By Louie Stout
A few weeks ago we wrote about how fishing can be so darn unpredictable and cited several examples where anglers had some exciting battles with big fish.
We noted that several state records or giant catches were made by anglers not targeting that particular species or who were novice fishermen.
Since then, several anglers have written to share their unique catches that involved some luck as well as skill.
But, is luck really required in fishing? I posed that to a professional angler a few years back.
“If luck plays any role in fishing, it’s because you put yourself in position to be lucky,” he said. “You made the decision to make the right cast, with the right lure in the right place.”
Apparently, Ken Price of Granger did just that.
Price was on a Canadian fishing trip to Eagle Lake near Dryden.
“Per your article, even us occasional fisherfolk get lucky,” he wrote. “Aside from an annual trip to Canada, I might get out two or three times with a friend or fish our 7-acre pond three or four times a year.”
Last summer’s Canadian trip was his first attempt to catch a muskie. He and a buddy worked behind two others fishing from a boat when Price hooked a muskie on his third cast. The fish measured 44¼ inches - a dandy anywhere.
“I had just told my buddy we were going to catch one right behind them before I made the cast,” he said. “I got to see the fish hit the lure full bore and only about 10 feet from our boat!”
If that weren’t good enough, he caught a 28½-inch walleye the very next day. It was the biggest walleye he’s ever caught.
And how about the muskie story Randy Whiteman of Wakarusa shared. Whiteman is an experienced muskie angler, fishing Indiana muskies for the past 15 years.
But on his 52nd birthday, he nearly pulled off a rare feat.
It was Sept 26 when he joked to friends he was going out to catch a 52-inch muskie to match his age and on his birthday. He launched his boat on the Barbee Chain and set his trolling rod. Within 45 minutes, the “clicker” on the reel began to clatter; something big had taken his Bucher Bait.
It was a giant muskie. Whiteman played it carefully and eventually scooped it in the boat. A few pictures were snapped, and before he released the fish, he measured it.
“It was 50 3/4 inches long – an inch and a quarter short of 52,” he said. “But that’s OK; it was my third Indiana muskie that I’ve caught that has measured over 50 inches.”
More recently, Whiteman took 15-year-old Nick Olson from Goshen on his first steelhead fishing trip. He met the boy while attending his daughter’s wrestling match and found out he had a real passion for fishing.
They launched on the St. Joseph River on a chilly day and the fish were cooperating. Nick hooked and landed his first Skamania steelhead – a 36-inch, 15-pounder. That is a better-than-average steelhead that puts up a tenacious fight – and one the young man will never forget. They caught three other steelhead that day and added a walleye to the catch.
“I love taking kids fishing and giving them something to do besides play video game and put their face in their smart phone,” said Whiteman. “Spending time with kids in the outdoors is crucial to developing their social skills and gives them something to do beside ‘hang out’.”
Amen to that!
The river produces trophy walleye, too, as Alex Sadural of Mishawaka found out. He was fishing the river late one evening with an Original Rapala at Central Park.
“It was around 10:30 and I knew I needed go so I made a few more casts,” he said.
That’s when a big walleye hit. The fish measured 27½ inches and he estimated its weight at around 9 pounds.
“I catch a lot of walleyes down there, and I’ve spent a lot of money going to Lake Erie trying to get a big one,” he said. “It’s cool that I caught my biggest walleye right here in my backyard.”