By Jeff Kurrus
For those who don’t know walleye angler Mike Polak, you should. I’ve never met a nicer man on the water, and I’ve never had a more enjoyable time with someone that I had never met before.
Recently, Mike and I first met at Lewis and Clark Reservoir for a day of vertical jigging for walleye. The trip had been set up by Mike’s good friend and fishing partner, Steve Isom, who had informed me that if I wanted to learn how to catch walleye in the fall for a story I was working on for this spring in NEBRASKAland, Mike was the person I should contact. And Steve was correct.
But I didn’t quite understand this until after our trip when we were back at the boat ramp. See, when I’m out with anglers, hunters, hikers, and the like, I’m with them. They jump, I jump. They vertical jig, and so do I. So when the fishing throughout the day was moderately slow, I wondered if this was relatively common for this time of year, were there different spots to fish, could we be using any other technique – all those questions that come from a person who has no idea what they are doing.
We put a few fish in the livewell throughout the day, as Mike educated me on the finer points of jigging. Then, by the end of the day, we were in a spot on the lake where every other boat had also congregated. Yet as we fished, I didn’t see many other boats catching many fish, especially no nice fish.
I dismissed the thought at the time, but when I got back to the boat ramp with our 8 keepers and I started talking to others, I then found out how well we had done that day. One, two, three, at the most four, fish had been caught that day by any one single boat. While Mike and I had sat in those same spots and caught our limits.
I’m always intrigued during situations like this when everyone seems to be doing the same thing, and come to find out they are not.
I’m also intrigued when the person I’m spending time with that day is as nice as he is knowledgeable.