I’ve decided I have to get back to the realities of life……fishing. There are different varieties of fish and therefore different sizes of nets used to land them. There are small nets for trout, rubbery nets for walleye, and big nets for muskie. A landing net is a hoop with netting on it and a long handle used to bring fish you just caught into the boat. Here’s some netting stories.
After supper while vacationing in Minnesota, I get antsy, it’s as if I can hear the fish calling. Evening trolling has fantastic moments. One evening my oldest son and daughter were with me in the boat. Ben was about 5 and Kristy 4, they were in front of me on each side of the boat. They were holding their fishing poles as we motor trolled along the shore. I hooked into a nice northern pike, I got excited, the kids got excited, they wanted to help me, so Ben grabbed the landing net, Kristy the fish stringer….they were ready! I got the fish close to the boat and then saw the kids..I was probably a little agitated and told them to drop the stuff and move out-of-the-way to the front of the boat–they did just as I told them. As I reached for the landing net, Ben had dropped it over the depth finder and Kristy had dropped the stringer into the net! So, my first task was to untangle the net and stringer while attempting to hold on the fish! Yes, we did get it landed-a 7 1/2 lb. northern. I smile remembering my little helpers, both are excellent netters today.
One afternoon early in October, I had been trolling, my success was nothing to brag about…..in fact, nothing was looking at anything I was using. While trolling toward home, I recognized Buck in his boat, he was fighting with a fish. It seems Buck was using very light weight tackle for perch but instead had hooked into a bigger northern pike. Every time Buck got the fish close to the boat, it would swim away. Zing!!! went the line. Buck couldn’t get it close enough to land it. I watched this routine 3 or 4 times. Finally, I slowly got closer and timed the fishes run, as the fish swam away from Buck, it came right to me, I reached down with my net and landed the fish. Buck yells, “thanks for landing my fish”….I look at Buck and then looked at MY landing net and said, “what makes you think its YOUR fish?” 🙂
One July evening, about dusk, Ole, Tammie, my wife and I were trolling, The last few days, fishing had been fun, but the catching was a little slow. But we took some big equipment, trolling for big fish in one of my favorite “honey holes” ……..sure enough, Ole hooked a nice fish, it looked to be his first “legal” size (legal, meaning big enough to keep, that year about 40 inches) Muskie. Ole’s fighting that fish, and we always get anxious and excited with big fish and often times rush trying to land it and we can wind up losing it. Ole was watching it, the women were next to him watching it, and I kept saying, “the fish’s not ready yet”, “the fish’s not ready yet”, and Ole just kept cranking and the fish kept swimming and taking line. After some time I said, “OK, its ready, lets landed it”; we did, we took a picture and released it…. Then I had to confess, it wasn’t that the fish wasn’t ready but in my excitement I had tangled the landing net in the front of the boat and I was having considerable difficulty getting it free.
In 1990, I entered a Muskie tournament on this lake we always fish, Leech Lake and on the 2nd day I caught a big Muskie. Two evenings later, my wife and I were trolling the same area when she got hung up on big snag. So I stopped the boat and she cranked, and cranked, although the boat was drifting back a little, I sensed something didn’t seem quite right. The line was coming from under the boat, it shouldn’t have been there? She kept cranking and I kept watching and pretty soon I see the line, then the leader, then the plug and then the FISH!!!!—-I yelled, It’s a MUSKIE, …..IT’S A BIG MUSKIE!!! My wife was so busy cranking she didn’t see the fish…..I looked and the fish was barely hooked, I grabbed the net, the fish came back around and I scooped it in the net…..just at that moment the hook released!! I had a sigh of relief……the fish was IN the NET!! Then, just as if the fish awoke from a daze, and it realized where it was….it started thrashing, and spinning, it was like holding a tornado in the net. But I felt good, the fish was IN the NET.….Then I saw its jaw working up and down and I could see a hole forming in the net and his nose peaking out….Oh no!!! he’s thrashing more and I hurriedly raised up the net!! The hole was getting bigger, I’m trying to raise the net……the handle gives way and begins bending, I yank harder the hole gets bigger……….the fish WAS IN the net… 😦 I never got the net high enough for her to see the fish…all she saw was the splashing….all my wife could take back was a ripped net with a bent handle…. 😦 The fish I had caught two days before????? It took first place in the tournament…. the one we lost was bigger…….
We were trolling one August evening for walleye with Ole, Tammie, my wife and I. It was the week of Ole’s birthday, the last week in August. We always spend that week together celebrating the end of summer and great times. This year, Tammie bought Ole a new SUPER BIG landing net, with a telescoping handle. So, we were trolling this evening in Ole’s boat and I caught a walleye, I’m watching the fish, Ole’s grabbing for his new net…..which is 25 times bigger than we need to land this 12 inch walleye. Ole pushes the button to extend the handle and ……Bloop!!!! the net slides into the lake, Ole’s holding the handle and I raise my fish into the boat, no help needed–thank you. Suddenly, it registers with me why Ole’s standing there holding his handle, looking, staring——longingly into the lake????? First trip with net, nary a fish in it, before it’s free falling to the bottom of the lake. We were only in 10 feet of water, so Tammie says ‘I’ll jump in and go get it’…nah!!!! That’s not a good idea. We go back to the harbor, get our bigger equipment and cast/drag the bottom of the lake…..yeah right……we bring out two boats, Ole’s and mine and begin… I was casting where I thought, Ole, was about 20 feet from me…..he thought I was in the wrong spot, I thought he was……BUT, when we lost the net Ole, had had his depth finder on and had been recording our trolling pattern….you betcha, he got his lure hooked on one loop of the net and bought it up…birthday gift saved…. 🙂
The strangest netting job I recall. I was relaxing one afternoon at the lake with a book, the wife was in town. A knock at the door brought me out of the easy chair. Ole’s kids were here at the lake with some good friends. It seems they had been enjoying water sports, had returned, but then enjoyment became panic. We vacation at a family resort on Leech Lake, Adventure North. They have a wonderful covered harbor to keep our boats. Each slip has a dock to tie up to. The kids had returned from an enjoyable boating day, and were unloading the boat, when they dropped something into the lake….a wedding band!!!! It seems the friends ring was loose, so rather than take the chance of losing it in the lake, it had been taken off, placed on the dash board, and while unloading, passed from one to another OVER the water. DROPPED!!! The knock at the door, explained to me what happened, what should they do??? I said use the dip net to get it and went back to reading. About an hour later, it dawns on me….humm, I’m older, I wonder if those young’ns remember the difference between a dip net and a landing net, and if they even know where to find THE dip net at the resort? I decide I’d better go have a look. Four people are standing around the boat, another one is in water, looking dejected. I ask “how its going?” The dejected one looks up, explains he’s been carefully feeling all around the harbor bottom, but no luck. I ask, did you use the net? Silence. (their eyes seem to say–stupid old man..) I turn to dock-boy, “go get the dip net”…he just looks at me…(stupid young man)…..”go get the MINNOW net, in the bait house”, an over-sized dip net, with finely messed netting, and a hoop about 14 inches across. The young man in the water takes the net, slowly, slowly does one scoop across the floor of harbor bottom. Like, panning for gold, there in bottom of the net, a shiny gold circle. Jubilation on the young’ns faces, the stupid old man walks away.