The morning was extremely foggy which really limited visibility as we made our way to the light house that marks the open lake. Once on the lake, we discovered that that, in addition to the fog, it was very rough with 3 footers packed very close. Boat speed was much slower than we hoped so it took a little while longer to get to the depth we were aiming for.
Once we finally made it, we started dropping lines. We were running 350, 300, 250, and 200 copper lines on the planer boards. Inside of those were 2 lines running dipsey divers. Inside of those were 4 lines that were sent to the bottom via down riggers. In total, we had 10 lines which took quite a bit of time to set up. The rough water only added to the challenge.
Before we launched the boat, we had the 3 anglers - Ethan, Tanner, and Landen - draw straws to see who went 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Almost as soon as all the lines were out, we had our first fish on the line that hit a spoon on the 350 copper. Landen was up first as Nick - our web guy and deckhand for the day - grabbed the rod from the rod holder and passed it off. Unfortunately, the fish made its way off the hook before we could get him in. Next up was Tanner and the results were the same.
The 3rd angler, Ethan was up next, and since he was a bit smaller, Nick helped Ethan work the rod while Ethan reeled in a 2 year old king salmon! Woohoo! That's one on the boat!
After that, the rotation started over and poor Landen ended up losing a pretty nice fish about 50' from the boat. As Tanner came up for his next turn, Nick decided to help manage the rod and instruct Tanner on how and when to reel. This helped Tanner land a small king which also taught him the right way to get a fish in. More importantly, it was Tanner's first salmon that he has ever caught!!
The day really slowed down after that with a couple of hits and misses. The good news is that the sun was starting to come out, the fog had lifted, and the waves really calmed down.
As we were reeling in all of the lines to make our way to New Buffalo for the weigh in, we ended up getting 2 nice coho salmon! One of them came on the dipsey line and never even tripped it. Not sure how long that fish was hanging on but it was another fish on the board!
As Tanner was reeling in one of the down rigger lines, another coho hit the spoon putting another one in the cooler.
We made it to the pier head with 10 minutes to spare.
Ethan's 5.42lb king salmon netted him 18th overall and the biggest king salmon of the tournament
Tanner's 3.92lb king salmon put him in 25th overall
Landen's 2.36lb coho put him in 29th.
Every kid walked away with medal and prizes!!
Also fishing was the other half of Predator Pursuit, Broc - aka Broc Star.
His young anglers managed to land a couple of lake trout!
Broc's son, Blaine, landed a 6.34lb'er which put him in 15th overall. Young Kilah lost a really nice one right at the net. Heartbreaker!
Once the awards ceremony was finished, we raced back out to 90' of water along with Broc. The plan was to drop lines, and troll the 80' to 90' line back to Michigan City.
As soon as we got the lines pulled, Nick happened to look to the east and noticed the sky getting pretty dark so we flipped on channel 5 to listen to the marine forecast. Sure enough, thunderstorms were starting to develop just to the east of where we needed to go and headed that way. Everybody on board started pulling lines as fast as we could!! Once they were all in, we put all 300hp to the water and raced back to the ramp.
We luckily beat the storm!! Broc made it back about 10 minutes later. He was delayed just a bit because they connected with some coho as they were pulling in the lines! Love those last second fish!
Overall, it was tough fishing but a very fun time!