Friday, April 12, 2024

It's Like Ike Says… by Tim Grein


Douglas Lake

No matter who you are or how long you have fished, we all have days on the water that we would like to forget. Sometimes, you just can’t seem to get focused and do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Others, you are around fish but can’t seem to put them in the boat. Sometimes it is your fault, and sometimes, the fish just come off. There’s nothing you can do about it. Mike Iaconlli’s mantra is “never give up”. Those are some powerful words, but sometimes it is difficult. Regardless of how difficult it is, you should listen to them, and here’s why.
Earlier this summer, I had a couple of weeks off from scheduled events, so I took the weekend to go to High Rock Lake. I grew up fishing this lake and know it pretty good. For some reason, the fishing was off at High Rock this year, but being only 30 minutes from my house, I thought it would be a good time to go up the river and just work on some techniques and try to learn something that I can use other places. I went up there Saturday and figured if I caught them, I would fish the Sunday morning wildcat. I always enjoy fishing them. I went up on Saturday and fished some log jams, eddies, and lay downs. Short of the 6lber I caught on a Missile Baits D Bomb, I really didn’t have a ton of weight. I came back down the lake and fished a few places without a bite. I knew the fish were shallow, so I decided I would fish the wildcat even though I really didn’t catch them good.
Sunday morning, we put the boat in the water, and my buddy and I ran back up the river. I stopped at the first log jam and didn’t get a bite. We idled over to a channel bank that has a few lay downs and an eddy, and also didn’t get a bite. This was a little disheartening since this is where I caught the big one the day before. I ran up a little farther to another eddy where I had caught several the day before, but nothing large. We caught one small one. There was another spot further up the river that I didn’t get to fish the day before because there was a boat there. It is a large point with some logs on it. The main river channel is on one side, and there is a smaller channel on the other that goes back into some backwater. We fished the main channel side and caught a small one flipping one of the logs. I went around to the other side and hook a big one on a square bill. I get it all the way up to the boat and see that it only has 1 hook in it. I play the fish, and about the time it is ready for the net, it turns and pops the hook out. Wasn’t anything I did, it just happened. Could I have horsed that fish a little more and gotten it in? Maybe, but I also may have pulled the hook out. Regardless, it was about 4.5lbs and that hurt. I threw right back to the same spot and hook another one. It is also a good one. It gets about halfway back to the boat and it comes off too. At this point, I am switching hooks to see if that makes a difference. We fish around some more at the same spot, but nothing. I move on up the river and catch a small keeper on my crankbait. Still it only has one hook though. My buddy also catches one on a worm. We go back to the spot I lost two earlier and I catch one about 4lbs, but that’s it.
I remember looking at my watch at 1:45 and thinking it was too early to throw those 2 fish back, but that we were likely not going to have anything. I made a move back to the spot I had lost the fish and caught the good one. I hook another giant. It jumps about 10 feet from the boat and is about 6lbs. When it jumps, the hook comes out. I am so frustrated at this point, I am really ready to go home, but I keep fishing. What happened in the next 30 minutes blew my mind. They all of a sudden turned on and started eating my crankbait like they should. We caught 4 fish in the next 30 minutes, allowing us to cull one time. As I culled the last fish, I looked at my watch and we had 15 minutes to get back. That wasn’t a problem, but I was going to have to roll. We made it back to weigh in and had 16lbs even. It took 16.25 to win, but we still got a little money. Had we not lost those fish, it would have taken over 23lbs to beat us. I still am not exactly sure why they were just biting the tail, but I have some ideas. Regardless though, we turned what could have been a terrible day into a pretty good one. Had we thrown in the towel and given up, we wouldn’t have caught what we did. I knew those fish were there, they just had to get right, and by being there when they turned on, we were able to capitalize on it. You never know when that is going to happen. You could catch a 5lber on the last cast. I’ve done that too, but that’s a different story for a different day. If you remember one thing from this, listen to Ike and “NEVER GIVE UP!!!!”

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