Brute’s Bleat: July 8, 2015


Fishing for sunfish ordinarily is great around the 4th of July and I suspect there were lots of panfish caught, filleted and fried up for some great meals over the holiday. I was out Tuesday and Wednesday of last week with high hopes of finding the honey hole. That didn’t happen on either day and I’m still kind of bewildered with what happened to the big orange-bellied male sunfish that were so prevalent a year ago. I was solo on Tuesday and tried several spots on Maple, but not with a whole lot of success. Females filled with spawn were still a problem and after a couple of hours and only nine keepers I called it quits. On Wednesday I teamed up with George Palmer and suggested an early effect might work. The Tuesday night cold snap apparently froze the jaws of the larger sunfish as cold fronts usually do, and we were scraping to find some to put in the livewell. The little guys were sucking off our pieces of leeches as fast as a person could re-bait. We switched to some Power Bait which was tougher for the small fry sunfish to steal. We moved around more than I normally do, trying to stay just off the weed line. The Northerns apparently were hungry and one made a huge splash and gave up as I boated the sunfish it was after. Later a hammer-handler Northern gave chase as I was reeling in a small sunfish, but veered off, apparently scared by the boat. Palmer and I had a double when crappies hit our lures with a vengeance. Mine was 12 inches, George’s slightly smaller, and both were released. Around noon we found some keeper sunnies among the many small frys we released. We ended up with 20, not good in any angler’s book, considering this is prime time for them, but that’s fishing!
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I watched the Lakers wax the Buffalo team 15-2 a week ago Wednesday at Irish Stadium. Both teams were coming off placing first and second in the Hinckley tournament and it looked like Buffalo just plain ran out of pitchers. They were defeated by Maple Plain 14-4 the night before. Left-hander Todd Fuller was on the mound for the Irish and had a no-hitter going for six innings before giving up a single to the Buffalo third-sacker.     .      .     The Irish have a 10-game home stand beginning with Rockford on July 10.     .      .      
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I teamed up with Daryl Hennen on Friday and Saturday mornings, fishing on Maple Friday and Mink on Saturday. Maple Lake was the best of the two for sunfish and, again, fishing just off the weedline.We picked up about 20 keepers and released a hoard of small sunfish that seemed to like whatever we used for bait. Hennen’s new fishing rig is equipped with an electric trolling motor with a remote control and features an anchoring GPS system that holds the boat in place without using the traditional anchor. It’s a neat piece of equipment and I’m planning to put one on my wish list for Christmas! On Saturday Daryl and his son, Brad, Vanna, and myself fished Mink, beginning about 7:15 a.m. I hadn’t fished that lake since it partially froze out. The sunfish limit is five and we didn’t even come close in the roughly four hours we were on the lake. We found out trolling slowly along the weedline in six to seven feet of water was the most productive. Fishing activity on the lake started to pick up about 10 a.m. with some casting for bass, others trolling for whatever, and some, like us, moving slowly for sunfish.  Daryl caught a mixed bag of sunfish, small bass, and a 25 1/4-inch Northern. His Northern was too large to keep (24- to 36-inchers need to be released). The Northern gave him a run for his money on the light tackle he was using, and without a landing net all he could do was wear the fish down. The sunfish we kept were nice and didn’t seem to have black spots on them like some of those in Maple.
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I saw my first covey of eight chicks and the hen pheasant in Ney Park Friday while walking with Vanna. We were both surprised when they all flew out of some tall grass. Apparently they had hatched early as the young birds didn’t have a problem flying. Vanna got excited when the hen jumped and started peep, peep, peeping, but she didn’t run after it. I’m hoping that means she’s a rooster only dog! Charles Galles told me Sunday he saw a hen turkey and her brood just off a road and I suspect the birds will all become more visible as they get larger and move around for food.   .    .    I had about two inches of rain by 9 a.m. Monday which was a huge boost to farm crops and, of course, the many gardens (vegetables and flowers) and lawns in ML.