Saturday the 7th found us on Palmer Lake in Colon, Michigan with the guys and girls of Kal-Valley Bass Club. The weather was clear and sunny; the same could not be said for the waters of Palmer Lake. The lake was so muddy the visibility was near zero. This made for some difficult fishing conditions as proven by the weigh-in.
The field of boats was 8 short of the full field that we enjoyed the previous two weeks, many of the anglers that know the lake chose not to show up for what they knew was going to be a tough day on the water. Only fifty percent of the boats that participated brought in a fish and only three boats had two fish with no one bringing three fish to the scales. One team weighed in a whopping .87 pounds to collect the final payout spot. Not very often can an angler cash a check with a weight like that.
The Bad Poncho Outdoors team had no idea what to expect since we had never been on the lake before so we were thrilled to weigh-in two small fish and get a third place finish. Our day started with us rather shocked at the water being so dark. We tried many different lures and techniques in shallow water and out deep, all of which seemed to produce the same results of a small fish every 30 to 45 minutes. For the first 4 hour of the contest we stayed on Palmer and never had a fish that was even close enough to measure.
With two hours left we thought we might as well at least go look at Long lake that is connected to Palmer by a channel that is about a mile and a half long. The channel was much shallower then expected meaning it was slow going. As we motored down towards Long Lake we were not encouraged by all the boats that had went that way earlier saying they had not done well. It took forty minutes to make our way to Long with a couple of stumps jarring the boat as we proceeded. Entering Long Lake we found all of the competing anglers had vacated the lake and we were all alone to assess our chances of putting a legal fish in the box.
We hurried down to the far end of the lake to see if any clearer water could be found. With only forty minutes of fishing time left we did not have much confidence we would be able to score but you have to keep trying right? At the far end of Long Lake we saw a few minnows skipping around so we cast some flukes and caught a few short fish in short order. With ten minutes left to fish if we were to make it back in time to weigh-in a 14 inch fish hit a Havoc Jerk bait and we were instantly reinvigorated. A couple of more casts and The Jerk by Havoc was swallowed by a 15 inch bass that doubled over the Denali dropshot rod and he gave us quite the tussle in the shallow backwater. As soon as the second fish was in the net the alarm we had set began beeping telling us to fire up the motor and get back to the landing.
Putting away what we needed to so we could make the long run took a couple of minutes so now it was time to put the boat on plane and head out. Just to make the run a little more dramatic the low oil warning buzzer started to ring in our ears just to stop as we leveled out the boat. We were fairly certain there was enough oil to make it back but it is unsettling to hear the warning every time we hit a wave or the boat tilted in a turn. We made good time getting back and were reassured by the Lakemaster maps that there was plenty of time to make the weigh-in on time.
Even with the less than stellar fishing most of the anglers were in good spirits as the very short weigh-in was conducted. After the payouts were over it was decided almost unanimously that this lake would not be on the schedule for next year. Our third place finish moved us up in the season standings by a couple of places and put us in a better frame of mind to concentrate our thoughts on the much clearer waters of Gogouac Lake for next Saturday. Let’s hope for a better turn out by the contestants and the fish for next week.