Started in the harbor about 6:00. Trolled north and south. Deep and shallow. Fast and slow. Nothing happened. After about 4 grueling hours my thoughts were elsewhere.
But the harbor wasn't grueling. It was a beautiful day. Wind was light. Water calm. One other musky boat in the south gap. Nary any boat in the North Gap. The trolling was easy. If only I had one little rip or one last cigar. One or the other and I would have stayed. But I had neither. So off I went to my first real musky love - the river.
And the river I loved. It has been good to me for forty years. Actually 50. Well, 55 since I first dropped a line in its waters. I'll always come back to the river. As long as I'm able. Such a wonderful place to be.
Only wanted one fish to break the ice for 2019. Just one fish. So I did a drift at each of my favorite spots. Nothing at Frenchman's. Nothing at Strawberry. Oh. No sand flies today.
What happened to the sand flies? Are they the creatures that live in the mud for 6 or 7 years and come out for one day, one measly day, to be fruitful and multiply? What a wonderful life, I thought. Well, mine, not so much theirs, I think.
Oh well, down river to the trench. I had two on here yesterday, I think. First drift, coming up a ledge, suddenly a fish on. Now, I was sitting. I don't usually sit when I fish tubes. But I guess I was getting tired. After all I had trolled for 4 grueling hours. I set the hook from the seated position and started to crank. This felt like a nice fish. Much bigger than the ones I lost yesterday. But that I'll never really know, for it too came free. Bummer.
Now I need an excuse. Lost 3 or 4 since yesterday. I think it's the northerly wind. Really. It slows the drift. Which creates more slack in the line as I drift along. Harder to get a good hook set …. especially when you're sitting. Don't you think? Don't lose many fish on a southerly or westerly wind.
Oh well, at least I'm hooking into them. That's half the battle?
A few minutes later I hook into another one. This one I actually land - all 28 inches.
Now you may not be impressed with a 28 incher, but it made me very happy. Or at least somewhat hopeful. You see, I haven't caught a 28 incher in quite a long time. In fact, few of us have. Between this 28 incher and what seemed were a couple smallish fish I lost yesterday I'm hopeful that perhaps a new generation, a healthy year-class or two, is finally showing up. We need them. We need them to re-populate. To be fruitful and multiply. They have been few and far between for the past few years (about ten).
So my little 28 incher made me very happy. Or hopeful.
And I'll see if I can lose another couple tomorrow, not leaving the river tomorrow.