There is never a dull moment in the life of a fishing guide
Seventeen years ago I became a fishing guide. Yes, the original goal was catching fish, but I soon found that most people wanted more, or many times less, than that. The majority of clients are looking for an "experience;" a day that will stand out in their minds for the rest of their lives.
If you spend enough time on the water, something unique will surely happen. Maybe an eagle will grab a dead fish near the boat, or better yet, swipe one of your shiners from the open livewell. Something like that would undoubtedly stand out as memorable and after another 17 years of guiding, it just might come up in conversation.
I live for the stories too; the lunker fish, miserable mishaps, and practical jokes that make fishing much more than a sport focused on simply catching fish. This past week a couple of those stories emerged.
The Hungry Pike
Last Tuesday, guide client Darcy Brown set the hook on what appeared to be a nice fish. I grabbed the landing net and while I waited for the fish to emerge, his brother-in-law, Andrew, set the hook on another good fish from the other side of the boat. As the two anglers each battled their fish, it became evident that their lines, on opposite sides of the boat, were caught together. This is quite common since a hooked fish often rapidly swims around trying to get free. However, as the landing net scooped up a nice northern pike, the source of both of their excitement was revealed -the fish had eaten both anglers' minnows and had two hooks in its mouth, one from each fisherman!
Catching a big fish is difficult, but landing one like this is another feat altogether. While fishing Long Lake with a nightcrawler, a client reeled in a perch, no more than 2 inches, which fell for his 6-inch worm. Sure, catching a walleye over 8 pounds is difficult, but it might be easier than repeating such an accomplishment as this!
Monster from the Deep
Bill Greene set the hook on a dandy fish while his son, Mike, watched. After battling the fish for several seconds, it got off. As Bill reeled his minnow toward the boat, I could see a fish following closely behind, just beneath the surface even though we were in 20 feet of water. "It's a nice northern," I said. "Let out some line and it should hit."
Upon doing so, Bill promptly jerked hard and brought the fish, a 24-inch walleye, to the net. Though walleye rarely come close to the surface, this particular fish's determined attitude prompted it to follow the minnow, ultimately resulting in a nice catch!