The Fishing Trip

Dave Weinke
 

Copyright 2003 by Dave Weinke

Photo of a smallmouth bass and fishing rod.  Copyright (c) 2001 by Richard Loller.

When one plans a fishing trip, one usually tries to plan well - about costs, as well as the amount of equipment one takes along. So in that vein, it was decided to take our own gasoline, due to the fact of the high cost of Canadian gas at that time. Dumb idea? I think so, but we did it anyway.

There were three of us on this trip: an ex-Marine Captain just out of the Corps, our fearless leader, and me.

We collected many cans in which to put our gas, 5-10 gallon sizes, filled them, added the oil, and loaded them all into the VW van along with all of our fishing gear. I don't know how much gas weighs, but I do know that water weighs about 7 and a half pounds per gallon so gas must be close. At any rate, we had a heavy load for that van. We were really a bomb just waiting to explode. How we could have been such idiots? Actually, it was quite easy.

So it was off to Canada we went. No one inquired as to what we had aboard, so we went merrily along. The further North we went, the narrower the roads became. The Captain was at the wheel, and since he had decided to quit smoking a day or so before we left, he was not the most calm individual I had ever met. The gas load was ever on my mind. But apparently the Captain had a death wish, for he tooled down the road in what I thought was quite a haphazard manner. The VW careened from side to side in a most frightening way.

Suddenly, I looked ahead to see him trying to pass a car with another car coming the opposite direction. Well, this underpowered VW was running wide open and it didn't look like we were going to make it! But since I'm here to tell the story, we obviously were able to get safely by. A moment later our leader, whose van it was, told the Captain to pull over. He would be driving no more.

The trip went well. No more incidents, except that at the end, the poor Captain (who had gone without smoking for more than a week) hurried to the nearest store, purchased 2 packs of cigarettes. He immediately fired up two cigarettes at the same time!

Some fishermen have a tendency to bring along some alcoholic beverage, so as to ward off the cold during those Canadian nights. Of course we never wanted to break with tradition, so we always took a generous amount of the golden liquid along.

Sadly enough, there are some among us who feel the need of a little of the grape early in the day. And so it was that three of the lads in our party decided to do just that.

We had to make a long lake crossing, one that would take a couple of hours or more. As we were crossing, we noticed that the fellas in the lead boat, who were the weaker among us, began to veer off course: first to the left, and then a long tack to the right. As the day wore on, the changes in course became more pronounced until finally they didn't know where the hell they were going and had to stop and let us to catch up. We explained to our bleary-eyed compatriots that they would have to follow us for the rest of the way and they meekly complied.

The next day was a delightful day of successful fishing with a shore lunch of fried Walleye. Then in the afternoon, to top things off, we found a building and when we explored it, we discovered a cache of ice covered with large amounts of sawdust to preserve it. What a bonanza. We broke off fishing and returned to the camp site where we prepared a sumptuous meal:

1. An appetizer of deep-fried of Walleye filets,
2. Main course of New York steaks (which we had previously frozen)
3. Fine Canadien Club booze, but best of all, ice (!) for the drinks.

Here we were, at least 30 miles out in the 'bush’, sitting around a roaring fire, with good food, fine whiskey, ice, and the camaraderie of like-minded friends. All too quickly the day ended, and we were soon asleep, with dreams of jumping Northerns in our heads. The next morning when I awoke, I discovered that my air mattress had completely deflated and it hadn't bothered me at all! I wonder why?

The reel that I had come to depend upon suddenly decided not to work any more. There I was, reduced to being a non-fisherman, and so I agreed to run the engine while the others fished. We went along like this for a while when one of the others offered his rod to me. "Weary arms from pulling in too many fish," he said.

It was then that we decided to go to another spot, thinking that we might find even bigger fish. I lay the rod down, fore and aft, with lure end hanging over the transom, and revved up the engine. As the boat dug into the water, the lure caught in the wake. The rod shot straight off the boat into the water. We were astonished!

We triangulated the spot where we thought it had gone down and began to troll for it. Meanwhile, I reassured the rod owner that since it was my fault I would replace it when we got back to Minneapolis. (Hearing this did not make him any happier since he would no longer have a rod and reel with which to fish.) We trolled, but to no avail, and finally we went back to fishing. Since I was the culprit in this whole affair I was relegated to running the engine full-time.

Soon we were fishing again. After a little while, someone thinking he had a hit, pulled up a fishing line. It was caught on one of the prongs of a treble lure. We pulled in the line, hand over hand, until we came to its end and there to our surprise, up came the rod and reel. A miracle? Maybe.

We surmised that somehow the rod in its descent, went down reel-end first. So when it hit the bottom, it stuck in the mud in a vertical position with the line trailing out and when the lure came trolling by, it snagged the line and up the reel came. Remarkable! But how else can you explain it? The rod owner was happy (and so was I).

My ‘Doctor’ spoon dropped into the water. I looked fondly down at it hoping that it would bring me many fish. One moment in the water, it wiggled, and waggled along side the boat, and I remarked to my fishing buddies about how nice it looked, when, WHAM, the biggest Northern (Pickerel to our Canadian friends) that I'd ever seen, nailed that lure. I had no idea that that would happen. I truly was frightened out of my wits. I thought it was going to jump into the boat with me and I was prepared to throw the rod and all into water. Well, none of the above happened. With one swish of his tail he was off the hook and on his way.

“Did you see that?!” I asked. “I think that it's the biggest fish I have ever seen.”

The so-called old timers in the boat with me scoffed, saying, “We catch fish that size and bigger all the time”.

Meanwhile, I sighed and cast the spoon out, for real this time, when much to my surprise, WHAM, another strike. I cranked away, the rod bent, the Northern struggled, but finally the fish came in. I really think that it was the same fish. It looked the same. Maybe he got mad the last time and was making another attack? I got him in the boat and he was BIG. Did I weigh him? Of course not! That would only interfere with the telling of the tale…. No one will ever know just how BIG he really was, will they? Why do folks go fishing? That's why!

Dave Weinke has had many, mostly pleasant, life experiences. He wishes that he had time to tell them all.

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