November 8, 2011
Max & Denis joined me today on another walleye quest. They had fished with me several times before in the past but not really for walleye. This would be a challenge, as they were more bass enthusiasts and I wasn’t sure if they would have the finesse needed to catch these finicky eaters. They couldn’t have picked a better day though as the winds were light and the clouds were in. Perfect conditions for pounding fish all day! Along with these conditions, we had warm air temps of almost 55 degrees and the stars had aligned again! When we arrived at where we were to fish, I needed to instruct them on how to present the rigs. I quickly made a cast to the open water and within seconds was setting the hook with a firm sweep of the rod. Locked up! They didn’t know what to make of this as I slid the net under a plump 19 inch fish. “It’s just that easy”, I told them! They proceeded to cast and fish without anything for a while as I continued to try and instruct them. I was forced to make another demonstration cast and told them to both pay attention this time. As with the first cast, locked up again! Another decent fish of almost 19 inches later, they were both left with their mouth open. “It’s not rocket science”, I told them and monitored their every move after. There were a pile of things they were doing wrong and it was becoming difficult at best as I watched and tried to correct. Eventually they did get a couple of hits, but never even knew they were bit. Slack line, too fast, not the right area and daydreaming were the most common and they were tough to break. I told them that if they stood any chance of catching anything, they would have to really refine their fishing and pay a lot more attention to detail. These fish were not going to commit suicide! Another demonstration was needed and on the second cast, I hooked into one that went 24 inches. I had made 4 casts and caught three fish, it was loaded! They finally realized that their technique needed more attention to detail and after a few more blunders, they actually hooked a couple of fish. By not being familiar with these fish and the environment they were in, they had no idea where their line was or if it was even on the bottom. Fortunately there were plenty of fish to be had and once they started to get the hang of it, they were hooking up. From that point on, the fish were in trouble as they were now keeping tight lines, staying on bottom and feeling the lightest hits. They had officially graduated! I no longer had to cast, hooking into fish and was much better off. All I had to do was keep the boat positioned correctly, have them fire casts in the right direction and they hooked fish. They both wanted to take a few of these tasty critters home and managed to land some for the table. The remainder of the day saw plenty of action, both good and bad but the bottom line was that they had learned. We released many quality walleye up to 25 inches and a bonus fish too. Denis hooked into something in the afternoon that I knew wasn’t a walleye. From the time he set the hook, he had no control and all we could do was follow the fish with the electric motor. I was pretty sure what it was and had a confirmation soon after. He was battling a small muskie but it was pretty big to him. I was finally able to slip the net under the 39 inch fish and he officially had his first lunge. The light tackle fight was something that he thoroughly enjoyed. After a couple of quick pics, I released the fish and it blazed right to the depths. This was definitely the icing on the cake! We went back to walleye fishing for a while before we called it a day and headed home. They both managed to get several more fish and despite the difficult start to the day, it ended with a bang! Hopefully if they ever get back out this season, they won’t be starting from scratch again. Days like these don’t come along too often and I’m glad they got to experience one of the best. Let’s hope there’s a few more left for others to enjoy as well!!