It's almost time for some serious fishing


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Nov 18, 2002
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It's almost time for some serious fishing

By Herb Boldt / Associated Press

Time flies.

When I looked at the calendar, I realized that „Owgust’ is almost here. No, I know how to spell „August,’ but every year I pronounce it the way my grandmother handled the word. Born in Europe, she had a quaint way of pronouncing English words.

The summer is over and soon it will be time to get in some serious fishing. You know: Grappling with 15-pound salmon and struggling with big walleyes and northern pike who during the summer are in the same doldrums as many fishermen.

Salmon already are being taken in Lake Huron for the guys in big boats, but my boat is 14 feet long, and I have to wait until the fish are closer to shore. I didn’t live as long as I have by running my boat 3 to 5 miles offshore.

In fact, my favorite way to fish for salmon is to frequently cast for them from various points along the Lake Huron shoreline. I also fish rivers and piers on the west coast of the state.

The first salmon I caught was behind Tippy Dam on the Manistee River. Later, fish came from the Lexington area, the mouth of the Boardman River at Traverse City, in Thunder Bay near Alpena, the Au Sable River below Foote Dam, at Harrisville and Lake Huron near my home in East Tawas.

There were less known places, too. The friends who invited me to fish with them swore me to secrecy -- on pain of instant death, and I’d like to live long enough to fish some of those places again.

The most interesting catch was on a charter out of Ludington with three friends I worked with at The Detroit News. Jim Crowe, a long time outdoor writer for the News arranged the trip.

I knew it would be a good trip, because Crowe wouldn’t take his boss and friends to a sterile stretch of water, but I was unprepared for what awaited us.

We had been trolling for several hours without a fish. Oh, we had several fish on, but for one reason or another everyone had done something which caused the fish to get away.

For the record, I hadn’t touched a rod because I had caught many salmon and wanted one of them to take the first fish.

A fish hit one of the six lines we were running. Seconds later a second line released and then a third.

Captain Pete asked me to clear the last two long lines to give my buddies more room to play the fish. I had retrieved the first line and saw the second line bent almost double in the rod holder.

“Fish on,” I yelled and grabbed the rod.

“Don’t reel, just keep him until we catch or lose the first three.”

Over the next 10 or 15 minutes, my three friends managed to follow the guide’s instruction and brought the three salmon to the boat where they were netted.

“OK, you can get the line out of the water,” he told me.

“He’s still on,” I told him.

At that point, the fish leaped from the water trying to shake the hook, and the captain got a look at it.

A sanitized version of what he said was: “Wow, that’s the biggest of the season. I’ll try to take some of the tension off for you.”

The fish leaped this way and that trying to fall over the line and break it, but someone upstairs must have been helping me because I managed to out-think the fish and eventually brought it to the boat.

Dockside, the captain bragged about his patrons and told everyone who would listen about having four fish on and nailing every one.

“The first time I ever had four on at one time and netted every one,” he repeated over and over.

I invited the captain to lunch and he repeated his story in the restaurant, and my friends basked in the limelight.

After lunch, we retrieved our fish and stored them in a cooler in the trunk. Before we left, the captain got me aside and said: “Thanks.”

“What for?”

“Your friends lost seven fish before they finally listened to my instructions,” he said.

“And if you ever quit your job, you’re always free to serve as my mate.”
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