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Bat keeps the fishing excursion interesting

Karli Nielsen proudly holds a monster Minnesota perch. Determining when to stay or leave a spot, especially when the fishing is slow, isn't necessarily a scientific determination.

Anglers often ask themselves how long they should stay in a particular fishing spot before moving.

I've never really seen a formula, especially one with much credence that can accurately predict whether a new fishing area is in order.

However, the one occasionally valuable bit of advice I've heard over the years is, "you never leave active fish."

Now don't take this gem of wisdom too literal, since I'm sure it won't suffice as an excuse when returning home three days after you left for an afternoon fishing excursion.

I personally recommend leaving a fishing spot or even the lake entirely if things are no longer interesting.

Again, a literal interpretation could keep some of us on the water for weeks.

Ok, so it's evident that my formulas don't make much sense either.

We all have a pretty good idea of when leaving a fishing spot is in order, though anglers, including me, sometimes stay longer than they should, remain on the water later than they realize is appropriate or simply don't recognize the right time to leave.

Such was the case last week as I was just about to bring another guide trip to a close.

My guests (I won't use their names to protect their identities), had just finished an enjoyable evening on Leech Lake in my Crestliner, catching jumbo perch and perfectly sized walleye.

The job of filleting those fish was finished in the guest's open garage just past 11 pm, with an early morning guide trip booked for the next day, so it was time for a short farewell, a not so short drive home and the anticipation of a good night's sleep.

As I said good-bye to the husband (a doctor) and wife, their daughter, two sons and the boys' two girlfriends, my decision to leave was interrupted by...

A bat.

The kids all gasped at the sight of the nocturnal flying creature. As fast as it flew past my face, it landed upon an electric heater near the ceiling of the garage.

Now I simply had to see the outcome.

The father grabbed a broom, hopped onto a perpendicular countertop and began prodding at the animal.

The bat finally flew, but made a U-turn toward the crowd of people (who howled and scampered into the house) then the villainous vampire flew out the open garage door.

Once again, I turned to leave, but as the father gracefully descended from the countertop, he encountered a five-gallon bucket filled with ice fishing gear. A hook stuck into his denim shorts and simultaneously buried itself into his hand.

Now I had to stay to lend assistance. He shimmied out of his shorts and as he stood in the center of his garage in his underwear, I calmly performed surgery on the doctor.

A pair of needle-nose pliers and a two-foot length of line were all I needed. Yet out of pity for the doc, I decided to prorate the bill that he would've incurred at the emergency room.