A tale of three fishermen

A tale of three fishermen

First, a short fishin’ report: Water temp on pool 9 has broken the 40 degree mark. 42 is ‘go time’ for crazy pre-spawn walleye action. Quiet winds and a little sun and the bite will go from steady to easy.

Yesterday was open water fishin’ trip #36 for the year. Trips on Saturday & Sunday provided rare insight into the grand scheme of things. Saturday i guided 19-year-old Trey Kegebein. He was 16 the first time he jumped in my boat. Something special about that kid. Trey has a fire in his belly for fishin’: skill set, focus, determination and eyes wide open quest for knowledge.

Saturday we stayed out long beyond what he paid for–with his own hard-earned money. Trey took home a couple of truly fat pike, reporting back with belly contents :lotsa juvenile sheepshead & lotsa eggs. This reveals at least two things going forward. The pike haven’t spawned, little sheep are a major forage.

This pyramids out to deeper knowledge: find sheep and gamefish won’t be far away and baits in chrome black/blue should trigger a bite.

All the fish Trey caught came on a #BFishN tackle B3 blade bait with a7’3’MLF Avid #StCroixrod, Seviin reel spooled with 15 lb. hi-vis Sufix line & tow more subtle but critical accessories : 16-22″ of 17 lb. floro leader & a #4 snap.

My very first ‘trophy” walleye –28″–came on a Heddon Sonar blade back in 1965 on Pool 13 below the Bellevue dam. I was fishin’ out of a 16′ jon boat powered by a 10 hp Johnson. There were essentially no trolling motors of livewells back in. The Sonar was the template for the B-3 blade. Better paint, eyes, and spectacular colors made a great lure legendary.

Catch & release was an unknown concept back then. My marble-eyed 8 pounder was a trophy to me at the time. I could hardly wait to show it to my Dad. meanwhile, it was dragging behind the boat on a cord stringer with a couple other fish. My buddy and i were working the face of a wingdam. When it was time to move i told Jeffy to pull in the stringer.

He did, saying looks like your torphy ‘eye is about 4 lbs”. I turned to correct him and saw the front of a fish with guts hanging out which had been eviscerated by too short a turn with the Johnson.

I was devastated by loss of a PB and stinging truth of chop-busting by a good buddy. Scarred me for life.

Fast forward to yesterday. I canceled Sunday’s trip due to red flag wind warnings. A few days before my old pal Jesse Simpkins of St. Croix rod fame called and said he wanted to fish. Telling jesse i was already booked I set im up with Mike (Fish N Mission) Yauk, one of the most dedicated, focused River Rats I’ve ever had the pleasure to share a boat with.

I call Mike the “Ace of Blades”. The B-3 and BFishN Big Dude are what he fishes about 90% of the time. Focusing on every single cast, road @45 degrees. Tense & Intense.

Mike taught this old dawg a couple tricks on fishin’ blades. I passed this knowledge on to Trey, with a couple of personal tweaks.Sunday morning, Mike passed this knowledge on to Jesse Simpkins.

Sunday morning my eyes opened @ 06:11. Called Mike @ 06:13. He was already on the water, waiting for Jesse told him i would be there in 20 minutes. Arrived @ the launch 06:32. Mike & Jesse retrned to the ramp and picked me up.

We didn’t boat an ‘eye til 08:11. We were on fish BUT light penetration was zip. Went to a glow pattern B-3 and BOOM! Jesse simkins was wrstling with his PB sauger, 19+”.

Over 30 years earlier I put Jesse on his first ever 5 lb. LMB. We’ve had a lot of adventures since then. Meanwhile, his work at St. Croix rod, before that with Plano tackle allowed jesse to share the boat with world class anglers of many different genres.

The Bible provides absolute truth. Iron sharpens iron. It took Simpkins about 3 casts to learn blade bait fishin’ with Mike’s expert advice. Jesse ent on to put the first 4 fish in the livewell.

Here’s the point of this blog: Two critical components in becoming a better fisherman are time on the water and fishing with experienced fishermen!!!

Mike’s skills and social media expertise put him on the St. Croix pro staff a couple years ago. maybe the only reason I’m with St. Croix is possession of revealing photos of Mr. Simpkins. Nah. But this is common banter among old fishin’ buddies.

Several hours into the trip we were talking about the AVID rod’s perfection in fishing blades. Jesse said he loved Mike’s work. I said all the Best rods on earth company ever sent me was factory seconds. Told Mike I was fishin’ with a DIVA. Prompting Simpkins to tell me what i could do to myself. Could really feel the love…

Final Point. Time on the water + fishing with more experienced anglers are two of the three legs of becoming the Compleat Angler. The third is sharing your knowledge and experience with those who truly want to learn.

This is both the best and worst part of being a fishing guide. Having guys like young Trey Kegebein in my boat in my final year of working is a wonderful blessing.

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