No Pain No Gain
The fall rains have arrived. The smell of burning leaves fills the air. Mums are in full bloom. The first signs of the rut are showing on the bases of the trees. The cool temps have knocked down the weeds on the surface and the big muskies have once again put on the feed bags.
I watched as the trailer slowly entered the water. The lake looked cold and clear. Perfect! Steam was puffing off the surface, almost looking ghostly as if it jumped from a photo. “This was going to be a good day,” I thought to myself. If we were going to put a few muskies in the net, it had to be today because the lake would soon be shut down for the waterfowl season.
Fall, what a great time of the year to be out on the lake. The ridges are in full color. They looked as if a painter had spilled his paint on the canvas and let it lay. The only sound on the lake was that of a duck hunter putting the last touches on his home for the next couple of months. Wow, what a rush. “Get the H@%& in the boat boy.” “We’re burning prime time,” I shouted as the young man stepped into the bow. There better not be any mud on those boots or this is your last time so help me. He replied, “no mud.” “You think I would have showed up with mud on my boots?” “I’m still missing some of my A%* from the last time.” I just smiled and lit up the 225 and started toward the flat.
Grab the rods out of the box and put them in the holders. A look came over the young man’s face like he had seen a ghost. What the …….. are these? They look like the bass I was catching last week. “Those,” I said, “were the baits of choice for a good fall day.” “I hope you brought your Ibuprofen because after chucking these all day you’re going to need it.” He grinned and kept pulling the rest of the rods from the box. I eased out of the throttle and turned on the electronics. Now where is that hump? “Hump,” he asked? “Yeah, there is a hump out here in the middle. It has held some big muskies in the past and I think we should hit it before we hit the flat.” We cut the motor about 60 yards from the spot. “Grab that big surface lure and start chucking it toward the sun,” I said. I eased the Minn Kota into the water and grabbed a big buzz bait. The turning of the big props set water flying 2 feet away from the baits. The young man just grinned as he cranked the big reel. There ain’t nothing going to eat that big canoe you’ve got me throwing. Hey, stop your whining and keep chucking! Okay. If you say so. Five, ten, fifteen casts later and nothing. “They must be shallower,” I said. Let’s ease up on the flat and see if we can spot some bait.
I slid the Targa onto the flat from the deep side hoping to spot some bait. There, over by the shore. “Where,” he asked? By the dead tree. Open your eyes, shut your mouth, and look! The fish never surfaced again. She was right up on shore chasing bait. Take that big surface bait and send her a meal. He launched the big bait, SMACK . “Bitch slap,” I said to myself. “What, he replied? Bitch slap. You know, the sound you hear when those big baits hit the water? “Oh,” he replied, mumbling under his breath. If you’re going to say something, don’t mumble. He replied, “THERE AIN’T NO DAMN FISH GOING TO HIT THIS LOG YOU’VE GOT ME THROWING!” Hey, just give it a chance. It’s one of the small baits I brought today. “Small,” he replied. “What’s big?” I pulled the box from under the dash, and pulled out one of the 10 inch baits I had brought. “What the H@*$,” he replied. “Looks like my weight bag from the last tournament I fished.” I just smiled and started twitching a 10-inch jerk over the drop. We worked the flat to the end with not so much as a look. Let’s go back and hit that fish I saw one more time before we start trolling. She might still be prowling. He looked at me and said, “I vote we start trolling now. My arm feels like I tossed it out of the socket.” Oh, quit your crying, and give me that rod. I’ve got another bait I want you to throw. “No way,” he said, as I pulled a LLungen DC 10 out of my box. “That thing looks like a muskrat,” he replied. Yeah, it kind of does. Throw it out the deep side and get used to it. He tossed it out and started to reel. The reel sounded like a warn winch pulling my 4-wheeler up the hill. Not sure if the kid or the reel was making that sound. “The huge blades on that bait could send enough vibration to wake the dead,” I said. Let’s go see if we can get a rise out of that fish? He just let out a sigh as I turned the boat back towards our starting point.
Don’t you troll these big baits most of the time? “Yes,” I replied, “but those fish are shallow, so we cast.” “Great,” he said. I am not even going to be able to swing my hammer at work Monday. “Oh, they aren’t that bad,” I replied. You whine like a little girl! Now, see that dead tree on the bank? Toss that baby right up on shore and rip it back to the boat. Smack. The bait hit the water a mere 6 inches from the bank. Now, work it parallel with the dead tree. Woosh! The words had barely left my mouth when she swirled. KEEP IT COMING. DON’T STOP REELING. SHE MISSED IT. Come on you big B$%^&. Eat it. He looked as if he had gone numb. Watch for her. She’s still there. Come on eat. BOOM, HIT HER ……..HIT HER AGAIN. “FISH ON,” he yelled. Back off the drag. Don’t horse her. You’re only going to make her mad. Back and forth she pulled. So hard at times it made the braided line whine as it cut through the water. Now, bring her head first toward the net. Oh, yeah! That’s a pig Junior. Junior, are you still with me? “Yeah,” he replied. “I never thought in a million years…” I know. I know. We unhooked the big girl, snapped a couple shots of her and turned her back. “How big,” he asked? I don’t know 45, 46. Don’t think she went 47, but boy did she have the girth. Got to love those fall fat chicks. He just laughed and set the rod back in the holder. “You done,” I asked? “Hell no,” he replied. “Let’s get us another.” Okay, buddy. I’ve got a couple more spots to hit on the way back to the ramp. Junior, just remember in the fall you got throw big…..NO PAIN NO GAIN !
SEE ‘YA ON THE WATER!