|The end of the road. And so in a blink of an eye, my self proclaimed five month season comes to a end and year number 30 is officially in the books. Itís a year that I will never forget for a variety of reasons. Primarily being a milestone year for me celebrating my 30 years in this business. Not so fondly, I will also remember 2016 for how hard we struggled many of the days to send all our guests home with as much fish as possible. A lot of days it wasnít real easy but somehow, some way at the end of the day on most days we had pretty decent boxes of Walleyes to show for our efforts. Mission accomplished! It also seemed like a excessively windy and rough year to me to compound things. Maybe itís just that I am getting older now and everything just hurts that much more after the lake dishes out its almost daily beatings. This past week was pretty decent however for a change with good weather and some really good fishing for both the Walleye and the Perch if you were willing to make the 18 mile run to Conneaut where everybody is catching them right now. We did exactly that on Friday and it was awesome for us! The rest of the week we still Walleye fished and that was still very good as well. And thatís about as much that Iím going to talk about fishing here in this final report. The rest of this blog is going to be filled with some people that I would like to thank and something that I usually donít do enough of. Recognizing a couple of new sponsors that I had onboard with us this year.|
|And in no particular order I would like to start with Seadek Marine Products. A innovative company that manufactures boat deck coverings. This past winter I had the opportunity to attend the Miami International Boat show down in Florida. This is where I first saw this product. I couldnít believe how many brand new boats were decked out with this high tech non skid soft floor covering and how GREAT they all looked! After returning home and doing much research and my own due diligence to learn as much as I could about this product, I was convinced that I wanted to try it. Itís basically a very durable closed cell foam rubbery like sheet that comes in many colors and textures that can be cut and easily applied to any surface with itís own peel & stick 3M back side. The edges can be easily routed to give it a nice finished look. And when used on the boats floor, it gives you a unbelievable non skid surface especially when wet that also provides exceptional shock absorption and anti fatigue qualities. After contacting Seadek, they were gracious enough to work with me to get some on ďThe TrophyĒ and get some exposure also up here on the Great Lakes. For my first year I laid it down throughout the entire cuddy cabin in a beautiful Bimini Blue including the bunks and steps. It looks great and everything stays put right where you put it no matter how rough the lake is. I also covered the engine boxes which double as seats, the dinette table top and a couple of test pieces in the back of the boat where everyone stands to set lines and reel in fish. Before I did the whole deck, I had to see for myself how it held up to a seasons worth of commercial abuse. And let me tell you something... This stuff is unbelievable! It wore like iron with no signs of hardly any wear or nicking and cuts. It cleans up easily. And oh my how comfortable to stand on! I never felt more confident netting fish in the back as my feet stayed planted no matter how wet it was or how bad the boat rocked! I am now a big time BELIEVER and I promise you, for 2017 every square inch of decking aboard ďThe TrophyĒ will be covered in Seadek! Again, thank you Seadek Marine Products and I encourage everyone that has a boat to visit www.seadek.com and or call me to discuss my experiences with this fine product.|
|And I would like to give a big shout out to Rigid Industries LED Lighting. The foremost recognized name in high end LED light bars. They also have a line of marine products built specifically to deal with the harsh punishment that a marine environment has to deal with. My fascination with forward projecting lighting started many years ago when we started leaving earlier and earlier in the morning darkness to arrive at the fishing grounds at the first hint of daylight. But along with making these long runs in the pitch black darkness came the increased risk of whacking a log or even worst out in the water. I thought, why not have powerful lights illuminating the path forward as we traveled? And so it started for me. Many years ago I mounted up on the bow a pair of commercial marine grade halogen spot lights. Back in the day these were big money and the baddest things available. I thought they were great even though everybody laughed at me by saying things like, ďhey look at that car comingĒ! And what do you need lights for! I didnít care. I had a new sense of additional safety. Then LED lighting started becoming more readily available and I dabbled with some cheap Chinese knock off lights. Even though my earliest LEDís were of poor quality and build, they made my expensive Halogens look yellow and dim. So again I did my own due diligence and set out to find the brightest, best built LED marine light bar available. Everything kept pointing to and coming back to Rigid Industries. So I first started with a pair of M 6Ē six inch Rigid spots which I used to replace the halogens that I had. I was instantly impressed! The build quality was unsurpassed and when I lit them up in the dark for the first time I was just blown away! Each 6 inch bar gave me 4,500 lumens of pure white light for a total of 9,000 lumens of lighting power. But I wanted more! And with a little help from Rigid, I added yet another pair of twenty inch M 2 20Ēs in their driving beam pattern this year. Each of these light bars is a astonishing 18,000 lumens! Together these two driving lights provide me with 36,000 lumens and when I run the six inchers also which I do, itís a total mind boggling 45,000 lumens of lighting! It simply makes daylight out of darkness. After running this combination all of this season, I am pleased to say that these things are bullet proof! Never a flicker, no condensation anywhere, just total awesomeness! And these white marine light bars look GREAT too! Again, thanks goes out to Rigid Industries for building the finest marine lighting that is available on this planet! I also encourage everyone that does any kind of boating or fishing in the dark to visit www.rigidindustries.com and to feel free to contact me as well with any questions on my own experiences and applications with Rigids.|
|And finally just as I wrap up all of my fishing reports each year, I would like to thank my most important sponsors of all. ALL OF YOU that fished with me this summer and made all of this possible! I thank everyone from the very bottom of my heart! Even though I think it just may have been my toughest year ever, I also think that in all 30 years of chartering I had the very best crews EVER this year! I enjoyed everybody's company and really appreciated all the generosity everyone showed. I thank everyone that honored my wishes of keeping the crew size down to 4 people this year. It was just wonderful and it really worked out great because on most days thatís about all that we could catch! 4 limits of Walleyes. Thanks also goes out to everyone that got up super early as per my wishes so that we could get out crazy early and be there all set up and ready whenever the fish finally turned on. It also gave me a chance to play with all my fancy LED lights! Lol! Thanks to everyone that congratulated me this year and wished me well here in my 30th season. That in its self meant more to me then words can say. And finally thanks to everyone that followed along weekly with my journey through this years fishing season by reading all of these reports. Every year I get complete strangers that approach me and thank me for my dedication to these things each week. I am glad so many people look forward to following along each week. Whether you fish with me or not! So thatís about it. Iíll be in the water one more week fishing but as I mentioned last week, weíll be super busy wrapping things up next weekend so I wanted to sign off this week where I had more time and a chance to do it properly. I hope everyone has a very safe and prosperous winter and that everyone enjoys the holidays with their friends and family. I know that I will! I have a lot of catching up to do myself! So till next year folks, one final OVER & OUT!|
Celebrating Our 30th Season!