we had out had been hit, Stripers were hooked up going every direction, some coming in the boat some tangling up with other lines. Once everyone stopped screaming with joy one gentleman spoke up and said "My wife need to use the rest room"! My heart sank as I looked at the Lowrance with fish everywhere. I had struggled all day to put a fish in the boat but it was getting late and when nature calls their isn't much you can do. We reeled in all the lines and headed for the marina. Although I was disappointed in leaving feeding fish on a day that I knew would be difficult the smiles on everyone faces especially Len's made all my pains and labors of the day seem worthwhile. Patience, perseverance, confidence and Lowrance gave a group of people memories that will last forever.
Happy Birthday Len

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