Who the heck needs the fishing opener? Ok, that's a bit of an exxageration, because I more than anybody cannot wait for the opener tonight, but there's other options. To cure my itch to catch the biggest fish possible I have been hard at it again. The more I fish the many rivers we have, the more I love it, and realize that I never have to stop catching big fish. The season literally never closes any more, and there is always big fish to be caught somewhere.
Last weekend Mike and I enjoyed the Wisconsin opener on the St. Croix River. A new experience for both of us, but we had goals to conquer another body of water. To shorten the story up (read mikes journal), we were happy with our afternoon and filled the jar up for our fish fry on Sunday. To hit up a new river for the first time and succeed is a big deal for me, and just opens up another can of worms for the future. One more opportunity for the always growing list. Just a few weeks before that we were hauling in giant Sturgeon on the Rainy River, and the mighty Mississippi gave us some pretty decent walleye action again this year.
With so many opportunities, I had to add another one to the list. This week we hit up the Minnesota River for a battle of the beasts. A beast of another kind that just rocks your world when you hook up. Word on the street was that we were about a month too early to start fishing for flathead catfish, but for Matt, Sean and myself, it didn't matter. "We can't catch 'em on the couch," was the phrase that inspired us, so with that in mind, we were off to conquer the river. Our experience is limited with this creature, but we are learning with every trip. Like in Muskie fishing, we don't expect to catch one every time out, but so far this year we are 3 for 3, or 100%, which we feel really good about. Matt is the guide in this excursion. I cannot say I'm comfortable taking the Ranger on these shallow waters, so he drives his new fangled catfish rig. From there it's a team sport as we study the bottom, find the sunken logs and structure and choose our spots precisely. We have found this to be the most important piece to the puzzle.
With all the preparation and high hopes we settled into our first spot for the year. Matt had scored his first cat a few days earlier, but for the records, we were calling it "our" first trip of the year. Just as the sun started to fade on the first evening chaos broke out. Bails was hooked up! It wasn't a giant, but it had some dandy wiskers and 15+ pounds of pure strength in its shoulders. A perfect way to start out our year. In need of sleep we left shortly after that battle. Fast forward to the next night and much of the same results, only this time it was my turn, and the wiskers were bigger! Shortly after dark and our second spot of the night, came a throttle that almost pulled me out of the boat. I'm not exxaggerating when I say the strike will almost rip your arm off. The beast and I went into heated battle. With logs and trees surrounding us, it was intense and power against power. I gave everything I had to keep him out of the cover for fear of loosing him. It was intense and awesome! Shortly after, I was hoisting the beast for the photo gallery. I don't know the exact weight on her, but frankly I don't care. She was big, strong and beautiful! And, she had some nice wiskers! This addiction is almost as strong as the muskie curse that I have, so I plan on having many more pics on here this year.
Here's to a great opener filled with whatever bites your bait! The reports are going to start flowing with regularity now, so check back often and feel free to join in on the action. I am excited for all that this year brings. If the first few weeks of spring are any indication, it is going to be a blast! From the muddy banks of the Minnesota River, Keep on Livin' the dream!