This morning I got to the Manistee Pier at 5:45am and there were 10-12 cars in the lot. It was dark and the boat lights out on the lake were beautiful. Gee, they must get out REALLY early! I walked out the pier and was careful to avoid the pipe that always bangs my shin below the 1st set of steps. I found a open position and got my 9' steelhead/salmon rod hooked up to a glow Little Cleo (white/orange). I use a camera flash to make it glow. There were a lot of boats circling in the bay so I knew the fish were in. It has been in the 40s at night and high 60s during the day. The baitfish were in.
This is what the fish were feeding on. No I didn't keep or count this fish! Some guys were using a Sabiki rig which has about 8 small (size 14) hooks with a tiny white skirts to catch the alewife/baitfish to use as bait for the salmon. I merely snagged one on my line but being the sportsman that I am, I released the fish to swim with the salmon (sorta like running with the bulls!).
I was casting away and letting it settle to the bottom before I began my slow retrieve. Over and over, casting out as far as I could. I was casting into the bay and several others were on the beach side of the pier. At first light, the action started. As I was slowly bringing in the cleo, a freight train hit my spoon and headed out to the big lake. Right about this moment I realized that I forgot my salmon pier landing net. After a few more runs, I started him back to the pier, I was using 10# line so I couldn't horse him in. A guy next to me came over with his net and netted it for me.
Note I had him on the stringer before I held him up for a picture. Now I realized that I only brought one rod and I couldn 't tie it to anything. There are PVC pipes sunken in the pier to hold your rods, which didn't help me. I needed a piece of rope to tie to my 15' stringer in order to tie off on a fixture up on the walk above where I am standing. No rope! What do I do? Tie it to my leg?....nope!
Yes, I tied it to my small tackle box....but the tackle box isn't tied to any thing you might say. You are so right. I fished and stepped on the rope to secure it. Good ole' Stauffer problem solving. Fishing away and and not a care in the world. Oops, a fish is on some guy's rod down the pier and his fish is heading in my direction. The frantic scramble to clear a way for the guy. I step back and as he goes by it excites my fish to run out to the end of the stringer. I had just stepped back to let the guy by and suddenly I see my tackle box sliding towards the edge of the pier. Nope, the fish was faster than I was. I reached but the tackle box fell in to the lake and started out to the big lake. A thought was going through my mind. 'I wonder if my tackle box floats?'
I made a cast at my stringer and managed to hook the stringer which is attached to a running salmon and a heavy tackle box. The tackle box does float. The tackle box, 15' stringer, and a huge salmon was now attached to my fishing pole. I had another great fight getting in this 'twice caught' salmon. Where are the pictures you ask. Sorry, I was busy fighting the tackle box!
So it was a great day on the pier. After the sun came up, the fish shut down. I saw 6-10 salmon caught along the pier.
Arriving home, I immediately got a longer piece of rope and set my landing net out. I'll have to make a PVC pipe/stringer holder to use for tomorrow.
A beautiful day, a day out on the pier, up early, and salmon for the freezer...priceless!!!