Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A Weekend to Remember Part 1

With three free days and the need to get away for a while, my wife and I planned a few fishing trips a good distance from home. The first was to the Whitemud River in hopes of catching some monster sized Fresh Water Drum. We invited a friend along for the day trip who was also interested in the pursuit and possibility of beating his personal best.

After a drive that truly felt longer than it was ( I could hear my childhood self ask constantly "are we there yet?", we had finally made it to a river I had wanted to fish for a few years now. Folks I knew had fished it before and had done pretty well with steady action and almost always a handful of trophies landed. We couldn't get our lines in the water fast enough. It was a very peaceful morning, clear blue skies with a slight breeze, a dozen pelicans and a few pairs of snow geese flying by over head. I played net boy for the first little while as my wife and Frodo were hammering the drum, they each got one over 24 inches before I could get a line in the water. After about forty five minutes had passed, a few more people showed up to fish the small one hundred foot section of shore we had found and luckily they all seemed decent.

The bites were constant and a lot of the smaller ones were hammering the offerings, we each tried different methods; casting and drifting jigs along the bottom tipped with night crawlers or minnows, bottom rigs, slip float drifting and casting cranks and spoons. A good portion of the landed drum would croak when being handled and released, we then noticed that we could hear some croaking in the water near by.

While casting a Len Thompson 5 of Diamonds, I hooked into and began fighting a really heavy fish, the weight on the end of the line felt like nothing else I had felt so far. After a bit of a fight and a huge head shake, my 17 lbs line snapped and the fish and lure were gone. I tied on another spoon in hopes of another big fish and continued casting with out a bite for over fifteen minutes. I had made up my mind to change lures and on the last cast I got a hit. It didn't feel as heavy, but fought with a lot of strength, going on multiple runs before we saw it. Eventually it showed itself to be a roughly two foot channel cat with the treble of the spoon clearly in its mouth.

It was nearing 11 a.m. and between the three of us we had landed well over 100 drum. A lot of the 8 to 20 inchers were caught on night crawlers or minnows, but we wanted the bigger ones and kept trying different lures and bait combos. I was casting and retrieving a 3 inch Trigger X minnow when I finally had another chance at a monster fresh water drum. The strike from the fish was light but I knew it happened and set the hook, the fish took a big run off the hop. The line peeling off my reel let my wife know to reel in and get the net. After getting the upper hand in the battle and the fish close enough to shore it was clear she was well over 24 inches. I did my best to keep cool and got it within netting range and like a pro, my wife scooped her up. It measured out at 28 inches on the nose and was my personal best, we took a few photos and after a brief revival in the shallows, she was on her way. I couldn't have been happier!

The bite began to slow down around lunch time and we began contemplating making a move. As we debated our options something took Frodos bait and he set the hook. It was clear right off the bat that whatever he was fighting was a good size and I reeled in and hustled over with the net. After a few good runs and a missed netting attempt we got her to shore. The thing was just huge, 29.5 inches, droopy tired eyes and shoulders that would give a walleye the same size a run for its money. He had toppled his personal best from earlier in the day by 2 inches and I'm sure a few pounds. The two guys fishing near by shared in the celebration as we snapped a few pics and sent her back.

After another hour of fishing and a couple handfuls of drum we decided to pack up and try a different spot.

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