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Post Posted: 01:22pm - Aug 12,07 
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It was just after dawn when jonniefishalot and I arrived at the landing. The fog lay heavy, like a grey/white blanket over the still waters of Mazonia’s South unit’s Ponderosa Lake. We could have sliced and quartered the mist if we chose. There were no birds flying, none singing and not a sound to be heard other than our own rustlings as we readied the boat for our early morning’s float.
Not a good sign, I thought.
Much as we had expected though considering the ever rising barometric pressure readings as of late. “We may not catch a single fish today” I said to myself, under my breath, as we dumped it in.
I couldn’t have been more wrong,
so I’ll tell.

Deep and tight to the weedline is how we figured it. We had a starting area in mind, a mid lake hump that dropped off abruptly into deep water on better than half its perimeter. This hump has a dense hood of weed growth over it and these weeds form a vertical fortification that protects the panfish from those predatory greenies, the bigmouthed basses.

John cut the outboard before making the approach and slipped the bow mounted electric into the water to make quiet our intrusion. He eased in slowly and placed an orange marker buoy on the humps center and then continued on to the edge where we would start our probings. John was armed with a wacky rigged plastic worm and lost that worm on his first or third cast to something with a mouth to it that was hiding out in the bottoms of the thick of the thicket down there. He put aside that worming rod right after that for some reason. I never did ask him why but I wondered for awhile why he did that. He shouldn’t have been messing around with them things anyway. Served him right don’tcha think?

I was casting a bluegill sized leech stuck to a small red bait hook. I also had added a teeny split shot to the Cajun Red 4lb. mono to provide the drop with. John went to a pink headed white bodied Mini Mite and tipped his presentation with a pinch of night crawler to aid with the tempt.
We probed the depths as we slowly motored and drifted around two sides of the hump. This is an area that we have had success in working in the past but it looked as though our Mother of Nature was working against us this morning with her high pressure locking the little lips of our bluegills.
It was quite nice weather wise for us two above the water. The air was cool for a change and perfectly comfortable. I don’t know why the fish weren’t enjoying the coolness themselves and making snacks of our offerings.
I also had red wiggler under an adjustable slip float that I was testing the water’s verticals with. All for not too I’ll add.
Things aren’t looking so good here, are they?
Well,
hold tight.

Fishalot was working the edge over pretty good with his Mini Mite and I was probing the thicket with the leech, both to no avail. We marked some fish suspended over the deep water off of and adjacent to the hump and let them have a look at our baits but no interest was taken here either.
Once in a while, when the fish are suspended, we’ll look for adjacent structure nearby and look for willing biters along that structure at same depth of which these fish are suspended. Fish were suspended around 20 to 24 feet down and so John set another buoy at the 24 foot edge of our structure. We backed off into the deeper water and then cast our baits back in at the buoy.
It didn’t work!

Now the fan casting started.
There are biters out there somewhere and we know that, we just have to find where.
Within minutes the Fishalot struck on something.
He made a cast off the South edge of the hump and into the in-between. In between this hump and a much smaller hump of equal rise, in the saddle between the two, was a big bluegill that had no problem at all with the high pressure and accepted John’s crawler tipped Mini Mite offering for his breakfast.
A real nice gill it was and John put him in the boat.
Now someone else might just go on with their fan casting but a good fisherman will always pay attention to each and every cast and when that first fish bites, the attentive fisherman will go right back at it with his very next cast. John repeated his presentation and like right now, brought another big bodied hootch to the craft.
Then!
Oh Then!
“Oh my gosh Fishalot! I said;
What have you got on now!!?”
His stick was doubled over and thumping and he looked to be having himself a time of it with whatever was tugging on the other end of his line.
Seems he may have made a remark about “This must be a bass”, or something or something but this could be no stinkin green fish;
This fish had nads I’m telling ya!

Now here’s where I’m feeling kinda bad about not supplying a photo for you but I’m apparently having an issue with my rechargeable batteries or the charger. My batteries were dead in the camera and this is the second time in consecutive outings where I had this problem and the batteries were freshly charged and so were the replacement set that I had brought along for just-in-cases.
No Photos today.

John managed to wrestle the fish to the surface after a god long tugalong and when our peepers caught sight of this thing, well, we did some squealing like a couple little zoo animals I think.
Into John’s hand came a whale of a redear sunfish. I pulled out the bunk board and John put it on it. The fish almost touched the 11 inch mark on the scale. “Come on John, squeeze its tale, it can make it,” I urged.
Not!
Just about but no cigar!
This redear was a hog and scaled out at just a smidge less than 1 pound.
What a bonus fish that was.
John of course placed another cast right back at that spot but not another redear could he tempt.

I joined in on the fun of working the saddle too and mimicked his presentation with a Mini Mite of my own and for a time, we had at em and big ones they all were too; all gills with the exception of one little you know what that I hooked by mistake and of course shook off at the side of the boat.

After a while, with the sun rising higher and with the fog now burned off, our bite died. It was good while it lasted and if these were all of the fish that we would bring to hand today, that would be fine, for I didn’t expect a bite of any kind to develop for us.
That wouldn’t be the case today though.

When the bite died, I suggested to John that we tie on a matching set of my self tied Any’s Big Ol Knobby Headed Hootchie Momma Spinner Rigs and tip these rigs with live bait and go at a slow troll in deep water. He agreed and so we pulled up stakes and started with the new program.

Here are a few shots of the rigs that we used today:

Image

Image

Image

I tie these much the same as any walleye spinner but the hooks, the beads and the blades are all scaled down in order to be suitable for the small mouths of the bluegills.
The hooks are size 10 Gamakatsu red octopus bait hooks and thanks to Wannabe I’m able to tie the snells with what is called a spade end knot. It’s an easy knot to tie on small hooks when the fluorocarbon leader material is too large to pass twice through the hooks eyelet. Been playing around with these for a couple years now and it can be an absolute blast.

We started out working the approximate 24 foot depth of water and let out our rigs, weighted with ¼ and 3/8th ounce slip sinkers until they would touch bottom and then crank in a bit so as to keep the rig tracking along the tops of the sand grass. I think John tipped with the pinched crawler pieces and I tipped with whole red wigglers and at times, small leeches. The leeches weren’t working today but the crawler bits and the red wigglers did their job well. When a fish would run up on and snatch the bait, they would at times, nearly rip the rods right out of our hands.
That’s fun stuff!
We slow trolled the entire length of one lake leg and caught a couple nice gills but it wasn’t until we had once again reached center lake when the real action started.

“Fish on!” I hollered. “
“What’s our depth”? I asked
“52 feet!” The Fishalot said with a wow in his voice.
52 Feet! That’s pretty incredible and this fish was a long time getting reeled in and gave me heck every bit of the way. We were off a mainland point where the water dives quickly to the main lake’s bottom. We trolled around this point and each picked up a couple more big knobby heads.
There is long deep saddle just ahead between two underwater spoil piles and we trolled through it with expectations of picking up a perch maybe but not a fish of any kind did we find there.
Turning around and making another pass around the point put more fish in the boat and pass after pass after that did the same until we had had our fix and made an end to our outing.

Back at the launch, we talked with a couple other anglers that had been plugging away at greens all the morning long. I guess the bass weren’t cooperating for them, for they had only boated one bass between the two of them.
Hmm
Maybe Mother Nature’s high pressure.
Ya think?

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 05:22pm - Feb 12,03
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Location: Over By Dere

Post Posted: 03:35pm - Aug 12,07 
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Nice tale, Any.
Good to see you getting back on the water.
I have this thought of working a lake in Southern WI in the coming weeks for some of those knobby headed hootchies. I tied up some rigs earlier today that might get some attention, but they may never be as appealing as those you have pictured.

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Joined: 09:32pm - Feb 12,03
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Location: Not quite over the hill, but has a breathtaking view from the lofty perch.

Post Posted: 03:41pm - Aug 12,07 
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Great tale there Any, one can learn quite a bit from the first fish as you had mentioned. Just might be time for some new batteries for the camera, wsj does go through them quite a bit using the camera most often for work related pictures :roll: but once a few shot's only can be taken......new ones are bought.

Sure would be nice to hear from that friendly face "Wanabe"... :bday:

Almost forgot, How's the leg doing?

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Post Posted: 08:46pm - Aug 12,07 
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It would indeed be nice to hear from our old friend, wouldn't it.
The leg is healing well. I expect to be running fast by the time the first tip-up flag flies.

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Post Posted: 12:07pm - Jul 29,18 
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Now, nearly 6 years later:
That badly broken leg happened to come up in conversation just yesterday and so did those little spinner rigs.

Such a great day to be on the water and how fortunate for me to be invited for an outing on the WSJ Outdoorsman Lund.
We were two guys with like interests in our fishing, hunting panfish for reason of pure joy, the joy we gain by repeated bites and hard throbbing tugs from willing biters.
It was yesterday. Bill and I fished this very same clear water reclaimed strip-mine, which was purchased by the state in 1999 and opened to the public shortly after for our utter enjoyment and it does provide just that.

The lake’s surface water temp now is right at 80 degrees. Our fish, both bluegill and crappie were pretty deep. Gills were mostly suspended over deep water and crappies were hugging the bottom in a little better than 20 foot or so.
Our bite wasn’t red hot but it was consistent all the day long with pretty average fish. None were overly big and none were overly small, with the exception of a young of the year largemouth bass that found its way over the gunnel somehow.

Image

The bite was good, good enough for us to run through an entire jar of Berkley Emerald Shiner Gulp Minnows.
Have you ever seen such an ugly presentation as this.
I don't know what those fish thought they were eating but
they liked it!

Image


The latest census for crappie in this lake states that the crappie fishing is "Poor."
It sure is.
Don't believe every thing you read.

Image

Many thanks Bill
I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Joined: 09:32pm - Feb 12,03
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Location: Not quite over the hill, but has a breathtaking view from the lofty perch.

Post Posted: 12:57pm - Jul 29,18 
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Yep those "AnyLuc" spinners" have a special place in my go to box. While they are starting to age a bit they still work just fine......thank you.

Image

Don't forget about the way to keep that gulp jar from leaking all over and smelling the whole place up. 1 3/4" O ring work quite nicely when you remove the original seal on the jars.

Image

Any, it was sure a fun day and I hope to do it again. Thanks for a good time.

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Post Posted: 06:02pm - Jul 30,18 
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Any Luc, a great story and you tell it so well. We will be waiting for you to publish chapter 2.

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