Just a Fish

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Just a Fish

Just a Fish as told by JCU

I have a story about an incredible fish and a good friend; most of you have seen some of the pics but there was more, I was working my way through some tough times with the loss of my Sister when Dan Crooms called me and invited me along the next day to go fishing, Dan is the President of Muskies Inc Chapter 54 and knows his way around the water for most species but particularly Muskies and Pike so how can I say no, and I needed something.

As I made the trip to meet him I thought about the last conversation with my Sister just days before and her telling me where and when I should be fishing, she told me to fish the rocks a few days before or after the full moon, this coming from a woman who never caught a Muskie but loved them for what they are; so much so she never missed a stocking, a article or a banquet, they were so important to her that this would be her last conversion; as a friend of hers corrected me the day she passed away when I mentioned "Jan sure liked Muskies" she said “Janice didn’t like Muskies; she loved Muskies, loved them”.

During the drive I had a very good feeling and hoped Dan would catch her, when I arrived at the landing we made light of our chances at such a beast and Dan said he wanted to get a giant on the figure 8 with our buddy Steve’s new spinnerbait, I said you better be quick with the free spool if you do.

After about 2 hours of weeds and shoreline while discussing all the ills, banes and blessings of Minnesota Muskies, Dan said there’s a little rock reef running out here that most guys miss lets hit that, you have to keep in mind that Dan has no GPS and fishes strictly from memory, so we started casting; I just changed baits as Dan said “Oh $#!+ there she is” as I turned slowly with my rod raised over my head to cast careful not to move my body looking just in time to see a head that looked like a five gallon bucket rise on the upward rake of his figure 8 so effortlessly flaring her gills snatching the 9 inch black spinner like a tiny mayfly rising from the depths.

He set the hook back into her she rolled and dove pulling the front of his 16 foot boat around like a weather-vane on a copula; she made a run around the boat rolling and shaking; driving hard away from us; the free spool button clicking and then reeling again fallowed by the drag slipping into the free spool clicking disengaging the spool masterfully working the rod and reel combination he’s known for over 15 years, I reached for the net and leaned out as far as I could for the holy grail catch as she came past us, just then I felt a bare hook against my leg; knowing it had went through my jeans I shook my knee to free the Believer from the carpet so I could carry it with around the boat; instead miraculously the hook actually fell out of my pants back in its rightful spot on the bunk. As she rushed at us at an angle I laid the net out in front of her, she saw the it and bucked back hard shaking her head out of the water looking for full reverse, I pulled back then reached out again with her making a rush straight into the net as I balanced on one leg like a overfed ballerina.

We got her up to the boat very green with her head in the bottom of the net and a 3 foot column of white water foam drenching us, she calmed and we had the hooks out in a few seconds, then she buried her head back to the bottom, so I reached down and grabbed her jaw that’s when I knew she was special; it felt like grabbing a 1 inch pipe. I asked Dan if he was ready for this he said “I’ve been waiting 22 years for this moment”, as he raised her up I got some quick pictures and he gently set her back, we grabbed the stick and measured her at a solid 55 inches in the water; the true measure of a great fish, she quickly revived and we made a few more shots of her in the water as she swam into the dreams of another angler. Dan turned and looked at me with a huge smile and said “I think we had a little help from a third person in the boat.”

Some fish are miracles and some people give back more than they’ll ever receive; then there the times when their paths cross and change the way you think and feel, Muskies are much more than “Just a fish”, they mean so much more to many of us.

Dan you are one of very few.....