I really need to get this off my chest. I have a problem. I am an angry net man.
I like to believe fishing with me on our trips or up at the cottage or off the dock is a pleasure. I am knowledgeable; I own a ton of gear and I am happy to provide tips to anyone who will listen. As an ex smoker there is a good chance, I have candy or gum somewhere in the vicinity but alas when a fish is on the line Bad Andrew is likely to rear his head.
I can remember the first time I ever became aware of my problem. Portage Lake, 1999 and I have hooked into a real nice musky. Brand new Shallow Raider, most expensive lure I have ever owned. Dave and I casting a shoreline, I barely engage the reel and its fish on. A nice musky and on the way to the boat it starts: Barking orders like Scotty Bowman – Dave, get the net, it’s a nice one. What do you mean there’s no net, F#%$ me, we are going to need to bring it in by hand. ARE YOU READY DAVE? THIS IS A NICE FISH. NO, NO don’t grab the line yet, she isn’t ready. SNAP, S%^&, it’s off. And that was the start. I am pretty sure Dave needed to go back for a whisky even though it was 9 AM.
It doesn’t even need to be my fish. Shekak Lake, 2016. Colin has not yet caught a walleye over 22 inches. Strolling down a productive mid-lake hump with bottom bouncers. Its been awhile since we had a fish. Colin gets a hit. His rod quickly doubles over and announces, “this one’s got some shoulders”, remains sitting, smoking his pipe (for real, a freaking pipe) and nonchalantly reels it in. I am standing, looking over his shoulder, slowly losing my mind. I go Mike Ditka on him – COLIN, THAT’S A SOLID FISH, STAND UP MAN, GIVE ME THE PIPE. Fish rolls up, I get her into the net. 25-inch walleye, his PB.
I have even yelled at myself. Cottage, 2017. My daughter and I are fishing off the dock. Huge largemouth takes a swipe at her bobber (not the worm, the actual bobber) and she hands the rod to me. I hook the bass on her rod and it I start to yell for her to get the net from the garage way too prematurely. The fish dives under the boat and SNAP, the line breaks off on the prop. Lots of swearing and all of a sudden, I hear this quiet, innocent voice of reason “Its okay Dad, we can catch him again, I saw him it was big” I honestly don’t think I shook it off for the rest of the weekend. Who am I kidding – I am in pain all over again writing this!
I like to believe that the reason behind my craziness is passion. I totally love to fish for a lot of reasons, but I must say I really enjoy the thrill of success. Could be mine, could be yours, but in the moment, I can’t seem to help myself and I turn into a lunatic.
Hopefully my boat partners past, present and future do realize the plus of my affliction. I can name at least 4 people who have caught their biggest fish while in the boat with me. No one, I mean no one, they will ever fish with will be willing to risk life and limb to net there fish quite like I am.