I’ve decided that fishermen love long boat rides and very likely are addicted to gasoline.
Most of you know I used to guide on Lake of the Woods in Canada. Specifically I worked out of Green’s Camp on the east side of Lake of the Woods in Nestor Falls, Ontario. Almost to the man (and woman), guests would expect that we make our morning run past Split Rock Lodge which was a landmark about 15 miles out on the lake west of Nestor Falls. Some would actually insist that we go out as far as Bald Rock which was another 5 or 6 miles west.
Admittedly the fishing that far out could be pretty good, yet I knew there were untold quantities of nice fish between Nestor Falls and these way points. But, guests expected the morning boat ride. Nestor Falls and the immediate area around it, in their mind, was certainly over-fished and more likely than not only held small, unacceptable walleye or seriously undersized northern pike. Musky were totally out of the question.
So, with our 20 hp outboards and 14 ft Lund boats we would make our 45 minute to 1 hour runs west. In the late afternoon we would reverse the route and usually be home by about 6 PM. Once our guests were safely ashore guides were expected to clean the fish, tidy the boat, and get the shore lunch box back to the kitchen so it could be repacked for the next day’s fishing.
After these chores had been accomplished some of the guides, me included, would grab a boat, go less than a mile from the camp dock, and fish for walleye under a hydro line that ran between 2 islands, clearly in sight from the camp dock. Here we would catch very nice 1 1/2 to 3 lb walleye. Usually we could limit out (6 fish per person) if we needed to, but we typically only kept enough fish for that evenings dinner. But we caught them almost every night!
The point of all this is that guests would not have been happy fishing here. Simply put, they paid for – and expected – a boat ride. Since we were being paid by them and they were “the boss”, we followed their wishes. But on more than one occasion, once we were an hour out east of Nestor Falls and fishing was tough, I really wished we had stopped at “the hydro line” to assure we had fish for shore lunch latter in the day.
I’m not a tournament fisherman, but I am certainly a tournament fishing “observer”. But in that task I must be missing something. We see lots of tournaments down on Kentucky and Barkley Lake. If the tournament launches from Kentucky Dam Marina or any other ramp on the north end, most participants will run 50 miles south to around Paris Landing, hoping for the big guys. And (I’m sure you know where I’m going here) for those tournaments that launch out of Paris Landing or similar southern ramps, participants will run 50 miles north to fish around the dam for those same big guys!
OK, maybe in the Spring or Fall this makes some sense, but it just seems odd to me that this happens all the time during the “high fishing season” from May through September. But, like I said, there’s probably something I’m missing here.
Just last week I received a nice email from a friend and customer showing off a fantastic 25 1/2 lb king salmon and a 33″ northern pike. Those are some nice fish, but what made them really special is that both were caught within the city limits of Chicago!
Here again I make my point as well as plead “guilty as charged”. Most of us, yours truly included, think we need to travel “who knows how far” for the “good fish”. Yes, I’m as guilty as anyone. Dixie and I will hitch up the boat and drive for a day or day-and-a-half to some remote lake fishing for largemouth, walleye, musky, northerns, etc. Never mind that more often than I would like to admit customers will come in the store with pictures of 8 to 10 lb largemouth caught in a local lake. Or a 50″+ musky caught less than 2 hours away. Or a stringer of big sauger caught less than 5 minutes from the house. Or…..well, you get the picture.
Our SUV with the boat attached gets a measly 11 miles per gallon vs. 20+ when it’s not attached. You would think this would incentivize us to stay as close to home as possible when fishing given gas is now almost $4 per gallon. Add to this the fact that we know from customers that there are truly B-I-G fish right here in our back yard. But no, we travel a day or day and a half to who knows where with boat in tow, incurring motel bills and gas bills and more fast food bills than either of us care to admit. But now I know why. It’s just what happens when you love boat rides and have an addiction to gas!
This issue we have some great fly fishing gear to tell you about. We have really bulked up our selection of fly fishing gear and it has been very well received. Fly fishing is a very relaxing hobby that we really recommend you trying. Also, be sure and check out this newsletter’s “Catch of the Week”!
Thank you for your wonderful friendship and support. All of us here at American Legacy Fishing truly appreciate your continued loyalty. We are so fortunate to have so many friends who share our joy and obsession with two of the world’s greatest sports. Thank you once again for all you do!