We left Marblehead with a stiff North East wind in our face once again as we cleared East Harbor channel. The waves weren’t bad but had been building overnight to create some 2-4’ swells that would make for a sporty ride once we made it past Kelley’s Island. The plan for the day was to start of trolling and switch to casting if we were lucky enough to get close to the clients limits. It isn’t a plan that I prefer to do but the clients requested we do that and I made the necessary accommodations. We rode into the waves all the way up to Gull Island Shoal where we had been fishing the last few days and were going to set up to troll going downwind, this is an easier approach for me when weather is rough and I don’t have a first mate for the day. As I started setting gear the wind and waves gave us a few problems with some wind knots and line popping off the boards prematurely. After some adjustments were made to the gear, and we untangled a few lines we started setting up again. We managed to pick a couple keepers and throw a few short fish back just before we landed on a huge pod of Sheephead sitting just on the west side of Kelley’s Island near Carpenters Point. After the Freshwater Drums decided to wreck our gear by tangling lines and a few clients that were a little too excited to start reeling before the lines had cleared to the back, we decided to clear the whole system and begin a new set. During our morning safety talks and instructions for how to run our trolling system we describe the importance of letting the lines go to the back middle of the boat before starting to reel the fish into the range of the net. When clients reel too soon the rod they are reeling will tangle into the next one and then we have to spend time untangling rods, which results in a loss of fishing time for the customers. With trolling it’s very important to not waste time untangling rods because that means that those rods are not in the water fishing. With the slower trolling bite and so many problems with tangles and gear concerns we decided to try casting for a little while. The marks were great in the South Passage where we were fishing but we had only managed to catch two fish casting. With our total only being at 14 and a couple hours left in the day we decided to try and go back to trolling. After one more instructional talk about the need for letting the line go back to the boat before reeling and letting the crew know that I would give the instruction on when to reel we started setting lines. The last few hours of the trip would result in flawless fishing by the crew as they paid more attention to the gear. We finished the trip with 27 Lake Erie Walleye and no tangles during the last few hours of the trip. After a very rocky start we ended up finding some calm water near Marblehead with some decent fishing and now have the clients trained for their next Lake Erie Fishing Charter. The trip was a success as we continue to have some decent fishing days on the lake even in rough weather.
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