Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Biggest Walleye of My Life

In fishing Leech Lake last Sunday, I hooked into the biggest walleye of my life.  

Ever since I was young, I've wanted a walleye big enough to be worthy of hanging on my wall.  My self-imposed limit for the size of this fish was 30", and while I've caught many up to 28" in my 45 years of fishing, I've not boated a 30".  Oh, I may have hooked into one which broke my line, but I could never be sure it was my wall-hanger.

I take you now to the lake.  The day was incredibly rough, with winds blowing over 20MPH from the south.  As such, we were fishing the south end of the lake; it was far too rough to venture elsewhere.  The spot we were fishing shouldn't have held fish as the wind was way wrong, but it was the only place where the water was calm enough for us to be safe.

While our water was somewhat calm, the wind was still howling.  Our boat was a pontoon, and was being skipped across the water at a really fast rate, hence we were using massive jigs to try and have our bait maintain contact with the bottom, where the fish live.

We made drifts for a couple of hours, and watched some other boats land fish, but we could not raise one ourselves.  Then, near the end of our stint, something smacked the living hell out of massive jig.  We were at the end of our drift, and had now drifted south enough for us to be taking big swells against the boat.  

I knew I had a massive fish right away, and I changed my reel to allow me to back-reel and offer the fish some room to fight.  And fight me she did.  She made a couple of big runs which stripped line, and with us moving so fast in the boat, it made it all the more difficult to gain ground on her.  

But gain I did.  As much as the fish was fighting, I believe that I caught a massive northern, or perhaps even a muskie.  However, that all went out the window when I first spied her - she was a walleye, and a complete monster.

She was nearly played out, and I soon had her at the surface to be netted.  We all got a great look at her, and my biggest fish of the day just a day prior - a large 26" - looked puny in comparison.  She was all of 30", perhaps much larger.

Our borrowed net was too small, and my buddy manning it was having a tough time with the fish.  Likewise, since we were in a pontoon in heavy waves, it was hard to get a good angle on the fish to net it.  I moved back in the boat in attempt to drag the fish closer, and then shifted to the left at the request of the netter in order to bring the fish in.  Just then my netter stood up just a little, and his shoulder touched against my line which was now over him.  That's all the taught line needed, and it immediately snapped at his shoulder.  

My dream fish - my wall fish - sat there at the surface for a second, with my massive green jig in her mouth, and then disappeared to the safety of the bottom.  Just like that, she was gone.

The good news is that I indeed got not only a good but a great look at her.  And with the day's previous perspective of a 26", I had a really good idea about her size.  Hence, there is no guessing as to what she was.

The bad news, of course, is that she didn't get landed.  No picture exists.  It is like hitting the stick on a par three with your drive - nice shot, but if the ball didn't end up in the hole, it's not an ace.  Hence, no replica will be developed, and the wall remains bare.  

The only other good news is that I saved myself about $700 on a fancy replica.

Now, please excuse me as I hit the water in search of a massive walleye sporting a big green jig in her cheek.

1 comment:

Please feel free to include any thoughts you may have. Know, however, that kiddos might be reading this, so please keep the adult language to yourself. I know, for me to ask that language is clean is a stretch...