Well, it was walleye we were after that day! To tell the truth it was surprising to catch a nice LMB (big’est mouthest bassi J. Kurrisi Tenneseeis) or bucket mouth as they are sometimes called. Jeff Kurris articles in the Nebland mag detail some very good bass catching truths — here I used the ultra-secret — a jig head and nose hooked crawler.
But to the tale, while camped at Lake Minatare last weekend, we heard that the walleye were keeping fishermen busy “in the trees”, so we looked for a spot to tie up in the mature willows. It appeared that several boats had selected a good spot and not wanting to move in too close we tied up outside of the trees, on a willow stump perhaps 15-yards to 20-yards out into the lake, in about 11-feet of water. Feeling it appropriate to ask if anyone was catching fish, I asked the nearest fishermen, a lone angler in the nearest boat. “Well” was his answer, more gestured than spoken. Marlene and I threw out a few jigs and crawlers and a minnow-baited small spoon. Within a few minutes the lone angler untied from the trees where he was fishing and moved his boat out into the lake before motoring away. Couldn’t help but notice that he pulled a stringer of two or three walleye into the boat before moving out.
Immediately, another boat fishing nearby untied and moved into the vacated spot. “Not very friendly,” the new owner said about it’s previous occupant. Two anglers in the boat settled in and caught a few fish fairly quickly. They pointed to a spot nearby and said, “you might try there — both these areas are pretty good.” Marlene and I retied into the new spot and watched as the other anglers landed one or two more keeper size walleye and perhaps a half-dozen walleye less than 15-inches in length. We tried jigs with nose-hook nightcrawlers and spent about an hour trying different combinations of sizes and colors– including small hooks and split shot weights. Without catching a fish. “You might try the smallest pink or reddish-pink jig heads you have with the crawlers”, one of the other anglers said. “It is a very subtle and slow presentation that seems to work the best.”
Marlene and I eventually caught four keeper walleye and as the other boat moved out they added a “Good luck and perhaps we’ll see you in this area tomorrow”, as they pulled away.
Back in the camper that evening I had a chance to think about the day’s activities. Which of the three anglers that we’d “met” were the most helpful? Perhaps which of the anglers could we most respect for their “boat-side-manner”?
Well, all three. The first angler, gruff and quiet had his own fishing methods and techniques and obviously enjoyed fishing away from others. The second boat’s anglers were more outgoing and ready to share a tip or two. But my repect goes to all fishermen. The great Texas golf instructor and legend Harvey Penick said, “If you love golf, you’re my friend”. Why can’t that “golden rule” apply to fishing and other outdoor pursuits as well?