Another year’s worth of Amisk memoriesIt’s fun to jab my partner, Dave Pac, for “not properly tipping the bourgeois” (me), and when he forgets to thread a stringer properly and loses a good pike, I hurl more invectives upon him. Dave doesn’t wear a wrist watch, but peers at the sky behind closed fists and proclaims that it is “five hands” in determining the time of day.
By: Bernie Kuntz, Outdoors, The Jamestown Sun
(Last of two parts)
It’s fun to jab my partner, Dave Pac, for “not properly tipping the bourgeois” (me), and when he forgets to thread a stringer properly and loses a good pike, I hurl more invectives upon him. Dave doesn’t wear a wrist watch, but peers at the sky behind closed fists and proclaims that it is “five hands” in determining the time of day.
When he announces that he has a big fish on, and it turns out to be a sodden tree branch, I put away the landing net and tell him he has committed a “fineable offense.” We are fishing out of T & D Amisk Cabins in Saskatchewan and have had an east wind and blustery weather to contend with most of the week.
This day, however, is glorious with sun shining, clouds drifting across the sky with a light breeze blowing. Shore birds are singing everywhere, and we have seen bald eagles, loons, grebes, gulls, cormorants, mallards, Canada geese, mergansers, terns and one time Dave thinks he saw an osprey. We are in McKenzie Bay and the fishing is good.
By midday I have a limit of four walleyes on the stringer, taken on floating Rapalas, in perch, gold, and silver patterns. Dave has a couple walleyes and some good pike on Dardevles, including the one he lost with the stringer incident.
The week passes like swirling smoke, days melding together so that I have difficulty remembering where we fished on Monday versus Thursday, unless I refer to my notes. One day we motor across the lake to the inlet of the Sturgeon-Weir River, and I hand Dave a diving Rapala while clipping a similar lure onto my snap-and-swivel. “Proven lure in this river,” I say.
Within five minutes I have a walleye in the boat, then another and another. Dave gets a heavy strike and after a spirited fight, lands and releases a 10-pound pike. Then he begins catching walleyes. Clouds float across the sky and the wind keeps blowing.
We release several walleyes, keep our limits and make ready for the run to camp in late afternoon. “Water’s going to be rough,” I say. And indeed it is. We buck waves the entire 14 miles to camp, the old Evinrude rumbling along at half throttle. But at least it’s not raining. A couple days ago we fished in rain for several hours before quitting for the day.
Every night we gorge on walleye fillets fried in peanut oil, and some nights we try Dave’s grape seed oil that he bought in Europe. I do most of the cooking; Dave cleans up afterward, taking impeccable care of my big iron camp fry pan.
On our last day we decide to try Warehouse Bay again. We fished three hours in that bay six days earlier without a strike. I quickly hook a good pike on a big Dardevle, Dave hooks fools one on a blue-and-while Rapala diver. Soon he switches to a “bobby bait” — a big musky jerk bait that he pops along the surface of the water. And every so often I hear him shout as a pike leaps out of the water and comes down on the big plug.
He hooks and releases a couple pike, and while I am casting in the opposite direction, he says, “Hey! I just had a pike come completely out of the water and land on the bait. Missed the strike, but the fish was much larger than the 10-pounder I caught and released.”
The wind continues to blow, pushing us back into the bay. Four years ago during Jake’s last hours on this lake, the water was just like this and we were in this same spot, catching walleyes and pike with abandon. I clip on the same battered red-and-yellow Rapala Husky Jerk I used that day and begin trolling out toward Hudson Bay Point. And it happens again … strike after strike … four fat walleyes in 20 minutes among several pike.
It is time to quit and call it a trip. Who knows how many walleyes we could have caught had we kept fishing? But we have had enough, and it will be a good memory to dwell upon this winter, and reason enough to come back to this wonderful place again next June.