This summer has been different than most. With the transition of moving up north I’ve been so busy that I’ve only been able to get on the water a couple times since Fishing Opener. Fishing and so many other things have been put on the back burner, but you know what they say, good things come to those who wait…
Over the last three months there have been a lot of changes. My husband accepted a job offer in Grand Rapids, we sold our house, I left my job, we bought a lake house, took a trip out to Montana, and in the transition, we’ve been living at my family’s cabin until we close on the new home. To say it’s been a whirlwind would be an understatement. All of these things have put much of my outdoor lifestyle activities on pause, such as fishing, prepping for deer season, my Northernmost Etsy shop, my social media content, and blogging. Now that the dust is settling, I am able to get back in the saddle and get back on track.
You may or may not remember my blog post from last year about my first solo portage on the kayak, which I also talked about on the Border Outdoors podcast episode I appeared on. Well, this weekend I returned to that lake with my dad, my step-mom, and my husband. This time, we were able to get our boats out. Whether it was the DNR declaring war on the beavers, the extremely dry weather, or a bit of both… For the first time in many years, we made it back on the little isolated lake that has been a legend to me since my childhood with the boats.
We were out there with the intention of trolling for the monster Pike that live within those legends. It didn’t take long, maybe a quarter way around the lake, I hooked into a small Pike. It was around 22 inches, so it was unimpressive, but it was a start. We kept going and a little ways further I hooked into a 27 inch Pike. We were getting warmer… Then, in the exact area my dad had always said those legendary monsters lurked, I hooked into something massive.
It felt like a log until I felt it tug back. I wasn’t ready, my drag was set too tight, and in the midst of adjusting it I made a fatal mistake. I accidentally gave the titan some slack, and then it was gone. For the better part of the next hour or so I was kicking myself for my mistake. Meanwhile, in the same spot, my dad also hooked into something massive. It fought hard and broke off one treble hook while straightening another before it got away.
At this point I was determined. I was ready to put this legendary lake to the test. My husband and I turned the boat around and cast out, trolling our way towards “Pike’s Point” as I came to call it. As we neared the spot, I told Lucas to be ready, we were in the hot spot.
I watched the tip of my rod twitch once, then nothing. I gave it a gentle tug to ensure it wasn’t a weed snag. Then, as I resumed the rod's idle position, it hit. My rod bent and I set the hook hard. This time there was a little more fight. My drag squealed here and there as I fought the fish while I reeled in. It felt strong, but not like the monster Pike I had lost earlier. My husband was reeling in, asking if I needed the net. I said I wasn’t sure. Less than a second later… The fish breached the water. In an instant I saw that it was a massive Largemouth Bass. I started screaming for my husband to get the net. I fought the Bucketmouth to the boat but couldn’t get another view of it as it swam down and deep. Finally, after what felt like minutes (but was only moments,) I got it to the surface and Lucas came in clutch with the net.
I started shaking immediately, squirming around in excitement. My dad was on his way over in his boat when I lifted up the lunker. I was shaking so bad at this point that I couldn’t remove the hook myself and needed help. Once the hook was out, I grabbed the scale. My dad and I were sure this beast was going to be over 6lbs, but the scale read 5.2lbs. Still, I wasn’t disappointed. This was the biggest Largemouth Bass I had caught since I was 12 years old which had been a 5.5lb Largemouth on a worm.
It took me 20 minutes to regain my composure as the adrenaline and excitement had me feeling like I did when I was 12 years old again. I knew this old isolated lake was something special, and while I didn’t land the coveted trophy Pike I knew resided in the lake, I caught the trophy Largemouth that I had been seeking a year earlier on the same body of water.
At the end of the day, I realized that that moment on the lake from my childhood wasn’t really about landing that lunker bass. It was the experience and the excitement of my family being there with me to cheer me on and make a memory that will last a lifetime. That feeling of accomplishment and pride would have been nowhere near as special without them there to share it with me.
So, while life has been crazy busy lately, I feel so blessed to have been able to get out and make that memory with my family. I mean, at the end of the day, that’s what all of my outdoor adventures have really been about. Family. And that will never change.