10) North Channel Smallmouth, Popovics' Popper Pattern RULES! July 10

Bass Poppers Big Smallmouth Bob's Banger Popper Marabou Banger Popper Pike Popper Popovick's Jiggy

On the long padIe downstream from the launch in Saint Johns Marsh, I tried for largemouth in some new to me shallow weedy bays and some seawall spots, nothing there. 

Nearer the mouth of the North Channel, the current flowed briskly over deep, partially weeded flat. Drifting along the 8 foot contour, casting Poppers out across the current toward 12 or 15 ft depths near the edge of the much deeper central channel.  On the first drift the White 3/0 Marabou Banger got hit by a very big, hard fighting smallmouth that shook the hook on the first high jump.  I stopped to set up to take video.  A few cast later, a 6 foot Sturgeon leaped right into the field of view but, alas, he missed my popper by a mile.  I got a Largemouth fishing in to shore and 2 good smallmouth fishing the popper out in the deep current. 


A violent thunder squall forced me to take shelter back in the shallows out of the wind and current, where I saw  a Bowfin up close.  It settled down to a drizzle and I anchored and pounded repeated casts over a deep weedy dredge hole back in the phragmites with a 3/0 Chartreuse Marabou Banger.  A Pike or Musky 30 inches or so  blew it up in a huge strike and cut me off pretty quick.  Out in the current I got one more smally to hit a Chartreuse popper and caught the biggest smallmouth on a #4 White Bead Head Jiggy, another Bob Popovics pattern.

 Huge power boats and inconsiderate jet ski operators are a nearly constant problem to enjoying kayak fishing almost anywhere in big water.  Part of the mouth of the North Channel is a no wake zone that is well enforced.  Friday morning early was not bad and a thunderstorm cleared the boaters out and made this a much more enjoyable day.  It was a low wind day.  October will have some good fishing.

The home and cottage owners along the channel  and shores of the canals are threatened by the very high Great Lakes water levels, almost 3 feet above historical normal.  Newer, wealthier properties were built up higher on top of more imported soil behind higher sea walls.  They are having their buildings professionally raised if necessary. Some owners of older homes are not wealthy at all, they were literally grandfathered into more modest inherited  properties and are struggling to save them if they have not given up.  The wakes of big power boats and jet skis are a challenge and are leading to some increased No Wake postings.  Some watercraft operators are voluntarily being more considerate.

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