A little preface for you all. Steve Garbowicz is my father in-law. So what does that mean to me as the owner of Custom Fishing LLC? That means when you own a fishing company and you go on a fishing trip with the in-laws they at least halfway expect you will catch fish and perhaps the biggest fish. Well on this trip to the great Upper Peninsula of Michigan I did exactly that. I caught the biggest fish of the day. Most people would have been proud of such an accomplishment and for just 1 second I was proud. However, I was fishing with a family of anglers (my wife included) who can fish with the best of them. I mean they are true cheese heads with the outdoors in their blood, so this through and through New England boy had a lot to prove. Let's just say, and as you will read, I still have a long way to go...
The following article is written from "my" perspective. Enjoy!
Here I am sitting under an azure blue sky filled with puffy white clouds, a light breeze stirring the air, all the while sitting in a boat on a large lake in Northern Michigan. With me was my beautiful wife, my in-laws, friends all being led and directed by a wizened old man of the lake. We were all pursing the wily walleye, the favored fish of the North.
As always, the day started with my beautiful wife catching fish after fish…while I watched occasionally tormented by a bite and small walleye on an even smaller rock bass. Mind you we were all using the same fishing techniques, slip bobber rigs and leeches for bait.
Suddenly the peace and quiet was disturbed by my beautiful wife getting a bite and by the bend of her rod, the whine of her drag on her reel, this might be a large fish of sorts. The battle wore on, the fish tugging mightily, my beautiful wife reeling for all her might. All of a sudden with big splashes, the fish was in the net. It was the biggest walleye any of us had caught. My beautiful wife was grinning ear to ear and her smile and the 18” walleye filled the picture frame.
Quickly, my beautiful wife reminded me of her great fishing prowess and my lack thereof. You see, when fishing with my beautiful wife numbers of fish and size of fish go hand and hand with her great fishing skills. I on the other hand am left with tangled lines, lost hooks and missed opportunities. When the hoopla settled down, together with the degradation of my fishing skills, I sat back in my seat, soaked up more sun and watched my bobber. Occasionally, it was disturbed by a little rock bass or small walleye or when really quiet, provided a dragonfly a sunny resting place. My peace only disturbed by my wife looking in the live well at her “big” fish and really gloating. This together with the further demeaning of my fishing skills.
Alas, my bobber suddenly disappeared nowhere to be seen. I reeled in the extra line furiously to remove all slack in the line. I slowly raised the rod tip and felt the bite and the fish. It felt huge. I reared back on the rod and set the hook into the fish. The fight was on. The rod bent in the shape of a “U”. The drag on the reel noisily doing its job.
Suddenly, the whole party was watching my struggle. Coaching for the proper techniques of battling this leviathan came forward from my beautiful wife. My wrists and forearms struggling. Still, could not see the fish. Then I began to slowly gain on the fish. Closer and closer it came. There it was. It looked like a huge walleye in the dark tanic-stained water. The net went into the water. I deftly played the beast to the net. Just as quickly the fish was in the net and into the boat for all to admire. The laughter and howls could be heard over the lap of the waves against the side of the boat and of course so to did the commentary emanate from my beautiful wife again about my fishing skills. No picture amid the laughter. No pats on the back. No respect. The fish was gently released to the depths from which it came. I had caught a 36” white sucker. I slumped back in my seat, secretly satisfied at my catch. My beautiful wife checking her big prize walleye and grinning ear to ear. My giant sucker slowly swimming away, the biggest fish of the day.