This past Wednesday evening my wife Jean and I had sat down to a meal of freshly caught crappie that had come to the table thanks to my oldest grandson Trevor. This past Sunday evening he sent me a text asking if I would like to go fishing with him in the morning. I jumped at the chance and on Monday morning we launched his boat at Brookside and in no time at all we were fishing. It took a little while to locate the fish but once we did it was a blast.
Trevor, like his grandpa, is not one to waste resources so after we had enough fish in the live well for a meal it was catch and release the rest of the morning. Fishing in and amongst fallen trees will eventually lead to snags and loss of a jig or two but it was well worth it. The weather was perfect, I was fishing with my grandson and the fish were cooperating so who could ask for anything more?
The water was murky and the temperature of the water was around 56 degrees, which is actually pretty warm for this time of year. As we fished I seemed to have unlocked the secret to easily locating submerged branches and if that wasn’t enough I was casting for what must have been flying fish hiding in the overhanging trees. Trevor seems to have the patience that I once showed when I would take him fishing. He would calmly take the boat to the snag and undo or in some cases at least retrieve the lure. I told Trevor that morning that he was just paying me back for all of the times over the years that I had taken him fishing, untangled lines and gotten snags out so now the student had become the teacher.
I had read, or heard it said a while back on a TV fishing show, that “if you are worried about losing a lure you shouldn’t be fishing.”
That is all well and good when you are talking 1/8th ounce jigs but when it comes to musky fishing and the price of those lures today, my thriftiness starts to show. I really don’t mind if I lose a lure to a huge fish in the heat of the battle but it still hurts a little. To this day I can feel the pain whenever I think about the loss of my favorite musky lure; Big Slim. I had won this lure and a few others from Rapids Tackle for catching the largest musky registered in Itasca County the first week of musky fishing in “82. It was really nothing to brag about because the fish was not that big but at least it was legal size. It was a beautiful tiger musky but had swallowed the lure so its chances of surviving were slim. I decided to have it mounted with the stipulation that I would not keep another musky in the future. It turned out to be a beautiful mount that has since taken any decision making off the table. I have caught larger ones since but catch, take a picture and release is really quite satisfying.
A year or two after that I had a fish hit “Old Slim” about 10 feet from the boat, which caught me by surprise with my drag set way too tight and my line way too short. The fish hit the lure, ran straight at the boat and went under it breaking the line which has eventually sent me on a fruitless search for a replacement for my beloved “Big Slim”. As the years have passed that lure has become sort of a legend in my mind and although I have eventually come close to replacing it my comfort zone has become eroded.
Comfort zone to a fisherman is that place in your mind that you go where a certain lure that has been successful before gives you the confidence to go forward. I have a few such lures that make me feel comfortable and give me confidence in certain situations. A jig and a twister tail can be very successful while the Countdown Rapala is more than likely my number one confidence builder. I like to use this one when I have no minnows available and something inside my head says that the time is right for that particular lure. A shad colored Shad Rap is another one that I like to use and a perch colored floating Rapala has also given me some good fishing over the years. Do you sense a trend forming here? Someone once asked Al Linder this question: if you were stranded on an island and had only one lure to use, which one would it be? Surprisingly he said a black jig head with a white twister tail. If you asked him today the answer would undoubtedly be something totally different but at the time a lure as simple as that was what put him in his comfort zone
As a fisherman I am a dinosaur, mainly due to the fact that I have a hard time giving in, totally, to the modern technology of today’s fishing world. Yes, I do have a fish locator but it is not an expensive one with all the bells and whistles. It will tell me the depth, water temperature, show me structure and if there are any fish in the area. That is a long way from my original depth finder; a piece of electrical tape wrapped around the anchor rope every ten foot. This method served me well for many years but alas, I am lost without my little piece of technology giving me all of that vital information. My favorite type of fishing is still sight-trolling the shoreline with casting the shoreline a close second. You don’t catch a lot of walleye doing this but as Trevor told me the other day; it’s hard to beat a meal of crappie or panfish. He also said that of all the lakes in Southern Minnesota, Fountain Lake is one of the best around and probably his favorite.
Until next time, the time is right for some serious panfish action so get out and enjoy!
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