Tuesday, December 30, 2014

6 Favorite Fish from 2014

Toward the end of the year I always like looking back at favorite fishing trips, days on the water and specific fish. For the moment, I'm going focus on specific fish and what made each a favorite. And I'll just go ahead and apologize now to any extra cool fish from this year that I'm not thinking about at the moment.

Northern Minnesota Tulibee - It was neither a trophy nor a kind of fish that most anglers even target. So why was it one of my favorites? Mostly, I suppose, because I'd never caught a tulibee, and being sort of a wannabe northern woodsman during the winter, I'm intrigued by all things ice. It also was a fun catch because I marked just inches beneath the ice when I was fishing near the bottom for bluegills, so I reeled up quickly and started jigging with a very short line. It hammered the bait and just about pulled the rod out of my hand.

Green Bay Smallmouth - We didn't have scales, so I can't assign an actual weight. I'm guessing high 5s, at least, though, and it may even have outweighed a 5-11 (my biggest weighed smallmouth) that I caught from Erie about a month later. This particular fish, which came from a small Green Bay tributary, was an extra prize and very satisfying because enduring winter weather made fishing unusual tough that week. I caught it on a Get Bit Baits Crawling Tube.

Lake Pactola Lake Trout - The cool thing abut the laker was how similar it was to another lake I caught a few years ago while ice fishing on the same lake. Both days I was fishing with Tyler French on days based out of Deadwood and we were jigging over deep points, and I caught both fish on minnow-tipped Lindy Watsit Grubs!

Niagara River Brown Trout - My biggest brown ever - right around 10 pounds - and I caught in the midst of catching a gazillion jumbo smallmouths on tubes at the mouth of the Niagara River with Capt. Frank Campbell. Again, it was a Get Bit Baits Crawling Tube that did the job. That day was actually one of my favorites from last year, but I suppose that's another story for another time.

El Salto Largemouth - It was my first trip to Angler's Inn at Mexico's Lake El Salto in about15 years, and the 9-2 largemouth I caught on the first full day of the trip might have been my biggest bass since last time I was there. I've caught a few big pond bass that I haven't weighed, so I'm not sure about that, but it was sure one of the biggest in quite a few years. It was a classic El Salto fish that hit a big Power Worm fished through flooded trees. My first trip to El Salto, by the way, yielded a 10 1/2, which remains the biggest bass I've ever weighed.

Red Lake Walleye -The best walleye from my most recent trip wasn't a genuine trophy by Minnesota walleye standards -- just a good quality fish. However, I caught it from the first sleeper ice house I've ever spent a night in, and I caught just moments after arriving. I probably hadn't been fishing two minutes when the fish hit, and I was surprised to bring up a thick-bodied walleye that landed right in the middle of the Red Lake slot and therefore went right back down into the hole almost as quickly as it came out.

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