Big Fish for Everyone
September 19, 2016
A larger than usual group today had me requesting the aid of Don for a second boat. I would take Scott, Andy & Mark with me & he would have A.J. and Ralph. We would switch up around mid day so that everyone got a chance at the sturgeon, as well as some bass. The lake conditions were absolutely perfect for what I wanted to do and I was sure we would hook up. No wind is always a good thing for anchoring and we had just that! Once located, I set the lines on the fish and the waiting began. Our first fish was to be a small walleye and although a keeper, it was tossed back immediately. We wanted the beasts! The lines were only back for a short time and one of the rods showed signs of getting bit. I felt it again when I picked it up and immediately set into something heavy. Scott received the first rod as he had organized the fishing day for everyone. It was nice to see the fish jump once again as the last few days saw very little jumpers. When this one went to the air, I saw that it wasn’t huge but it was to them. Regardless, the fight was great and Scott got beat up pretty good during the battle. In less than 10 minutes he was landing his first sturgeon and the skunk was out of the boat! I always love watching new guys try to hold the fish up for pics. Alive and slippery, it isn’t easy! Although Scott struggled at first, he eventually got a better hold on his catch and got it done. A quick torpedo back and it was gone. One down, two to go! Next up was Mark and it didn’t take long to get him into another. I could tell by the weight when I lifted up on the bite that this was the one! It was on and definitely large! A few minutes after being hooked up, it took to the air and we saw just how big it was. It was enormous and Mark was about to get the crap beat out of him! He had laughed when Scott battled his fish earlier and now karma was here to bite him in the ass. This fight was an endurance test as it lasted over 15 minutes and all grueling. The runs were long and the battle was insane! Big fish like these have so much body mass that every time they make a run, they go. As many times as he reeled it back to the boat, it took more from the reel. He eventually managed to bring it close enough for me to net and was just happy the battle was over. Or so he thought! Now he had to find enough strength to lift it up for some pics. He was lucky to have the help of Scott as I don’t think he would have been able to do it alone. Even with both of them lifting, it was still a struggle. With pics complete, they tossed her back and she bolted straight back to the bottom. Still in disbelief at what just happened, the two of them washed the slime off and we regrouped for more. Andy needed one as well and I hoped he would feel the burn! This was the second anchored up spot and seemed like it was producing so we held out in search of another. The bite was really good this morning and it wasn’t long before I was passing another rod off to the third person to fight. Andy was tight to another but it wasn’t the size of the previous one. It didn’t matter though as it was enormous to him! We got another jump from this one as well and I could see that it was bigger than the first one but smaller than the second. Andy still got crushed from the strength of his fish and the others just laughed. It took about ten minutes or so but he finally brought his sturgeon to net. Time for more pain! About all he could do was bear hug it for the photos and it was hilarious. I didn’t want to kill him so I shot fast and told him to toss it back. He was really slimed up and did a bit of laundry while I reset the rods. In fact, my boat looked like a clothes line with every ones shirts hanging out to dry. The rest of the morning saw plenty of action with a full rotation again and more. They caught several other sturgeon and a nice drum in the remaining time we had. Somewhere around noon, we swapped up and I had A.J. as well as Ralph. Scott remained allowing Don to take just two with him. I now had the task of locking them up and things had slowed considerably since the flurry we had this morning. I moved a few times due to all the gobies attacking our baits and finally found a clean spot. The first bite went to Ralph and despite his lack of previous fishing, he managed quite well. The fish came to the boat quickly as it was a juvenile and perfect for him. They took a few pics and we went back to the task at hand. A.J. was a veteran fisherman from Mass and was hoping for a bigger bite, as was I. As luck would have it, that’s exactly what he got! Although it took several moves and a little longer to happen, it finally occurred. When I reared back on the rod I knew it was the real deal and passed the rod to him to fight. When the fish breached all jaws dropped! It was a monster and exactly what I wanted. He was fighting it like he had fought big fish before and required little to no coaching until it was under the boat. I taught him the sturgeon shuffle so that he didn’t clip the line on the props when it crossed from one side to the other. Plenty of long runs and direction changes caused A.J. to maneuver all over the boat to ensure it stayed tight. He fought this fish like a champ and finally brought it up for me to net. It was a gorilla, even in the gigantic net I use! I had somehow managed to lock everyone up today on their first sturgeon and was happy to have accomplished this. Back to the task at hand, pictures! Although I was able to heave it in the boat, it wasn’t easy! A.J. would require the help of Scott to lift this fish up. Between the two of them, they managed to hold it long enough for several good pics before releasing her back to live another day. I reset the lines hoping for another bite but only managed a bass and a walleye. By 4:00 we were done and called the day to head back to take out. With a group like this today my mandate was to lock everybody up on at least one sturgeon each and hopefully more. Mission accomplished! Although I would have liked to try for bass & walleye in the afternoon, the conditions were just too perfect for the dinosaurs to change. No wind always makes it challenging anyway, when you’re trying to drift for bass & walleye! We definitely made the right decisions as everyone got to battle their first ever sturgeon and many of them were large! They also got to catch some bass with Don, to complete their day. It was a very successful one, all around!!