Saturday, August 15, 2009
Richards Lake, and the frustration (for me) begins
Andy's 42" pike from Richards Lake
Day 2 of fishing found our group of 4 flying out to Richards Lake. It's sort of an interesting concept to fly out to a different lake when you are on an enormous arm of the 9th largest lake in North America. But, Andy and I have fished Richards before and have both taken our Personal Bests on that trip (Andy's is 46-1/2"; mine is 46") We both consider Richards to be a "small-ish" lake, but everything changes due the perspective you have up north. When we were on the lake this past trip, we figured, based on width and length estimates, that the lake is around 7,500 acres. Plus - the only time it gets anglers is when Cliff flies groups in from his camp. It has extensive weedbeds in the lake - 2 rivers feed into it. It has a terrific population of pike, some of which are very big. It also has whitefish and walleye.
The weather was nice for the short (20 minute) flight on the Otter. We were dropped off, along with our guides, and en route to the weedbeds. The boats at the fly-out lakes are a bit smaller than the ones at camp but more than adequate. We got to our first weedbeds and started in. Billy and Jim started catching fish right away. Andy got one, and I missed one - a perfect start. Then - i went cold. I missed hits. I didn't get any hits. And, all the while, I watched everyone else catch fish. My reel broke - the sideplate of a new Abu Garcia Revo Winch fell off on a cast and fell into the lake. I was so pissed off I couldn't even see! Everyone was on a jerkbait bite. Jim seemed to be hooked up everytime I looked over at their boat. I knew the bait he was throwing, watched his retrieve to see if there was something different than what I was doing, and proceeded to duplicate it , and get next to nothing.
Billy's 44" pike
I don't want this to sound like I'm complaining, but the frustration I was experiencing was unlike anything I've ever felt. I've been in situations where I've been outfished but never really cared, even in tournaments. This, however, was terrible. I was on my favorite numbers / size pike lake in the world, everyone around me was catching fish, and I couldn't buy a hit. When I did get a hit - I'd miss the fish. It was the toughest morning on a great lake in my life. By lunch, I had landed 6 fish, nothing of any size. Andy had a 42-1/2" to take big fish of the morning.
Jim's 41" pike
Shore lunch has a way of making a person forget about everything that bothers them, even if it just happened that morning. I may be the first person to write about the therapeutic qualities of a shorelunch of fried pike, potatoes, onions, and beans, but my research shows a 100% success rate of getting people out of their morning funk!!
PM brought more fish - I even got a few. But nothing of size for me. Billy and Jim got a double-header of 44" (Billy - new PB) and 41" (Jimmy - new PB) while I watched and tried not to get bummed about my lack of success. I really DO love it when the people with me catch fish, especially big fish. I just like to catch SOMETHING while I watch them take pictures all day of their trophies!
We ended up catching around 135 pike on our fly-out on Monday. Not a bad day by any means, but a little low on the historical data for Richards. We (not that I had anything to do with it) got 3 over 40" that day. I still love Richards Lake but, on Monday, it didn't like me.
Oh yeah - we had an ongoing bet on this trip. Andy and I would add the lengths of our best 2 pike and Billy and Jim would do the same. Longest total wins for the day. Day 1: me and Andy - 68"; Billy / Jim - 80". We got smoked. Day 2 on Richards - Team Billy / Jim - 85". Team Joe / Andy - 74". Waxed again.