Calm, clear and 34 degree air temp at launch. Water temp in the inlet channel was 46 degrees at launch and 48 at 1 PM...murky but not chocolate. Water temp in the main lake went from 48 to 53 and then dropped a couple of degrees when the west wind kicked in about noon. Main lake water is clear and green. Clean water and warming temps. Look out folks. Willard is ready to take off.
Fished plastics and dragged a minnow all the way out the channel. Nary a nudge. Switched plastics and kept working shallow to deeper...8' to 14'...as I worked along the dike to the north of the marina channel.
Had a couple of pop and drops on minnow when I started gettin' into the "kitty zone". Finally got the hook into a hard fightin' 17 inch cookie cutter kitty. Great skunk repellent.
Then came a series of "invasion robberies". Fish would pick up the minnow, run with it and munch the heck out of it...but would get the bait without getting the hook. I went through several minnows without putting my second fish in the basket. We each started with a "long dozen" bag of minnows and my bag was about half empty.
In panic I started cutting the minnows in half and using only a half minnow at a time. BINGO. As I got further into the ZONE I was getting more and more inquiries...and most of them turned into hookups on the half minnow.
TubeBabe had started down the dike in the other direction and still had not had her first bite. Over the walkie talkie I convinced her that even though it was a long kick down to where I was catching fish...especially on her first tubing trip of the year...it would be worth the effort.
Trooper that she is she motated in my direction and slowed down where I told her to start dragging a half minnow. She soon went bendo and kicked the skunk out of her tube. Waytagogirl.
Now we had to make some decisions. Whenever we cut a minnow in half we had to decide..."HEAD OR TAIL". Which end of the minnow should we put on the hook first? The good news is that it didn't really seem to matter once we found some active kitties.
I had a head start. I netted about a dozen kitties before I ran out of bait...keeping the legal 8 for some more grilled kittyfish...a la camaron (shrimp). TubeBabe ended up with 5...not bad for her first outing of the season and better than anybody else on the lake that we observed or talked to.
AND...there were plenty of bozos keeping us company. Everytime we caught a fish all of the boats within a half mile would change their trolling course and run right over the top of us. Had a steady procession of yoyos troll right between me and the nearby rocks. I was dragging a bait a few yards off the rocks and casting plastics on the other rod in toward shore. But, since I am polite, I withheld my casts to allow the boats to troll on by.
One dimbulb almost snagged me with his planer board. I heard him approaching from behind. When I turned around to look his boat was on one side of me and his planer board on the other. He sure was upset when I asked him "NICELY" to get the &%#% away from me. He moved away just in time to almost bounced the planer board off my tube and I had to reel in my bait line to keep him from snagging it.
One boatload of not-so-enlightened tanglers asked me if I was catching any perch. I did not even know how to reply without seeming as rude as they were stupid.
Never can figure out why everybody has to come take a look at the silly folks in the float tubes, with all the rods sticking in the air. And the way they drag their lines around us you would think that there is a book somewhere that tells people we are the marker buoys for all the fish in the area. A great big lake and the dummies have to run over the only other folks out there.
Anyway, it was a nice "sprinter" day (spring/winter) and TubeBabe got to bend her stick and stretch her string. Better than staying home and doing taxes...like some deluded folks.