May 2005

In May 2005, we had a small group, Mark W, Steve, Tim, Scott, Chris, George and after a 20 year hiatus Ron returned (only after we promised not to go down the river again!)

We had our first visit from the Ministry of Natural Resources in nearly 30 years. Not a pleasant experience, we hope they wait another 30 years before they come back!

Chris ended our trip with a huge 40″ Northern. Scott had great fishing and a stringer full of Walleyes. Steve caught plenty of Walleyes and a nice 36″ Northern. Nice weather, but not much wind.

The boat trailer leaf spring broke on the way in. I had lots of help tying down the remains of the trailer but, you can always count on the guys to pose for the camera.

Chris wrote about his experience:

The May 2005 Canada Trip was one for the books! Until landing this personal record fish, the trip had been gloomy, cool and rainy. To top it off, we had a not-to-friendly visit from our friends at the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The final day was what my uncles and grandpa used to refer to as a “Blue Bird Day”, that is, the day after several days of rain in which there is a cool breeze and almost entirely clear skies. That is exactly what Tuesday May 31, 2005 was like in Northwest Ontario.

After our less then favorable visit from our Canadian friends the day before, I was not in high spirits and considered skipping fishing this day and instead staying back at camp to pack up as we were pulling out for the journey home around 2:00. Steve convinced me to fish that day and I paired up with the legendary “Master Fish Netter” Tim Pelton, at least that is his nickname now…

Anyone who has fished with Tim knows two things. First, you never know what beer the fish are biting on, so there is an assortment of beer in the boat, this being the last day (and because the previous day was one for the books around the campfire…starting around 2:00 in the afternoon), beer was replaced with water. For those curious, this fish bit on Dasani water.

The second thing you know about Tim is his undying fascination with the lure known as the bottom-bouncer. Since I was Captaining the boat and was still in a ho-hum mood, I decided to play around. I made my own bottom bouncer out of some fishing line and several slip-shot sinkers. Tying this about a foot and a half above my jig (Yellow Body/Pink Head – Cunningham guaranteed combination), I trolled around the first place I ever fished in Canada, the Wind-Swept-Point.

After a couple of passes, I got a snag….or thought I did anyway. Low and behold, it’s a fish, and not just any fish, THE fish. Tim and I did everything we could to loose this fish. The net was in the bottom of the boat…under the tackle boxes, I was standing, the boat was rocking…the picture of safety in the unforgiving wilderness!. The fish made several runs testing my top of the line Wal-Mart $25 fishing tackle before heading under the boat. Even that didn’t allow him to get away. Being the expert fisherman Tim is, he coached me, explained his plan for netting the fish and I brought the fish back to the boat for the 4th time, the moment of truth. The fish surfaced, and we could see the fishing line (no leader) across the fish’s teeth. With one swoop, Tim netted the fish and hoisted it into the boat. After a couple of seconds of silence, we started hooting and hollering for Steve and Mark Wanous to come over, they were fishing across on the other shore. We took pictures and measurements and were able to release the fish to be caught another day!

After the excitement, Tim and a much happier Chris moved to the “Second Shoreline Going South”, which is the name we have given to the second shoreline going south. Creative, huh?

I was talking to Tim when I realized I was still fishing with the same jig I had caught the Northern on. I wanted to save the jig for what was sure to be the centerpiece of any fireplace I owned the rest of my life. Suddenly, I had a snag and in my panic, dropped my rod and reel into the water. I watched it slowly sink out of sight.

Never a team to give up, Tim used the oars to maneuver the boat while I started “dredging” for my fishing pole with the anchor. After several attempts I was about to give up. I tried one more time and up came my neon green line. Within a few minutes the pole, reel and jig were back in the boat. That jig is, to this day, hanging in the mouth of the reproduced Northern, which is on the fireplace, reminding me of that incredibly fun day in Northwest Ontario!

For Christmas, 2006, my Mother and Father in law, Steve and Linda gave me this beautiful reproduction of the fish, which, as predicted, will be the centerpiece of this and future fireplaces!

40 – Inch, 20 – Pound Northern Pike caught May 31, 2005 – Northwest Ontario

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