This year our annual Father / Son / Friends fishing trip took place a bit later, it was the first weekend of October. A series of scheduling conflicts left us with few choices, but we at least found a common date. We’ve fished later in the season before, and had some of the worst weather ever, but we were hoping for better…
My brother Chris and I went up on the Wednesday night and stayed at a local motel so we’d get the most out of our days off, fishing all day Thursday, Friday, Saturday and a part day on Sunday. Thursday morning started with frost on boat, and a forecast of single digit temperatures, and wind for the next 4 days coming from the north and east. The winds would be sustained at 25-30km, gusting to over 40kms. The wind was going to be bad, but the shift coming from the north and east did not bode well. On the bright side, it looked like we’d be dry!
We had a great breakfast and then headed out to the launch at Pointe au Baril, at the Bayfield Inlet. We’d be staying again at Bayfield Lodge, where we’ve bee going for over 30 years! We started fishing and fairly early on we caught a nice mid-sized pike. We were excited as we were fearful of a complete shut down in the fishing because of the wind direction, and also because it was a nice fat fish, so we knew the fall / winter feedbags were on! Had we only known how tough the fishing would be the next few days, we would have kept it! The first hour or so of the day was the calmest of the whole weekend. The next video may give you an idea of the conditions we faced, as this video was shot in a calm and protected area.
Before I type too much more, I don’t want to give the wrong impression. This trip was one of the best we’ve had in years, as far as fun and relaxation, and camaraderie. The stories you tell though are the most memorable and make the best stories, but may not reflect the whole trip. One of our goals was to have a lot of shore lunches. We were worried the wind would make it impossible to manage the fire, but we had a few “go to” spots, and had one in mind that we could relocate the fire pit to a secluded area.
We pulled up the boat, built up the fire ring and used my shore lunch box as an additional wind break. We used the flint to start the fire and then went to work prepping the potatoes, the fish, and the beans. I’ve always felt the shore lunch is perhaps the high point of any fishing trip, and this time around we had 3 amazing lunches in a row! This one was just Chris and I, enjoying some nice walleye we caught earlier this year at Brace Lake.
We kept at it the rest of the day, but then called it a bit early, with the chill setting in, low light at that time of the year, and low fish totals we decided to get ready for the following day. Friday started off with sun, and wind, and the rest of the group coming to join us. My father and eldest brother Mark were going to be up in time for lunch (second shore lunch!) and the rest of the team would join by dinner. We had a great day on the water, with each of us catching a few fish, enjoying some good laughs.
Our third day was as windy as the rest, with the wind coming out of the east, not exactly an upgrade! With the full group on the water for day three, we were optimistic of some fish, and it didn’t take long for Ed to land a series of fish that none of us could match! The highlight for the trip was our group shore lunch. We had a combination of fish from earlier trips, and a few eater Pike we managed to secure the previous days. For those of you who have been on a shore lunch, you’ll appreciate this following video, for those of you who have not, use it to justify adding it to your bucket list!
We finished that day with a great dinner, and an evening of cards, conversation and laughs. And that’s what this trip is really about. We’ve managed to catch our share of big fish over the years, but when we look back at which of the trips were our favourites, it’s about the experience and the people. That being said, the next day when the weather made a bit of a change, we couldn’t help but be a bit hopeful for a change in the action…
It’s always great to be there when someone catches their first fish, or their biggest. I was fishing the Sunday morning with my Dad, and had the pleasure of netting his personal best Northern Pike. After days of few and small fish, it didn’t take long to realize this was a big fish. It was 38 inches long, and while the shot doesn’t show it off, it was a fatty :). The cold hands and the wind burned faces were quickly forgotten when we landed and released this brute.
After lunch that day I was out for the last run with my brother Chris, and not more than 100 feet from where Dad caught his, my lure bounced off a shoal and was smoked by this fine Northern. While not as large as Dads, I’ve always believed that any Northern Pike more than 30 inches is a quality fish, and when caught in the late fall, it’s got that extra weight.
Everyone caught a few fish that last day as the weather finally started to cooperate and the winds shifted and began to calm. We pulled out the boats, packed up and headed home. There were a few more great stories, like the one where Chris and Ed got snagged, then the motor cut, and the wind bashed them on the shore while a cottager watched, but that’s for another day. One final video shows the aftermath of a truly funny scene (at least from our vantage point). We were trolling close to my Dad and Brian when we saw Brian putting up a huge fight against what we assumed was a massive fish. Only, after some time we realized that while pretty big, it wasn’t a fish. Enjoy the video and thanks for reading.