You know how they say a bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work? Well, I’m not sure I believe that anymore.
Let me start by saying I had one of the best days ever while fishing on Saturday. A coworker and I left for the lake after the sun came out and set up our gear at the end of a dock on a peaceful lake. A gentle breeze created little more than a ripple on the waters and the colors of autumn were spectacular around us.
Not only was it a great afternoon outdoors, the fish were biting — the kind of fish you like to see dangling from your hook! Perch, walleye … we even reeled in a pair of northern pike. We released way more than we kept — and didn’t reach our limits on any species — but the fish bucket was heavy as we loaded up to head for home.
We had so much fun, we made plans to return to the lake on Sunday, after church and before the DACA rally.
We went to the same spot, but something was missing — the dock.
I’m sure it was for the best, considering high waters caused most of the docks to be at least partially under water, but it hampered our efforts as shoreline fisherpeople.
For instance, from the end of a dock I didn’t need to worry about sending my line straight into a tree. I still don’t know how it happened — it could have been the wind or my thumb had a delayed reaction on the release button — but it did. There, wrapped securely around a dead branch hung my lucky, locally-made Crystaleyes jig. I’d already lost one on the lake bottom not long before that (which I wouldn’t have lost if I’d been sitting on the end of the dock, I might add!)
Thanks to co-worker Karl, who peeled off his shoes and socks, stepped into the more-than-ankle-deep waters and whacked at the branch with a stick until the branch broke, my lure was saved.
That lure did its best for me, but unfortunately it was no match for the northern pike that decided to strike just a few feet from shore. I could see the pike hit, I could feel the rod bend and … and just like that the end of my monofilament fishing line was waving in the wind. Crystaleyes jig No. 2 was a goner.
I went back to the tacklebox, found my last lucky jig and rigged up my line to try it again. One cast, two casts and boom! That darn pike struck again. I think he smiled as he chomped my line and swam off with my last lucky lure. Rest assured, I was not smiling. I sort of let a few cuss words fly.
Now it was war. I put on a leader with a daredevil and decided that pike was in for a fight. I wanted that fish if for no other reason than to see if my lucky lures were dangling from its lips.
I called it a stupid fish, but in reality he was too smart to fall for fake stuff and latch onto a colorful metal spoon with a treble hook.
And just as I stood on the shoreline, trying to tempt that pike, a gust of wind caught my quad chair, picked it up and tossed it into the lake. As it slowly sank and its bag started to float away, Karl said, “I’ll snag the bag, you get the chair!”
Both were rescued and, minutes later, loaded into the hatchback. My day was done.