Over the many years writing for In-Fisherman magazine and helping shoot In-Fisherman Ice Guide television shows, I've frequently enlisted the support of buddy Mike Schamber. Mike lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is one of the finest anglers with whom I have ever shared a boat - or a block of ice.
If Mike has a specialty, it is Lindy rigging for walleyes. He is a veritable master at it. He is no slouch as a crappie angler either, seemingly catching numbers of big slabs, especially in the winter, when everyone else is stymied.
By the way, if you're a hockey fan and Mike's name sounds familiar, it is because he was a goal tender in the Edmonton Oiler organization. It was back in the club's heyday and Mike talks often about sitting in the dressing room between guys like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. Imagine facing 100 mile-an-hour plus slapshots from those guys!
Unfortunately, it was also back in the days when the Oilers had two of the best goal tenders on the planet in the roster in Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr. So, as Mike chuckles these many years later, he had a great incentive to give up any thoughts about turning pro and getting a university degree instead. Today he is a thriving business exec running his own business.
Successful enough that he often combines business with pleasure, as was the case recently when he flew up to Plummer's Resort on Great Bear Lake As anglers everywhere know, Great Bear holds the lake trout and arctic grayling world record for just about every line class available. And Plummer's outpost camp on the Tree River, that flows into the Arctic ocean, is where just about every world record and line class record arctic char has been caught.
So, I wasn't the least bit surprised when Mike flipped me some of the photos from his trip, with his friend Ray Foreman, and told me the fishing was out of this world.
Well, Mike says he and Ray caught far too many under 25-pound lake trout to keep count, but they did record their over 25-pounders and the list is impressive, including brutes that weighed 25-, 28-, 32- and 38-pounds. The biggest monster, however, was a giant 46-pounder Mike landed trolling a T60 Flatfish. I don't know what it is about those giant T60 Flatfish, but they catch monster trout throughout the northcountry.
Mike's biggest grayling, one of my favourite fish to catch on fly gear, was a gorgeous 21-incher while Ray's biggest grayling was an impressive 19.5-inches long. A #4 Mepps spinner, by the way, was the killer rig for the beautiful grayling.
Ray bettered Mike in the char category, though, landing a fabulous 33.5-inch brute while Mike's biggest char was 32.5 -inches long. As long time char anglers can almost predict, a Pixie Spoon accounted for all the char damage.
But enough talk. If Mike's not going to invite us along on one of his sorties to catch fish with him, at least we can live vicariously through his images.