Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wisconsin Fishing, Part II

A Hot Day Turns Into a Hot Night

We rested in the afternoon and filled up on burgers for dinner, and were ready to tackle the big water a second time in the day. The 85 degree day had given way to a 78 degree evening, with over an hour of light still left. The humidity was amazing, making it feel much warmer. We were in light shirts when we should have had on heavy jackets. In an even more bizarre twist, the weather triggered a hatch, and a strange black gnat-like bug swarmed the surface of the water. A hefty Brown Trout came out of the water not ten feet from where I caught an eight pound brown a few years back.

My brother took us to one of his favorite spots. The week before, he landed seven smallmouth in 30 minutes, the smallest of which went 19 inches. We anchored in less than a foot of water and tossed our tube craws out into the drop off, letting them settle before working them slowly up the side. Literally two minutes in, my seven-year old daughter was into a fish. She did her best to stick the hook, and was soon tussling with a big smallmouth.

Setting the hook

Daughter working hard to keep the rod tip up

The daughter fought the fish like a true champion, and it was amazing watching her eyes grow big as the football-sized fish vaulted itself all the way out of the water. Only my poor photography skills kept us from having a truly memorable photograph.

What kind of fish makes a splash like this?

Daughter fights the fish all the way to the boat, where my brother’s expert hands land the great fish. With over 750 18+ inch smallies to his credit in his lifetime, there are few anglers in the world more adept at landing a fish like this.

The daughter smiles for the camera, and why not? How many 7-year olds have boated a 19 inch smallie?

The daughter was positively giddy, and despite losing two extremely large smallmouth in the next ten minutes, continued to plug away. I was fishing the far side of the drop off and catching walleyes, although none of them were of legal size so back they went. Then the daughter hit paydirt a second time.

This one was considerably bigger than the previous one, and once again I almost caught it vaulting out of the water. Damn slow reflective lens on the digital cameras!

A big fish makes a big splash

The daughter does everything right, making her old man proud. Five minutes later, the smallie is in the boat! And at nearly 21 inches it is a magnificent specimen.

A fish to remember

Measuring the fish to ascertain the exact length, as we do with all our catch-and-release bass

Although we catch more fish, this is the pinnacle of the evening. Not many days when you can say that everyone in the boat caught a 20 inch smallmouth bass! The humidity in the air, however, meant something ominous was on the way. How ominous we would not know until we woke up the next morning…

-- Dr. Todd from Northern Minnesota

Tomorrow: God Breaks the Sky

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