Boat Carpet Kills Fish

Ever see a fish with soars or scum balls on its sides? It could be because of dry boat carpet. It’s on the floor where you lay the fish after netteing. It’s on your deck where you measure the fish, or lay for photos. All the protective slime is wiped off and the fish get a burn from it, and without the sline they can get bacterial diseases and growths.

I put a shhower encloure in years ago, 8×10′ plastic sheets and had a few pieces left over so I put one in the floor of my V-bottom. It gets a little slick when wet vut otherwise is no trouble what so ever and is heavy enough that it won’t blow out. It protects the fish, keeping it off the carpet. Next I put a piece on my livewell pid so when I measured fish it wouldn’t touch carpet. This is working so well I am fixing my flatbottom to do the same. I am trying a heavy duty floor mat from a car. It is heavy, won’t blow out and should keep the fish off the carpet.

This should be manditory for walleye tournament boats. Right now there isn’t a product on the market, so people would have to make their own. I think heavy duty truck floor mats would work best because they aren’t slippery when wet and won’t blow out while trailering boats going 80 mph. It’s easy to screw down some type of plastic on a boat lid next to your measuring board.

Some boats have a rubberized floor, but if it’s bone dry it will still hurt the fish. I try to wet my boat floor before I put a big fish in the boat.

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Hoop Nets Around Wingdams

I have mentioned it before, but I am seeing it happen more than ever. Commercial Fisherman dropping Hoop Nets around Wingdams. You fish a wingdam and notice an area you can’t get passed, like a tree moved in. You lose a few lures, then just quit fishing the area because it’s too much trouble. When no one is around a commercial fisherman will show up and pull up his hoop net, or his gill net. He should throw back all the walleye, dead or alive. They are easy to notice because they are scarred up from the metal trap or from being buried under hundreds of pounds of carp in the bottom of a boat.

Here is what the rig looks like, they drop an heavy anchor of some sort, then feed out 50′ of rope, then the hoop net. After that they drop in a long rope with a visible float or an anchored float rig where they can snag the rope to retrieve the rig. It’s so long it’s pretty easy to find without a gps.

They drop these in front of wingdams, in any holes in wingdams and off the end of wingdams, everywhere where the walleye like to congregate. Most guys drop them below wingdams, where they are not in the way, but they do catch a lot of walleye and most do not check these every 2 days as required, they could sit for weeks or months as the fish slowly fill up the trap. They also drop these in along drop offs where all fish migrate through, usually ahead of wingdams. There are a lot of holes and shallows with lots of rough fish, I do not know why they have to drop these in around wingdams except maybe because it makes them easy to find.

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My New New Boat – Yamaha Vs Mercury

I bought a new boat in 1995, it was a 1994 16′ mirrorcraft V-bottom, with nice trailer and came with mercury 56# thrust trolling motor, and 50 hp mariner with tilt and trim and electric start. The boat had a bilge pump, electrical panel, running lights etc. I paid $6000 for it new at M&M marina. I got good use out of it, it made dozens trips to lake erie and the Mississippi River. It was pretty wore out when I ran out of oil and instantly blew the motor. I had electrical wire problems on the motor at lake erie and the warning buzzer quit working, and so it cost me the motor. I sold the motor for $500 for parts and sold the boat and trailer for $1000, nothing in it really, lust the bilge pump and lights and the old original seats. These days you can’t touch a boat like that for under $10,000. I finally replaced it in 2010, I bought an old 1995 alumincarft on ebay for $1800. I swapped the trailer from the mirrorcraft, didn’t like the roller trailer even though it was like new.. I bought a 2008 60 hp 4-stroke merc. I really like this boat even though it has small leaks and the transom is weak.

I also have a flatbttom that I first bought in 1978, sold it to a guy who let it sit for 6 years and then bought it back from him. It leaks so bad I worry it will sink so I have been looking for a new boat for some time and let a lot of good deals slide by because I was too busy fishing. By the time I got serious there wasn’t much available. I did buy a new flatbottom though. It was a catfish boat. I paid $3,600 for it and paid too much I think. It didn’t come with much of anything but it has a nice galvanized trailer and an old yamaha motor. I am making a deck and adding a trolling motor and everything. It’s pretty much an empty oat and what’s in there I have to remove. I have spent the last two weeks working on it and no where close to being able to go out fishing. Its a 2000 boat and trailer and the motor is a 1997 45 hp jet drive. I was shocked to find the motor didn’t have electric start or tilt and trim. I almost walked away from the deal but he came down $1400. Its a 17.5′ boat, but is ribbeted so it’s light weight. I had tyo add a swing tongue on the trailer. Those are really nice and was able to gain about 30″ of room in my garage. I added guides on the sides. I still have more work to do on the trailer but too busy working on the boat.

I cannot believe the difference between a 50 hp 1994 mariner and a 45 hp 1997 yamaha. Yamaha are supposed to be the best, and even the old motors cost a fortune. If my oil warning hadn’t gone out I’m sure that motor would have ran for a long time. Well this yamaha doesn’t even have a warning. You can’t even see the oil tank, it’s under the hood and you have to remove the hood to check it and fill it up where the mariner had a cap on the hood and a gauge you could see. This is going so far backward, it is primitive. What a pain this is going to be. I imagine I will do away with the injection system later and just add oil in the gas.

OK I can live with that, but so much for yamaha being better than mercury mariner. Now to start the motor I look for the primer. There is no primer! Even my old 1994 mercury jet-drive has a primer! And it starts first pull! Well not this yamaha. You have to pull on it a few times to prime it!. A 45 hp isn’t so easy to pull and I have a bad back, bad wrists and bad elbow. I checked into getting an electric start and they want $1200 for the kit and its really hard to install. Hardly worth it.

And last, there is no trim and tilt. This motor weighs a ton, it is a back breaker to lift to put in shallow drive. I just hope by putting it in reverse it will help lift itself.

I did try to start it and after a few pulls I figured out the throttle was stuck and when I managed to get it on full throttle it started right up. I hope this motor works out. Otherwise I will be looking for a new motor and jet drive are becoming obsolete. Everyone is going with the nud runners but they cost a fortune and are a pain to trailer. There is a motor just like mine on ebay with a propped lower unit and they want $4000 for it. That’s too bad, it has electric start and trim and tilt, I could swap out the lower unit but since they are rare you can’t find one for a decent price. If you ask me, yamaha sucks compared to mercury.

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How to Fillet Catfish with Electric Knife

How to Fillet Catfish with Electric Knife

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Learning How to Walleye Fish

I learned how to walleye fish at Belview Ia, at dam 12 tailwaters. My first trip I didn’t know anything, just used a 1/4 jig and minnow. I noticed about everyone else was back trolling with their motor, pulling 3-way rigs, a red bead and a minnow. In the pocket, the corner by the dam, there was about 10-15 boats anchored. Since there was so many they couldn’t hardly cast so most everyone jigs vertically jigged.

I did try the 3-way and did ok, but I’m not much for following the crowd and soon was doing my own thing and things were about to change at Belview. I liked the pocket and further down the bank. There was a rock pile that split the area into two sections, but the plowed it down in about 1985. I preferred to troll with an electric motor, much better boat control than the gas motor. Back then the trolling motors didn’t have much power, about 28# thrust, so I had one set up on the back as well and used a car dimmer switch to activate it from up front, giving me 56# thrust when needed.

I liked to follow the ledges, trying to stay at a certain depth, and find corners, drop offs, V’s or what ever and that is usually where the fish would show up, so I would just repeat the pass. Now since there was 15 boats anchored all over I had to speed up running between them and found that would catch fish, so I would race around following the ledges, dodging the boats and pulling in one fish after the other.

Well it wasn’t long and no one anchored anymore. Most still couldn’t figure out what I was doing but they tried. Everyone shared the water, made passes and let others move through. These days guys race in and lock their trolling motor gps right on the spot, and you know what that gets you, nothing. They are going backwards, back to the old days of anchoring on the fish without catching much. But hey, at least they don’t have to watch anyone else catch fish there.

I did still back troll on the flats when the pocket got slow. Trolling motors started getting bigger so everyone pretty much went electric instead of gas motors. I never did like the bead technique so came up with my own rigs. Like a heavy jig for a weight and a floater attached to the 3-way, or just stuck with the jig. Years later I liked the crankbaits better, especially when there was small fish stripping the baits. I always did ok and sometimes the tailwaters were the only place to fish. In the warmer months I always fished for bass. I remember an old timer telling me he preferred wingdams, but I just laughed to myself, I was catching 30-50 fish a day and most were averaging 3 pounds. But I was wrong, I could have been catching big walleye the whole time and not having to fight the crowds. So in about 1992 that’s what I did, stuck with wingdams pretty much all the time and only fished tailwaters when the river would freeze.

People always wondered why I always fished one wingdam. I was experimenting and learning bout where the fish can be caught and how they move through. I might spend 4 hours not catching anything, but then a school of fish would move through and I would have 10 in 30 minutes. I would say just about everyday, some time or other, fish would move through. I’m glad I did that but if only I had known what I know now. I could have been catching big walleye on wingdams all over the river and had it top myself. These days it’s hard to find fish that haven’t been jerked a hundred times because of so many tournament anglers and other fisherman.

I still have a lot to learn and I have been doing it for decades. I waste a lot of time experimenting or just messing around looking. I don’t go after the bite like everyone else, I just enjoy being out and prefer to stay away from tailwater crowds. One thing I know is that there is no guaranteed anything. The fish are either biting or their not, there either there or somewhere else. It could be the middle of the day in bright sun, early mornings, late afternoons, cold fronts, warm fronts, east or west winds, you just don’t know unless you get out there. You might have to fish all day waiting for a school to move through, and maybe they won’t. Or maybe they’re biting down river, or up river. In the fall the fish are moving, so here one day, gone the next. If you wait long enough, they will probably move through no matter where you are, just pick an area you like to fish. If you must have action, join the crowds at the tailwaters.

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