Gotta Love Surprises When Fishing
by: David Coulson 9/6/2012
One of the reasons I enjoy fishing so much is its diversity, even limiting myself strictly to fly fishing, the number of techniques, approaches, and species that can be caught is limitless. And then there is always the “surprise” factor; catching the unexpected fish, that is what occurred big time last night. But I get ahead of myself.
A few weeks ago I blew out the bladder in my float tube when I left it inflated in the car. So I requested a local shop to order me in a new set of bladders. Having not heard from them I swung by last night only to find they hadn’t ordered them because they’re extremely expensive and wanted to check with me first. OK, but why hadn’t they called. The excuse, the phone number they had on file was no longer active. True. But they know I’m the State Editor for FishExplorer.com and that I have a weekly column in the Coloradoan that lists my contact information. Needless to say, I was mildly disappointed by their “lack of effort.” So I’m still a week or so out of float tubing.
The bright side to not having a tube is I’ve reacquainted myself with the kayak and shore fishing. So after leaving the shop, I headed north to Douglas to put in a couple hours wading wet and casting a floating line in hopes of catching a few bass, crappie, perch, and bluegill, much as I had a couple weeks ago.
I was pleased to see the water levels haven’t dropped further, so the boat ramp remains marginally useful. Further the reservoir was essentially free of anglers. Two fishing when I showed, and ultimately we were joined by a solo boat and a couple more shore fishers. Even better we were all spread out, giving us each our own water to ply our efforts on.
Originally I had planned to wade the south end, but having the dike essentially to myself was too much of a temptation. So I rigged for crappie/blue gill and went to work. The initial results were less than I’d hope for, a perch smaller than my larger clouser, a bluegill and a few decent crappies. Then the fates presented me with gifts.
Casting somewhat parallel to the shore and with a fairly quick retrieve (to avoid snagging in a couple/three feet of water), I got a massive hit. No mistaking this one for bottom or for a smaller fish. Nope, the rod tried to leave my hand and the line quickly moved to deeper water. My first instinct was carp on, but it turned too quickly. Maybe a bass? No the fish was too heavy and it wasn’t a dynamic enough a fight. This fish was dogging me. Uhm, a nice catfish, but if it was, it was a slacker. It wasn’t until the fish neared the surface I realized I had a massive walleye. Totally unexpected on my part, give the warm water temperatures and how shallow I was fishing.
That was gift one. The second was there was a nearby angler willing to take a quick snapshot of me and my prize before turning her back for someone else to enjoy. The fates have indeed been kind as of late by rewarding my shore bound fishing handsomely.
Yep, that’s why fishing is so much fun, the unexpected!
A 30 to 31 inch walleye from Douglas
Blog content © David Coulson
Coloradomrg, CO 9/6/2012 11:18:44 AM
I recently was surprised by some 'eyes, but nothing that nice! Very nice fish!
ObsessedFisherman, CO 9/6/2012 12:23:41 PM
nice fish Dave right on! that is why I fish you just never know
m.co, CO 9/6/2012 1:35:08 PM
With all due respect, why not keep that fish..?You mangled it..seems like the pictures are the most important thing on this site.. c & r is useless when the fish is gill held,dropped in the mud,and all the other things people do to get their bragging rights..I'll probably get removed for voicing an opinion that is not popular with the host..but had to say it..if one wants be be c&r..leave the fish in the water while you unhook it..especially in these hot conditions..I love to eat fish,and I kill em..but if I'm releasing I go without a picture and focus on making sure that fish is alive..as many half dead pictures seen on this site, many could follow this advice,and save a few fish for everyone.. Especially the older guys on here..what are you teaching the kids?
dmccull2000, CO 9/6/2012 1:48:42 PM
What an amazing eye! Love it. If I remember correctly, you have an outcast fish cat. Not sure if you know this, but the bladders are warrantied for 5 years. I called them up (800.966.0976) and they have great customer service. They sent me new bladders with 3 business days, no questions asked. Again, congrats in an amazing eye!
Coyute, CO 9/6/2012 2:18:13 PM
I bet that fish swam away just fine. Looks like his fingers are under the gill plate and not in the gills. However, it does peeve me when I see pictures of "CPR" fish (bass especially) lying in the dirt or held improperly. However, it peeves me more when people eat a trophy fish instead of letting it swim. A lot of folks on here seem more concerned that others know they caught a fish than catching a fish in the first place. And we all know that Coulson likes to blow his own horn at times. :P As far as the bladders, I doubt obvious neglect or carelessness are covered by Outcast's warranty but it's worth a shot.
Coyute, CO 9/6/2012 2:20:47 PM
and btw, do the terms "with all do respect" and "with all respect" have different meanings? lol Maybe it should be "with all due respect?"
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO 9/6/2012 2:48:49 PM
I don't disagree with the concerns on the release and rightfully so. I did not remove the fish from the water until just before the shot, and I did my best to grab only the gill cover. The fish swam off with power ( I held the tail light until it pulled free). Did it live, maybe. Die, maybe. But she never surfaced that hour I was there beyond her release. I do hope she survived. I do admit to "blowing my own horn" and didn't resist the temptation of photograph. Let's face it how many 30 plus inch walleye does a person catch in a life time and the temption to document it exceeded my better judgement. And trust had she bellied up while I was there, she would have become table fodder. But I figured it was better to hope she survived for someone else to catch than insure she didn't, even though I admittedly put her at risk for my ego.
brookieflyfisher, CO 9/6/2012 2:52:43 PM
IceFishingFool, CO 9/6/2012 3:11:06 PM
Nice surprise there Dave, Those kind of fish, are not the norm, and when your at the right place, at the right time, with an acceptable offering, a catch is make. Thats why its called fishing. Well done.
Browns Hunter, CO 9/6/2012 5:20:25 PM
That's a great Master Angler Walleye, Dave! Get that big gal into the contest.
Shoot. Got my hopes all up about what your unexpected surprise was! A few years ago, came around the bend in the river and saw some interesting "wild" life!
Coyute, CO 9/6/2012 6:19:13 PM
Nice catch Dave. :)
JKaboom, CO 9/6/2012 6:33:42 PM
Nice story, pic, and fish - I'm glad you're human too LOL :)
jerussell1980, CO 9/6/2012 7:53:51 PM
Nice Fish. That Eye is a once maybe twice in a lifetime fish. Not only do I not have any beef with an experienced, dedicated fisherman getting a picture, and trusting that you know what you are doing. I applaud your humanity that lets all of us enjoy your catch with you. Keep it up. I caught a hog once, and you bet I got a pic. She swam away just fine too.
FISHRANGLER, CO 9/7/2012 7:51:39 AM
Tiny Stevens, CO 9/10/2012 1:08:57 AM
Great job Dave! Was that a pb walleye for you? Its amazing to me sometimes at what a big predator fish like that will eat!