Do You Remember...“A Welcome Walleye”
It was Friday evening and I called my fishing buddy John Alff and told him the walleyes were hitting at Barcelona and we should go there tomorrow. John said: “We do not know the area as neither of us have fished there before, but OK. Barcelona it will be. We had better take our boat and the 28 HP motor so we could go to different areas faster than my little 18 HP motor.” We both agreed to leave home in time to be on the water by
6:00 AM and try to catch that big walleye to win that Tournament, which does end at 5PM tomorrow. John said: “I’ll rig up some kind of downriggers for tomorrow. OK, see you in the morning.”
Arriving at Barcelona at 5:45 AM, John went to pay for the launching while I readied the boat for the launch. I ask John if he got any tips from anyone and he replied: “The launch attendant said to go west to eighty feet of water. That is where That is where they were catching the walleye yesterday.” So agreeing with the suggestions, we headed out into a slight fog and a fairly calm lake. We traveled about three miles when a spark plug fouled, so we had to change that and onward we went again.
My little 16 foot boat did pound some from the wakes of many other boats, most of which were larger than ours, but finally we got to 80 feet of water and also marking some fish on the recorder. Let’s start trolling right here. After trolling till about 11:30 and in about 100 feet of water now, and only two sheephead to account for, we decided to go for a little shallower water. John had changed about 8 or 9 lures of different combinations which included Bombers, thundersticks, spoons, and spinners & worms. I now changed from a yellow Rapalla to a silver and black of the same size. John also pulled up and retired his downrigger assembly because we
both agreed the wire made too much noise and was scaring the fish. Now we were both long lining.
I told John: “I can’t believe that I have lost three walleyes during this tournament. What am I doing wrong?” John said: “Nothing, those you lost are adding up to one twelve pounder because that is all that I am asking for—only one twelve pound walleye.”
Now 11:50 AM, the winds stronger, the lake with three to four foot rollers, John said: “It is getting real rough out here and I think we should troll toward shore. “What do you think?” I agreed and we headed toward shore still trolling.
Bright and sunny, but very rough lake conditions made trolling very difficult. John and I were extra quiet, I suppose because thoughts of having to quit fishing early because of the lake’s roughness. I said to John: “You should put on your life jacket.” I was already wearing mine as the lake had gotten rougher. He said: “ I’m fine.” I replied: “I am not man enough to pull you back onto the boat if you fall overboard, but I can pull you back to the side and drag you back to shore from the side of the boat.” He then put on his life jacket and asked: “Are you graphing any fish?” and I answered “Not any for quite a while now but there is some baitfish – a large one, and there is some more medium ones.” With more fish graphing now I lifted my pole from the rod holder and a fish hit my plug and almost jerked the rod out of my hand. I said to John “This is a real sizeable fish and it feels like a walleye.” John said to me: “Don’t you try to stand up fighting that fish with this rough water or you will lose the fish or possibly fall overboard. I fought the walleye’s vigorous efforts to get off in a seated position which was very difficult. The big walleye diving down and disappearing out of sight 4 different times and at this point John said: “Rick, you have to bring that fish to the boat this time up or he is going
to get off.
Being that I was not able to stand up because of the rough water to fight the fish, I could not turn around and see where the fish was but John guided me – John said: “He is coming up, swing your pole over your head toward me, keep reeling, keep reeling, come on, come on, keep reeling. He is on top, keep reeling, HE IS IN THE NET AND IN THE BOAT!! There is that twelve pounder that we have been hunting for. I yelled for joy: “There is that $6000.00 WALLEYE!” John guessed the fish weigh 12 pounds. Arriving at the Barcelona weigh-in station at about 1:30, we saw that the first place fish was 10.93 pounds, that we had to beat. Ours tipped the scales at 11.71 pounds – we were now in the number one spot, but with three and one half hours left to closing of the Tournament, we did hope and pray that our walleye would remain in first place and it did. John and I will split the $6000.00 first prize - $5000.00 from the Southtowns Walleye Tournament and $1000.00 from Emerling Chevrolet. Thank God and thank you.
Posted on Tue, April 26, 2016
by John Alff