Fishy, fishy fishy!"Back from a glorious week of fishing in Canada at a private lodge on Lac Seul with Laura.The first day out we set Laura up next to the guide Josh who I have fished with before, so he could take care of her special needs. Born with Prader-Willi syndrome she often needs extra attention and care. Laura is a great fisher-girl but being at a remote lodge in the wilderness is different and disconcerting. Any of my concerns however quickly were dispelled.Laura caught over 40 world class walleye's the first afternoon on the water. She easily out fished the guide another friend in the boat Tom and myself. We dubbed her the "Walleye Whisperer," and she continued for the entire week to out fish us all. She schooled us all.
During the infrequent slow times she would be jigging she would call out, "Fishy, fishy fishy!" and more often than not get a bite before she even finished her refrain. Mind you I might go oft times over 30 minutes without a single bite while she was standing right next to me catching fish after fish. We had the exact same lure and lines in the water but it was Laura constantly catching.
Anyone who has ever fished walleyes knows they can be at times very finicky bitters, sometimes frustratingly tapping your lure once only to disappear and never come back. Laura however was able multiple times to set her hook and begin to bring up a fish who would get off, she would then drop her jig back down and immediately either re-catch the same fish or another. When our wonderful guide Josh would hook a bigger fish he was kind enough to hand off his catch to Laura so she could reel it in. By the way it is a testimony to his faith in her that he allowed her to do this with his expensive professional set up without hesitating or being asked to. Laura in turn would hand me her fishing rod ( "Dad don't do anything.") and I would continue to jig it never getting a single bite. She would reel in the other fish, and I would hand her back her rod and she would almost instantaneously have another fish on. It was simple uncanny. No one had ever seen the likes of this. Josh and Tom and I were in constant amazement at her prowess.
One morning while fishing for our luncher walleyes it was Laura who caught the entire days lunch. We caught none before she had them all caught by herself.
That night after dinner we walked down to the dock and Laura saw some large fish by the boat. I hastily tied on a mono leader a small hook and a minnow, and placed it in the water next to the boat. A minute later I look over and Laura's fishing rod is bent over in half, in the water under the boat. She is struggling to keep it under control. 'Dad I need you to help me!" she asked, which is something she had not done once all week long.
I had been going out in the afternoons with the guide and Tom casting for and catching large Northern Pike. That day they had "turned on," after a storm and I had caught, raised and missed 20 in just one hour after lunch. The largest was just over 37" and most were in the low 30's. Fat mean tough fish.
The fish that Laura had hooked into at the dock however kicked their asses as it fought to get away. I know that larger fish caught at a dock have a habit of getting fouled quickly, they go into boat props, pier landings and wrap the line into whatever is around and often just break off. As I put some pressure on the fish my spinning reel reversed on me, something it is not supposed to do unless you turn the anti-reverse clutch off. I figured Laura had done this by mistake, and that was why she was having so much trouble, so I flipped the switch, which only made things much worse. I realized the tremendous pressure this fish had placed on the reel had broken the anti-reverse and I set it back on. But the damage was done and the line wrapped around the bail and fouled. It took all my might to pull up on the fish and gain enough momentary slack to free the line from the bail as the fish once again took off, catching my finger in the super-line as it screamed off the reel, and cutting a deep gash in my finger.
Every time the fish put pressure on the reel it would slip and reverse causing the line to potentially foul again. It was a long five or so minutes (in fishing time an eternity) until I was able to gain enough line and bring the fish out from under the docks and boat and see it. I had fully expected it to be a huge northern over 45" from my experience. Instead it was a monster walleye, the stuff of dreams and legends.
Tom and Laura and the few people who had gathered around the boat were screaming about the size of the fish and Tom unbeknownst to me had placed a net in the water, a bit too soon, hitting the line and fish on the head. It did not like this on bit and took off once again, but luckily this time into the open water.
The reel backed up on me a few more times but I was able to get the fish back, guide it into the net and land it. Placing it into the boat I reached down to remove the small hook and it simply popped out. How it was not buried deeper in the fish and so loosely hooked I will never know after such an epic struggle. That hook should have been buried deep in the fish.
I quickly placed it on the measuring board and saw it was a 30" walleye, Tom confirmed this and we took a few fast pictures and placed the fish back into the water revived it and watched it swim away. High fives all around with applause from those on the dock watching. Sweating through my clothes, I felt like a hero. This was an epic battle that usually does not end well due to all of the mishaps.
The guides at this resort are major conservation fishermen. We keep nothing over slot and they handle each fish with respect. That is why we are catching world class fish five minutes from the docks.
Word of the catch had gotten back to the lodge and now all of the guides are coming down to the dock to see the fish. I proudly tell them I quickly and safely released it and Josh is freaked out I did not keep it for him to see. "Lou you caught the largest walleye ever in my boat and did not keep it for me to see? I have never caught a 30" walleye myself dude. Next time keep it in the live well for me to see." I show them the photos and feel both elated and foolish.
Laura is very excited we give her the full credit and she gets a well deserved Master Angler Award pin for the fish as well as the credit for the largest walleye ever caught so close to the lodge. She was going to get an honorary pink jig award for the most fish ever caught but this was better.deserved Master Angler Award pin for the fish as well as the credit for the largest walleye ever caught so close to the lodge. She was going to get an honorary pink jig award for the most fish ever caught but this was better.