Written by Harold
Often times, one of the best, and most reliable ways to acquire a “lunch” fish, is to target the drop offs along the shoreline with small spoons, spinners or jigs.
Or so I thought.
We had been working the area around Second River one calm, sunny day, and the action had been hot all morning.
Our plan was to hook up at the Naiju or Karkegie River around noon for lunch, but because the fishing had been so good, we lost track of time, and didn’t even begin to make our way back towards the river until after 1 pm.
Not only that, no one had thought to keep a “lunch” fish, and with nothing but beans, corn, potatoes, a few onions and hush puppy mix in our shore lunch kit, that simply was not going to cut it, especially with six, very hungry guys to feed.
Our boat made it back to the river area first, so I asked our guide Paul Barta to position the boat just beyond the drop off along a random stretch of shoreline, and started tossing around a ¼ oz. white, Bucktail jig, that I had attached to my ultra lite rig.
After about the 3rd cast, I got a hit, set the hook and figured that depending on the size of the fish – and assuming it was a trout and not a Grayling – we were probably at least half way home in terms of lunch.
It did not put up much of a fight, and for that matter came to the boat rather easily. Paul, who was looking into the water, casually said, “We’re going to be here for a while.”
My fishing partner Ken Gold and I then looked over the side, and immediately realized that Paul was right, because that trout was no “lunch” fish – as it appeared to be at least 20 pounds or better.
Needless to say it was going to be a challenge to coax this beast into the net, especially with nothing more than a very wimpy ultra lite rod, and a tiny reel spooled with 6lb. test to work with.
Undaunted, I completely backed off the drag, and let the fish just meander along, while we followed a few feet behind.
We had been at it for well over half an hour, when the other boat finally caught up, and came over to see what was going on.
Within no time they began making a number of pointed remarks as to what I should do next, none of which involved continuing my efforts to land the fish.
In fact they were downright nasty about it - including Kenny, who I thought would have been somewhat more supportive – and could have better spent their time trying to actually catch lunch, rather than heckle me.
After more than an hour of following this fish around, I figured it was time to fish or cut bait - so to speak – and cupped my hand over the spool to apply some tension, and gently began trying to pump the fish towards the surface.
The fish, which seemed not to have a care in the world, decided to come a little closer, perhaps to see what all the commotion was, and as luck would have it, came just close enough for Paul to get the net around it.
After a quick weigh in, picture and gentle release, we watched it amble off as if nothing untoward had happened.
It weighed 22lbs., which at the time would have been the 6lb. line class record for Lake Trout.
And just in case you’re wondering, I did manage to jig up a “lunch” fish on my next cast, and made it clear that if any of the commentators were planning to have fish for lunch, they had better stop talking and start fishing…