A Slamming Initiation
June 21, 2012
A late afternoon fishing day was what we had as Greg could only manage to get away after lunch. We hooked up just before 2 o’clock and headed out to see what we could accomplish before sunset. High heat & humidity was at max as I dropped the lines in & began the troll. Greg was from down south and never had any experience with pike or walleye before and very little smallmouth action as well. My mandate today was to give him the slam that he wanted by completing all three species. With the air temps in the mid to upper 80’s we were grateful for the 15 to 20 knot winds from the west. Water temps were climbing and were now almost 73 degrees. The first reel to go had managed to hook into a small northern around 4 pounds and he was on the board. Next to fire was another of about the same size and shortly after, a walleye almost made it into the net before escaping just inches away. Not a problem though, as I was sure we would have others! I wasn’t happy with the results so far and widened my search, looking for a concentration. By covering water I was finally able to figure out what the fish were relating to and focused on a specific area when the reels started to go. Greg was now landing fish every few minutes and finally got his walleye, closing in on his slam. In fact, he managed to land several more walleye and bumped up the size to nearly 5 pounds. I kept trolling this section and expanded on the area until I was sure I had reached their outer limits. Several more northerns, a few walleye and the final smallie completed his slam soon after and his expectations were met! All that was left now was more & bigger! Things had slowed slightly but we were still picking at them, when the short line started screaming. By the time he popped it from the holder, there was over 50 feet of line gone from the counter and it was still going! I knew this was a big one and immediately brought in the other line. When he reached over 125 I realized I would have to back up to regain some of the lost line. Heavy head shakes and blistering runs were constant and I was pretty sure what he had hooked into. We were finally able to get within 20 feet or so and then she surfaced. Yuup, it was jaws! He was tight to what looked like another giant lunge and tickled to death about the possibility of a Grand Slam. The big waves made it difficult to manage this beast and careful maneuvering was needed in order to get the fish close enough to the boat to land it. I actually had to get up wind and drift down towards her before I finally got the boga in her mouth. Greg was elated when he held her up for a few quick pics! She immediately went back in the water and shortly after, swam off no worse for wear. What a day he was having and it wasn’t even over yet! We went back to trolling and I informed him that it was all down hill after that one! Fortunately it wasn’t and he continued landing several more fish of all three species once more. As it was getting on, I decided to pull the plug on trolling and head to an area where he could cast for some smallies instead. I tried him on a spinnerbait, but the fish were just bumping the bait signaling that they weren’t interested. Immediately I switched him to a senko and it was game on! He was getting bites frequently now and landed several decent bass up to almost 4 pounds. Now he realizes what all the interest is about when it comes to smallmouth. He loved the overall power they all have and the fight they give compared to their brother the largemouth. After wearing out our welcome and landing about ten or so we moved once more and switched to a drop shot set up. Now I had him casting a deep break and it didn’t take long before he landed a small walleye. With the sun getting close to the horizon I knew we didn’t have much time before departing and held him in the sweet spot. A few more bites later he landed a nice walleye of 17 inches and that was all she wrote. We packed it up and headed back to the ramp to take out. This had been a trip to remember and he had experienced it all in a brief period. Not only did he accomplish what he had set out to do but he added the bonus fish to the mix. Who could have asked for anything more!!