A few days ago we got back after visiting my wife's family in Wisconsin, where they moved less than a year ago. It was our first time there & a great opportunity to try out the new boat.
On the way there we stopped at Big Mac to patiently (yet joyfully) break in the 175 Verado and fish for just a couple of hours. We trolled 3 shad cranks & 1 rainbow BBZ at a whopping 8". I certainly didn't expect channel catfish in 30-40 FOW with the lures way above them at 8-15 ft deep, nor did I anticipate cats taking these baits, but that's what we got instead of wipers. 3 of the 4 lines we had out were hit at the same time trolling with planers near the dam. It was mayhem but we managed to get them in. I had just enough nets on board... three :-) The two I caught were 6lbs 11oz (this one took the 8" BBZ) and 2lbs 12oz, while my 5 and 9 yr olds took turns on the 6lb 6oz cat. It was their first cat. We caught it on video. I'll try to post it later after I get some time to edit.
Here they are right before the slaughter. The fish fry was a big hit with the family in Wisconsin.
On our way to WI we stopped at Cabela's. While at the fish tanks, one catfish swam vertical like I had never seen before & then the Big Mac cats made more sense to me.
In the Madison area of WI, I did get away for a couple of mornings to fish 4-5 hours at Mendota. Would have been more but trying to figure out park entrances, hours, ramps, and regs made it challenging in a foreign land.
The 1st morning was decent for numbers with a dozen fish (white bass mostly, with a few smallies, a perch, and a drum). No size to them though as you can see in these pics.
And, here's a good shot of the boat at Mendota. My wife let me get the boat as long as I got her a captain's chair & bimini top.
The next morning I only caught 2 fish but they were better.
11 1/2 lb channel cat which I hoped was a monster walleye. No complaints though!
3 1/2 lb smallie
After a few days of enjoying the in laws & their country home along with my family, I snuck away for a few days of fishing at Sister Bay/Fish Creek (Green Bay/Door County Peninsula).
I arrived in Sister Bay around noon & embarked on a 5hr guided trip-
Each pic is a different fish (all in the 4 1/2lb to 5 1/2lb range).
Shown below... 5 1/2lbs (personal best) maybe 7 if it wasn't spawned out?
another nice one -
Though the big water experience & big fish was incredible, I suffered from some of the most severe back pain of my life, limiting me to 7 hour fishing days the following two days.
Day 2 & 3 (smallies were slightly smaller in the 3lb to 4 1/2lb range & the drum was 5 3/4lbs).
Here's day 2-
Caught a few drum too.
All fish were caught in the rocky flats of these islands or just below rocky ledges. Thanks to the zebra mussels I was able to sight fish about half of the time.
Here's what worked:
Kalin's 5" grubs on 1/4 or 3/16 mushroom jig heads
5" Wacky Senkos
Drop shotting plastic worms and tubes
Weedless Shad Huddleston (pictured)
Next time I get to WI, I want to make sure my family visits Sister Bay with me. Beautiful area-
We were going to tube Lake Michigan near Racine but the waves were a bit much for kids as the cold water splashed them, so we trolled for browns. I didn't expect much. We lucked into a couple of little Chinook (aka King) Salmon. Here's one my boy caught.
Clayton enjoying his new seat & my old hat I gave him.
Lighthouse we passed by-
Look what I found in the cooler. My ice tea had a surprise ice koozie-
On our way home we stopped at Big Mac one more time, just for watersports and swimming.