The lake is filling, the fish are scattered…

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The Presidents holiday  had the makings of a stellar day.  The weather  was great, the solonar table was optimal, and I had a bunch of new tactics to try out along with a new IPILOT-ILINK,  an amphibious Phatom Quadcopter and a 10 weight with 50 yards of T-20.

I got on the water at 7:00am and there were already 20 boats out on the lake. Most of the trollers and bait fishermen were fishing the deep water.  The lake was up about 30 feet since two weeks ago.  The water was a clear 50 degrees.   I headed over toward the coves I like to fish and fished the shoreline hard with a Type 3 intermediate OBS and a small white\blue marabou flashtail–no fish hooked.   I cruised around the deep water with my trolling fly line for a bit,  and although there were numerous schools of fish on the meter at times,  I couldn’t get any to bite.     I finally located a large school of fish and vertical jigged some plastics right in them.  The fish finder showed fish interested but no bites.    I put a really small jig on , and managed to hook one of the school fish that turned out to be an American Shad.   Ive never caught one in the lake this time of year. Only God knows what shad do in the winter in the lake. The day got worse and I left at noon. Seems nobody was catching today according to the station lady.

The day was not a total waste.   I discovered a short in my Humingbird GPS receiver that resulted in my charts not loading on the Humingbird.   I took it apart on the water, found the short (a pinched wire)  and got the GPS working so I could practice with the ILINK.   I figured out how to use the I-Navigation.  The Humingbird fishfinders are pretty impressive but I still think the Lowrance is better.   With follow the contour and offset which are Hummingbird exclusives, I was able to track a course to follow the shoreline exactly 100 feet off the shore going .5 Mph.  I hardly had to touch the controller all morning. The new system dramatically reduced the tweaking I keep doing while Im fishing.

I trolled the 50 ft T-20 rig for a couple hours today and noticed that the rig trolled very high in the water column.  However when you stop,  It drops like a stone and I was fishing the line up from 60-70 feet right up the water column.  Its not a trolling line but a vertical jigging line.   Im not sure why the AirFlow Sniper lines  (full sink lines)  seem to troll deeper.  It must be the width of the line.   Ill have to try it again since today,  not even the down rigger trollers were lucky.   In fact I didn’t see anyone catch a single fish today.

Also today I launched and landed the quadcopter from the boat for the first time.   I was so nervous with the thing in the air while I was fishing, I could not concentrate.  I could here it in the air,  but I was afraid to look up and see it heading for the trash racks like an undisciplined child.  I practiced a couple landings and takeoffs and there were no crashes or water mishaps.  I find it easier to line the quad up with the bow of the boat when landing.  I used a controlled vertical drop into the bow.  Good thing the landing gear is padded.  The quad actually bounced on the deck. The quad never touched the water.

It seems my last AMPHIBIOUS LANDING GEAR design goes nuts in the slightest breeze.   I should have thought of that.  The new design is very touchy.  I tried to shorten the pontoons *to get them out of the wide angle) but the copter got top heavy and tipped forward in the water.  Its was absolutely necessary to extend the pontoons about and inch beyond the propeller arms.  Too bad it gets in the way of the wide angle. I’ve got some ideas on how to shorten the pontoons while widening and extending them.  Maybe I can cut off the portion of the pontoon that you see in wide angle and glue it to the outside of the trimmed pontoon.  That would keep the weight balanced and extend the footprint outside the field of view.  All it will cost me is the price of a water weenie.

Addendum  Feb 19,2014

This modification solves the wide angle interference problem with the pontoon length without changing the flotation properties.   IMG_3723

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