Part Fourty-six

Randy Fratzke

Full Moon Fever

By Randy Fratzke

Well things have been a little slow on the fishing front lately. The water is still a little cold for bass and crappie and it's still a little early for the walleye. The behemoth northern is starting to set up it's feeding pattern, but it's not down to a science, yet. But last week was a full moon and the fish in the shallows were jumping all over.... a sound I just couldn't resist! So I donned my waders (or rather stretched them over my "winter body", grabbed my rod and headed over....

First of all I have to tell you, never try this unless you really know the water and the territory or they'll find you floating in the morning. Second, if you do it, try to find a buddy or be within earshot of someone in case you do go down so you can at least call for help if you do get into trouble. I stationed my wife on the front deck with a hot cup of coffee, (I'd invited her to go with me but won't repeat the answer I got... something about the mental health institute down the road...)

The full moon gave enough light to see the rings of the rising fish and the stirrings of the minnows as the larger fish foraged on them. So knowing where to cast wasn't a problem. The problem came once I hooked a fish. First, I wasn't sure what I'd hooked. Second, I didn't know how large it was. Third, I couldn't tell where it was headed or what snags, downed limbs or tree trunks were over there. Needless to say, it was a challenge, but wow, talk about fun! Until you worked the fish close enough to net or it jumped high enough to see it in the moonlight, you just didn't know.

I was using small, "marsh mellow" poppers, tugging slightly, then waiting until the rings disappeared. When the fish hit in the darkness the adrenaline rush (or was it just plain fright!) was something else! You just hang on and hope you can stop it before the line hangs up somewhere. I caught small mouth, crappies and small walleyes. I'd never had walleyes take a top water popper before and was really surprised when I turned on the flashlight to see what was on the end my line also glad that I hadn't lipped it like I normally do the bass and crappie!

Sometime you ought to give this a try. The fish are a lot less wary, more plentiful, and on the feed at night. Just remember to know the layout before it gets dark... some places drop off real quick. If your not sure, where a life vest! The sounds are also incredible. You can hear things moving in the water all around. Small fish can make a lot of noise when they're running from a predator, so don't be fooled by every big splash you hear! Go for it and have some fun! ~ Randy Fratzke

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