Thursday, August 18, 2011


Just back from an Aug. 6-13 trip. Curiously, my daughter, Julie, and I caught exactly the same number of trophies (over 41") as my first trip 2 years ago, which is/was 43. I must say that Julie did most of the heavy lifting, and at times I felt primarily like a camera man. The most remarkable thing, however, might be the bulky average size of the fish. If you chose a 4-inch bracket that would encompass our most typical-sized fish, it would probably be 35-39" or 36-40". There were A LOT of Big, heavy, burly fish, and when you spot them about 100 stalks of cabbage to dig into and slice through, they can kick your ass just fine, thank you.

The trip got off to an inauspicious start, however. On our first casts, we BOTH snapped the cork handles of our rods right in half. By the end of the first hour, all 3 of Julie's rods, and 2 of mine, had done this. "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?" No one at camp had ever seen or heard of this happening. My third "first string" rod went on day 3. Upon investigation, there was a subtle dent across my (standard Plano) rod tube, right at that same level, so apparently the tube took a very heavy and sharp blow, and then bounced back to almost normal shape, but the damage was done. Still pretty bizarre. With the crap that the TSA (inspects my rod tube most of the time, and likes to jam stuff back in) and baggage handlers dish out, I' m not buying any more rods without lifetime warranties. By the way, if this happens to you, here is the solution: get a Clorox-type jug, cut off the top and bottom, and slit open the remaining plastic cylinder. Cut in half, that will give you enough to wrap 2 handles stoutly enough to not bend. Then secure with Duck Tape (don't leave home without it!), and you're back in business.

The massive weed bed between camp and Tower Island was the biggest fish magnet, with some off the island itself. Just little ones at Thubin. Went upriver one half day, and caught 4 over 39" (incl. a 45). Biggest of the trip was a 46", by Julie. Some in the trolling channel, too. The other boat in camp, Tim and Bryan, did as well or better than we did, mostly using big, gaudy spinnerbaits (bigger than most of the stuff I had). We had a fair amount of wind, but topwater was fun when it was calmer. I usually drifted back to the old reliable Johnson spoon, and firetiger may have been superior to plain silver or gold. Julie has a favorite spoon, and that is no mean feat to have success in those weeds with a spoon-- has to be small, light, single hook (which is sure nice for the fish and fish handlers, too), and further buoyed by a trailer.

I never put on my rain pants, sweatshirt, or hooded sweatshirt, and I only used my rain jacket (as a windbreaker only) for 2 evenings and the ride upriver. Can't complain about that (but it was pretty windy 4-5 days).

Now, OK, guys. We have a definite lack of fishing reports this year. Don't be shy. Don't be modest. Let's hear from you! Like Jamie says, "There's no shame in talking about kicking ass, in the company of others who also kick ass!" And somebody can certainly post an "angler profile" (so I won't look like a tool being the only one besides Jamie).

Tight lines and solid hooksets, Jim Golla

P.S.Best story: I hooked a 14"-er on my first cast upriver, which was promptly slashed by a BIG fish. I tell Julie to "throw that rubber thing that looks like a pike". She (Julie) does, and she (the fish) also "does", all 43 1/2 of her. Many boatside ambushes, and many "companion" fish following in hooked fish, seemingly always bigger than the one you've got on! No other species can give me the rush these guys do.

And finally, I promised I would do this: I made a big mistake going to laker's unltd on Athabasca last year. I would urge you not to make the same mistake.

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