The biggest one we ever caught
I venture to Minnesota, every season to “test the waters of scaly prey. I began this event early in my childhood….in fact my grandparents best friends bought a resort on Lake Bemidji in 1946.. It wasn’t long before I was riding north, diapers in the trunk.
Those were challenging days for northern vacations, the roads were two lane, no shoulders, speed limits were low, and we left our home which then was in Lake County, Indiana at 2 am, and didn’t arrive before midnight of the following day.
Luckily today’s ventures, while just as far are not a arduous.
In 1978 we changed our destination to Leech Lake, Minnesota, approx. 105,000 acres of water, having, Large-mouth Bass, Walleye, Perch, Northern Pike, Muskie and Iowa Walleye (bullheads), as well as assorted pan fish.
I led astray my best church friends, into the world of big-fish fishing. Over the years we’ve had a great time, catching lots Muskie, and Pike. While we use a variety of lures and techniques, we prefer the Wades Wobbler.
Our Lure of choice….the infamous Wade Wobbler is pictured above. Well, its infamous to us. Since we are getting older and Dave has should problems we stay with the 7” weighted model. We’re not talking sitting in a boat all day, burning gas, trolling around the lake, (like many of my other (Canadian bound) friends. We’re talking “running” across the lake, dropping down the electric trolling motor and casting these lures/plugs for 3 hours, while circumnavigating a weed bed!! The technique, throw as far as you can………..tighten up the slack, then pull the rod tip down about 3 feet, crank up the slack line, and do it all again and again, and again. Both Pike and Muskie like this, after you “jerked” the plug, and as your cranking up the slack, the plug, slowly rises, its on the rise the strike occurs!!! An strike they do…..!!
If the fish is a big one, we use a landing net—a BIG landing net, big enough to handle a 59+ inch fish……when the fish is smaller, we have the adventure of hand landing it… Take another look at that plug………imagine it hanging from the chin/jaw of a 26” fish, reaching down and picking the fish up… Yeah, you see where this going??????? Reaching down is sort like, wiring and electric outlet WITHOUT, turning off the electric current……both must be done cautiously…..…
On this particular day, Dave and I were up the lake, Dave got a little one…about 20”, he didn’t want the net………….. 😦 He reached down pick up the fish and …….(for those who don’t know, northern pike, while having scales, they also have a protective a slick/slime covering….making it slippery)…..it flipped, and hooked his finger……deep hook-set…..we got the fish off and threw it back….but the finger was a different situation… We tried to back the hook-out, but it was in past the barb. We turned for home 7 miles, bumping the waves all the way. At the resort we couldn’t find pliers that would cut the thick wire hook. Dave tried pulling is out backwards—he almost fainted twice. Off to the Clinic we went, wait, this is Saturday, no one gets sick on Saturday in Walker, Minnesota….we found that both clinics were closed-so I drove Dave to the Bemidji Hospital, another 35 miles. Dave held his hand and the plug as we drove. We had to wait about and hour and half before Dave could be seen…a number of other people were in the waiting room. Luckily, the hospital had free coffee, my beverage of choice before noon. We waited and drank and waited and drank….pretty soon Dave says, if I drink any more coffee, I’m go’na have go to the john……
I looked him straight in the eye……..and said,……..Dave, I’ll, take you fishing, I’ll take to the hospital…..but I’ll not take you to the bathroom and hold your plug!!!!!!!!!!! That cracked up the waiting room…… 🙂