Just returned from one of the greatest fisheries in the world, Sturgeon Bay WI! It has become an annual adventure every May to hit up this area of Door County for the exceptional smallmouth fishing.
This year was no different, Big Buff and I headed for the Bay with loads of smallmouth baits, rods, reels, and two boats in tow. Anticipation ran high as it always does and we rolled into town with big smallies on the brain. We launched out of little sturgeon and the first thing we did was check water temps and then start running some water in search of the bay's giant smallies. We found the fish to be biting, but not be the size we were used to. We landed 30-40 fish the first day, was a blast, but we never had a fish over 4lbs. Very odd for Sturgeon Bay but it was only the first day.
As the week went on, more of the same; big #'s of fish but not the quality we were used to. As the chatter started amongst the anglers we quickly learned we weren't the only ones that had been struggling to find the quality smallmouth we had come accustomed to catching. Don't get me wrong, catching 40-100 smallmouth a day in the 2-4lb range is about as good as it gets, but it isn't what you want when you need to be catching 5-6lb fish for the upcoming tourney we had to prepare for.
After dealing with some tough weather and tough practice conditions we had to prepare for a tourney. Buff and I set out on the first day to just go fishing and have fun. We accomplished exactly that. We caught a bunch of fish and had a great time, unfortunately they weren't as big as we hoped and finished day one in 69th place with 20.90 lbs. Knowing we needed a big day two to make up enough ground to get a check we swung for the fence on day two. I ran 25 miles up the lake to an area that we knew we could get some big bites. We fished a 150 yard stretch all day for a total of 7 bites, 5 of which made it in the boat and were "good ones". The other 2 bites got off and all we needed was one of them...one of those fish in the boat and we would have had a nice day 2 bag of 4+ lb fish that would have got us real close to check. Instead I had to run at the last minute to get our 6th fish for a limit and it was just a little peanut. We finished day 2 with 22lbs and one fish we had to weigh was less then a 1lb....ouch! That was the gamble we had to take and it came ever so close to paying off. We ended up finishing the Sturgeon Bay Open in 51st place out of 168 teams, not the finish we had hoped for but sometimes you have to do it wrong before we do it right. It was a great learning experience and good time.
One thing is for sure, the burning desire to crush it next year is already burning. It is a long wait until next May when we get to go back to this amazing fishery and try our skills again.
Now onto the present.... MN fishing season is in full swing and I can't wait to get after some fish around here. Excited to get some guide trips on some fish and also have a few fresh walleye fish frys. It will be a busy few weeks and months ahead. If you are looking to get out, get a hold of me now and we can get you scheduled. Until next time, fish on and get out and stretch the string!