Call Me “Man” – “Fisher Man”
I need to point out, I am NOT a fisherman. In fact, the last time I went fishing was when Aaron and Jesse were young and we fished the stock dams on my father-in-law’s ranch northwest of Hayes. It was kind of like fishing trout haven in the Black Hills, only instead we caught large mouth bass. It was almost like they jumped out of the water and into our pails.
Over the years, I’ve often overheard people talk about the wily walleye and what a challenge they are to catch. The only time I’ve ever actually tasted one was when Todd invited a bunch of us over to his house and he fried some up for us – and it was heavenly!” But actually catching a walleye was something I’ve never had the opportunity to do.
Growing up around the Chester area we had lakes close by, but all we ever seemed to catch were bullheads. We would fish from shore and always used a wicker pole with a hook and bobber at the end; kind of like Opie from Mayberry.
So getting to go out onto the water with Todd and Ben in a real honest-to-goodness fishing boat was a treat. Todd even let me use one of his open-reel fishing poles – even though I offered to bring along my Zebco 33 Snoopy pole. For some reason he said I didn’t need it. I wonder why?
We ended up going to Twin Lake, which is northwest of Humboldt. Todd said it’s a “trophy lake,” which means you can’t keep anything unless it’s 28 inches or longer. Which, at the time, sounded like a pretty sweet arrangement – no having to clean fish at the end of the day.
The lake was angry that day, my friends. There was a lot of “chop.” (That’s what us real fisherman call it when there are whitecaps.) We didn’t care, we were there to show those walleye who was boss.
After standing and casting for 3 hours and watching both Todd and Ben catch fish left and right, it dawned on me maybe they had taken me on a “snipe” hunt, like in high school – sure, give the new guy the lure that all the fish just point and laugh at. So, after whining like a pre-schooler, Ben graciously offered to trade places with me.
That’s when the biggest walleye ever to be seen my human eyes decided to strike at my lure. He was Ginormous! We went back-and-forth, fighting with one another for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, my brute strength and fishing instincts got the best of him. He decided to go quietly.
As I was reeling him toward the boat – my rod bending at almost a 90 degree angle – I got my first glimpse of the monster – 50 pounds 0f pure wild, untamed viciousness. While Todd and Ben cowered in the front of the boat, fearing for their lives, I bravely stepped in between them and the monster, reaching down to haul in my trophy catch – only to have its razor sharp teeth snap my string (or as we professional fisherman call it “line”)…the creature lives to see another day. Well played Mr. Monster.
After that, the rest of the afternoon seemed rather mundain. For a brief time I did sense some tension in the air when I accidentally threw one of Todd’s new (and favorite) lures into the lake. Oh, and it was kind of funny when Ben snagged himself not once, but twice, with his own lure – amateurs. I think he spent the better part of a hour trying to free that lure from his new “fishing” shirt.
I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’m pretty sure I set a new state record. I caught something called a Yamaha – an 18-and-a-half foot Yamaha. Seems I somehow managed to snag my string (or line) on Todd’s 150 horse motor. That’s about the time Todd and Ben looked at each other and said, “Time to go home.” All I can figure is maybe they were intimidated by my vast fishing knowledge and expertise. What a fun time!