June 23, 2014 Share

Ice Bullets and Giant Fish

Recently I returned from a trip to the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods, hugged the kids, kissed my wife and headed straight to the medicine cabinet for a dose for the largest recommended dose of aspirin in the hopes of taking the edge of a killer headache.

Yea, it was one of THOSE trips.

The issue? Weather!

September trips are always a bit risky weather-wise, especially the farther north you go. But the forecast for last week looked good, and so I was looking forward to a great time looking for giant fish, specifically bass and muskie with Berkley’s Hunter Cole. Hunter is a southerner who was raised in Alabama now lives near Berkley’s headquarters in South Carolina. He’s an avid angler who loves big fish that pull hard and he hankered for a chance to fish big smallmouth.

We met in Sioux Narrows last Monday afternoon amidst a heavy wind generated by a massive cold front coming from the west. I didn’t mention to Hunter that for the four days before his arrival the lake was flat calm while temps soared into the 80s each day.

We headed for the houseboat I’d moored previously, battling waves that riled the big lake and spent the rest of the evening rigging tackle before hitting the sack early.

At daylight we awoke to a screaming wind coming from the northwest, a direction that severely limited our fishing opportunities. Plus, the temps bottomed out, dropping more than 40 degrees from the previous day. We fished until sheets of rain drove us back to the houseboat.

The weather was the same the next morning, but appeared to clear later in the afternoon. So we made a long run to a few secret lake trout holes that offered Hunter a great shot at landing his first laker ever.

We has just set up on the spot when the ice storm hit. Ice bullets pushed by wind gust 35 miles an hour or better ended our day quickly…Hunter came prepared with a face mask that I would have gladly bought.

On day three the weather did finally clear and we found good numbers of lakers to near 20 pounds, but what I will remember most (and I suspect Hunter, too), was the heavens opening up with a reminder that we are not the ones in charge.