Battling The Beasts
July 12, 2011
I fished with Mike, Phil & Paul on a local lake, for another amazing day full of smallie action. We met at the ramp at 7:30 and were blazing across the lake to our first location soon after. At this time of the morning you expect a little cool air but the humidity still remained, with air temps at 74 degrees. Water temps were steadily on the rise and now showed above 71 where we began. The winds were light and from the west at only 5 knots, but a small chop was present when we stopped to make the first cast. I’m not sure who it was that hooked up first but I do know that everyone was hooking & mostly losing bass on almost every cast. The percentage of landed fish to lost fish was quite low to say the least! Of the three, Mike was managing to get a few more to the boat but still dropping a pile of his as well. I really don’t think they were eating well and possibly holding onto the baits without getting the hooks in their mouths. At one point, Mike hooked into one that didn’t act like a bass but had weight. I immediately knew he was into another prehistoric sturgeon and one hell of a battle. When we all caught a glimpse of this thing it looked like another legal hookup. He was able to control the beast but it still took time before he managed to bring it up enough for me to get a glove on the thing. It was pretty skinny and grabbing the tail wasn’t a problem. I figure it went around 10 pounds and the jig was definitely in the mouth but somehow the line was wrapped in the gill plate also making steering this fish a little difficult. A few quick pics and back she went to the depths where she belonged. Back to the bass and plenty of them were being both caught and lost in the next 45 minutes before Phil hooked into something rather large of his own. Oh no, another dinosaur! This one was double in size but he wasn’t as lucky as Mike, because it wasn’t in the mouth. The jig had landed in the mid section of the sturgeon and he was trying to bring it in backwards. This was going to be a while! The battle lasted over 10 minutes before I gloved her and Phil had his first ever sturgeon as well. After a couple of quick picks, she was released back to the depths again. Back to the targeted species once more and this time the fish had seemed to grow in size. Now instead of 2.5 pounders they were more in the 3.5 to 4 pound range and just on fire. We had slid into the major and it showed as they were eating much better and everyone was keeping them pinned a lot more. This was to go on for the next few hours, all the while moving along in different areas. Bass were abundant and Paul, the least experienced, was hooking up on almost every cast. Mike had pulled out the fly rod, in a strong west wind and thought he would give it a go. After over an hour of painful watching, he finally hooked up on what was to be his last cast. Although it was only a two pound fish, he was on the fly and that’s all that counted! The others were still catching bass on every other cast and he just couldn’t take it anymore. He finally broke and went back to the spinning rod and joined in too! They continued getting into bass for the next hour or so and I guess they had their fill because there was talk of trolling going on. Whenever this happens near the end of the day, I know they have gotten tired and it showed. Off we went to another area in pursuit of walleye and in 2 foot waves, began searching for old marble eyes. They had spoke of taking one or two home for dinner and had given me about 45 minutes to locate something edible. Well after a couple of bass and a small walleye, the board went back and an 18 inch eater was aboard. Too bad this was the last legal one but a couple of other smaller ones were caught in the process. Between the bass, perch and tiny 13 inch eyes, we had managed about 8 fish in this area in less than an hour. They had all caught their fair share of fish today with a couple of bonus ones thrown in for fun and were ready to throw in the towel. Back we went and a unanimous decision to call it a day was made. I’m not quite sure of the actual count today, but it was high. Everyone had managed to catch their fair share and were exhausted from battling all the smallies. It was definitely all they had hoped for and much, much more!!