The Birthday Gift
September 25, 2016
William and his father Daniel were with me today, for one to remember! Last fall Daniel had purchased a gift certificate from me for his son’s birthday and today was the day. He even tagged along, not aware of what was in store for them. William had always wanted to land a big sturgeon and I was going to try to make it happen. We headed out from the ramp shortly after 7:00 in the coldest morning in a while. It felt more like November than late September! The NW winds that blew in three days before had brought an incredible cold front with morning temps in the single digits. It also dropped the water temps significantly causing the fish to readjust to the shock. I wasn’t sure what the sturgeon bite was going to be like but had to try. We set everything up and had to hold the rods again with the big NW winds blowing 10 to 15 knots. I informed them what to feel for and despite all our early efforts, it took a while to get bit. I had relocated 3 or 4 times and only had one walleye to show for our time. A couple of possible biters may or may not have taken our baits but who knows? I did finally feel a take and loaded the rod for William to fight. Our wait was not in vain! We cleared everything for him to fight the fish and just watched. I could see by the way the line was rising that we were going to get a jump and gave them heads up to watch. When it breached, it was giant! I don’t think William had ever thought in his wildest dreams that he would be battling something this large today. For the next 20 minutes he endured plenty of pain while trying to tame this beast. Although it didn’t really make any long runs, it’s overall mass & weight just dogged all over. Each time he reeled the fish up, it went right back down and he had to start all over again. When he finally did bring it up for me to net, it looked even bigger than before. William had officially landed his first ever sturgeon and it was a gorilla! I prepped everything for the pics and heaved it into the boat, with a little help, placing it on the tarp for protection. Now it really looked giant! I showed him how to hold the fish and shot multiple pics before he released her back to fight again. What an absolutely great starter fish to have landed! They were still in awe at what had just happened but I got the lines back in as quickly as possible to try and lock his father up too. Within 5 minutes, I was able to set into another monster and Daniel was locked up. This battle was a little different as his fish took plenty of line. It may have lasted 5 minutes less, but it wasn’t any easier! I finally netted her and we went through all the same instructions on what to do for the pics. It was so big that he had to bear hug the thing just to get a grip on it. Multiple angled shots were quickly taken and the fish was released again. Now they had both landed an absolute giant of a sturgeon, but I wanted more! I reset all the lines and it didn’t take long to get a third bite. Unfortunately after a couple of minutes of fighting the fish, it came unpinned from William’s line. Oh well, let’s get another! Once again, it didn’t take long for another bite and this time I locked up on her good! William was into his second big sturgeon and I could see the line rising behind the motors. I informed both of them to look back and we all saw the spectacular leap from the fish. He fought it with ease, after battling his previous monster and had it to the net in under 10 minutes. There was no need to get the lines back in as I wanted to get them some walleye for a BBQ dinner tonight. Cedar plank fish was on their menu and I was determined to fulfill the request. We spent the remainder of the afternoon hammering walleye & smallies on a variety of soft plastics. They would be keeping 3 walleye and all the others were released. By the time we were done, they were both amazed at how many fish they had landed not to mention their size. It was definitely the best day they had ever experienced fishing and it won’t be the last time we meet. Talk of coming back soon is already brewing in their minds! We parted shortly after 4:00 as they had fish to clean and dinner to prepare. For once it wasn’t me! This day couldn’t have gone better if we had planned it. For once it seemed like all the stars aligned and the fish gods were kind. Happy belated birthday William!!