I have always considered myself a fisherman. Never pro or an expert, but I knew enough to hold my own. Boy, was I wrong. All of these years I have spent a few weekends here and there drowning worms with the occasional walleye trip in between, and even then it was more about hanging out and having fun than fishing. Ice fishing has always been fun, but it's a whole different ballgame. Not anymore.
Two weeks ago, I packed up the car and headed to the great northern wilderness of Mackinac (Mack-e-naw) to join fellow Pro-Staffer Tim Ford and Mike and Mike from the Up North Journal for a weekend of salmon fishing. Unfortunately, half way there, I got a phone call from Mike saying that both of the boats that the charter service we were using had broke down. Bummer. But not to worry, as Mike always has a plan B. "We'll just do some inland fishing," he said. Not what I was hoping for, but it's better than sitting at home, right?
First off, I had forgotten how beautiful the northern woods of Michigan are. Whoever coined the phrase "Sportsman's Paradise" couldn't have been more right. When I stepped out of the car, it felt like a wave of tranquility ran over me.
We all gathered in the cabin and talked about what the next day's plan's were going to hold. And after we had a game plan, we headed out to the local outfitter to pick up a few supplies. While we were there, we met up with our newest field staff member, Dan Block, from Escanaba. We then headed back to the cabin and I had the pleasure of watching, for the first time, "Escanaba In Da Moonlight". If you haven't seen it, finish reading this, then get to your local video store and rent it. You'll be glad you did. And, you will see our field staffer Dan Block in the first 10 minutes! But now, onto the fishing.
5 a.m. came early the next morning, but we were all ready to go. After a bit of a drive and our usual breakfast at the golden arches, we arrived at our first lake. We fished there for about four hours, throwing everything we had. Not much happened. We landed a few small pike and a small mouth bass. We were all getting hungry and Dan had to make his trip home, so we broke for lunch. After a little debating, we picked another lake that looked like it could show some promise. We were told that there was an abundance of pike in this lake, so we switched gears and set up for predator fishing. We got off to a slow start, but after an hour or so, I got our first strike on a green BuzzFrog. A minute or so later, we had our first bass of the day in the boat. Rock on. Then about 20 minutes later, I got another hit. And another bass. Time to switch tactics. Tim and Mike start throwing out plastics. Now, I have bought plastics in the past, but I have honestly never used one. And up until that point, I had never know how to fish plastics. I had always thought that they were fished just like regular worms. That's when Mike showed me the beauty of the "Texas Rig". He handed me a Zoom white Horney Toad, showed me how to rig it weedless, and that's when the fun started. I was suddenly able to cast into places that would have brought me only headaches before. They also taught me about letting the lure drop for a second after it came over top of a lily pad. Watching it drop into the lilies and having to rely entirely on feel was awesome. Colors also play a big role. While white was hot in the middle of the day, Watermelon Seed was on fire towards dark.
I have found yet another venture to get me into the outdoors, and I am better for it. I also learned more important lesson about bass fishing. When setting the hook, one of the most important elements is reciting a certain word that somehow complete the act of setting the hook. So, in ending, BOOYAH!!!