Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn.

January 12, 1998

Electronic fishing

With my feet up, the boat in good position, and the wind at my back, I made a beautiful cast with a blue shad bass plug into a murky watered lake.

The sonar showed there were fish in the area at various depths. Then, on the retrieve, I felt a hit and seconds later landed my first electronic bass - a nice two-pound, three-ouncer.

I decided to use the blue shad plug because I was fishing in about 10 feet of water on the windy side of a good-sized lake that had murky water.

The sun wasn't shining and I was betting the wind had pushed bait fish near the break just off the shoreline attracting bass.

With clouds in the sky, and murky water, I was hoping the color and action of plug would do the trick.

I was right. A few more bass ended up on my stringer, and I had a great hour of fishing from the recliner in my living room.

That was my first attempt at electronic fishing via a hand-held video game.

The whole package is somewhat similar to the hand-held Nintendo game you saw a kid playing with over Christmas.

This version, which I borrowed from someone on our newspaper staff, was called "Bass Fishing."

It comes complete with more than a dozen lures to choose from, several lakes, different wind and water conditions, sonar, and even a crank.

You have to cast it just like the real thing and then start reeling. When you get a hit, the game vibrates, telling you to set the hook.

Timing is everything when you get a hit. Sometimes you get the fish and sometimes you don't.

The game is kind of challenging on both ends. Mentally, you have to make all the same decisions you would have to while actually bass fishing. What lake to fish on, where to fish on the lake, how to position the boat, what lure to use - all adjusting for weather, wind, and water conditions.

Physically you have to make the cast, crank in the lure, adjust the drag, and set the hook.

For me, I'm not a video or computer nut, so the game was kind of off the wall. But it was a lot of fun.

Making the decisions of what conditions to fish in, what lure to use, and where to fish was challenging and more realistic than you could imagine.

It boiled down to the basics: make sound decisions regarding the type of conditions you're fishing in, read the sonar, hope for good luck, and when you get a chance at a fish - don't screw it up.

The lunker bass recorded on the game was a huge 25-pounder. The biggest fish I landed was a meager three-pounder. Whoever landed that lunker is definitely a better electronic angler than I am.

If you're interested, the game is probably available at most big discount stores and costs approximately $30 to $40.

If you're not into drilling holes through the ice, the game is a heck of a lot more fun than watching some guy from Texas catching bass on TV.

Area lakes fishing report

Ice conditions on a majority of the lakes in our area have improved and most anglers are driving out to the best fishing locations without problems.

Anglers heading to Lake Minnetonka are still experiencing varied ice conditions and being very cautious, fishing only in areas where they know ice conditions are consistent.

Closer to home, anglers are driving out on Howard, Ann, and others, but are sticking to main travel areas and are not venturing all over the lake with their vehicles.

Regarding ice conditions, anglers need to make a special note of lakes in the area, like Winsted, that are aerated. Areas on these lakes where aeration systems are on the go are well posted and anglers should pay special attention to the signs.

Radtke's Bait and Tackle of Winsted reported: Charlie Guggemos of Winsted nabbed a dandy three-pound, two-ounce crappie on Round Lake. Lake Mary is producing crappies and sunfish on pearl colored jigs with wax worms. Anglers on Winsted Lake are getting decent northern pike action on sucker minnows and Lake Ida has been producing hit and miss sunfish action in the mid-afternoon.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: Action on Howard has been good. Good-sized crappies are biting at a fair pace. Anglers are picking up small sunfish on the south end. A few walleyes are coming off and the northern pike action has been super. On Big Waverly anglers are catching crappies and a few walleyes and Lake Ann is producing a few crappies.

Other reports from the area still say the western bays of Lake Minnetonka are hot for sunfish with the best action coming from Phelps Bay in 10 to 15 feet of water on wax worms and mousies.

Outdoor notes

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