Fishing the Walleye Smackdown '07
Written by Keith Shisler - Educated Angler Field Staff   
Tuesday, 31 July 2007 17:33
For those of you who have never been to one of our Educated Angler outings, I can only say, “You don’t know what you are missing!” The EA walleye smack down was the first such event I had ever attended and I am very happy I did.

My Son Corey and I met Reid (Red Rider), Bob (Birddog), Terry (Green Machine), Shirley (The Dip maker extraordinaire), Paul and Deb, at a truck stop on interstate 94 to hook my boat to Reid’s Suburban for the trip over to Toledo Beach. While we were hooking up I got a call from Josh who was nearing the very same exit with his crew and boat. A few minutes later we “had ourselves a Convoy!” 10-4 Rubber Duck. As we crossed the Illinois border the air conditioning in the suburban quit but, then we hit the obligatory Chicago traffic jam. While sitting in traffic the air worked so that was a blessing. Our Convoy was split up for a time in Chicago with some of us going the Eden’s to the skyway, others went via 294, and still others took the Dan Ryan. It seems that all routes were equally as bad because we all came out into Indiana within a few minutes of each other.

When we crossed into Ohio there was a rather loud grinding noise coming from under the hood of the truck and we all prayed it would not throw the serpentine belt before we arrived at our destination.  We made the rest of the trip without incident. When we arrived at the motel that Clark (BFG) lined up for us, we met Josh and Charlie in the parking lot. Much partying and fun conversation ensued.

Next morning, Reid and Clark found a shop that could fix the truck for us. The wind was blowing and thunderstorms were going through so we didn’t miss any fishing time while it was being repaired. When Reid took the truck there I found out that I left the key to my boat hitch lock on my pick up keys in Racine. DOH! When the truck was finished we all went over to Toledo Beach Marina, Home of “Little Dandy” and “Roamer” and an excellent facility that I plan to return to some day soon. Upon arrival there we met all the rest of the EA gang and more partying and fun conversation ensued. Thank you to all the members who donated the great dishes to pass. A special mention goes out to Coz who sent along some smoked pork even though he couldn’t make the trip.

By the time we arrived at the marina and had some refreshments and food the wind had slackened and Josh took Charlie (Bakers Dozen) out to Brest Bay where they were able to pick up 3 walleyes before coming in.  The forecast for the next day called for west winds at 5-10 mph or light and variable, depending on who you listened to. Either way was excellent news for the upcoming smack down.

The next morning we were all up bright and early to commence with the smacking down.  As we left the pier heads we observed that those called for light west winds had light and variable there way into a stiff wind directly out of the … EAST perfectly the wrong direction.  After pounding our way for 5 or 6 miles into the 2-3 foot chop, that only Lake Erie can provide, we set up lines near the shipping channel leading to Toledo. That is when we realized that we had left BOTH nets in Clark’s truck where we had put them for safe keeping the night before. Luckily Reid brought some gloves that are good for gripping fish with, or we would have had to run back for one. We lost a few fish because of this until Little Dandy made a deft handoff of one of his nets as we trolled along. We were able to get 3 walleyes in that vicinity along with numerous sheepshead and white bass.

From reports on the radio our friends were having better luck further out north west of “West Sister Island.” We decided to motor over there and get in on the action. By the time we arrived at that area which was 12.7 miles from Toledo Beach the wind had slackened somewhat and, after setting lines the whacking commenced in earnest. Small spoons on 2 colors of lead with ¾ oz. snap weights were working as were riggers and dipsies. The WD spoons by Dreamweaver did much of the catching, as did mini streaks, and one reef runner little ripper in blueberry muffin. 

Later we found that the mini disc we were running on one of our planer boards was doing better than the lead core so for the next day we switched to all discs in lieu of the lead core. Thanks to Paul of Salmonhead charters who made finding the active fish easy for us.  We really got into the fish there and when we limited we had 5 on at once so I marked the spot on my GPS for reference the next day.

Away we went to the cleaning station where we saw the results of the days fishing. Limits were the norm and there was much filleting to be done. Let me say that Lake Erie is all it is cracked up to be and more, what a GREAT fishery.  After the cleaning we proceeded to the EA tent for a wonderful feast of deep fried walleye, smoked Pork, Venison sausages provided by Paul and lots of other tasty dishes from the EA community.

The next morning we ran directly to my reference mark from the previous day on a perfectly flat lake. We set lines and immediately were taking fish. By 9:30 we had our 24 fish limit and headed in to clean them.  There were many fond farewells at the marina and away we went for the trek back to Wisconsin. 

Let me reiterate that if you haven’t been to an EA event yet you simply must do yourself a favor and go to one in the future.  You will have a great time, catch lots of fish and meet in person the people you have been interacting with in cyberspace.  I think you will find that “most” of them are even nicer in person than they are on line.

Many thanks to all the members too numerous to mention by name who set this outing up and worked to make it a success.  Special thanks to Clark, whose idea it was in the first place, and who did so much to make it a reality.  Also to Reid who offered to tow the boat over and give my son and I a ride, to Paul for the great venison sausages.  Last but not least, to Greg and Tom for creating this site, without which there would be no community to have an event like this in the first place.

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