Getting back to the basics can be rewarding

Published 6:41 pm Saturday, May 26, 2012

This past week I was able to spend a few days up at the cabin.

My friend Mark went along with me and our plan was to get in some early season fishing.

Earlier this spring he had helped me do some work on the inside of the cabin, but the weather was so bad that we had no chance to fish. I felt bad about him not getting to fish so I had hoped to make this our priority.

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I hadn’t brought my big boat up to the cabin yet so we would have to fish out of my little 12-foot Lund with a 5.5 hp Evinrude.

The day after arriving at the cabin we set out for an area lake in search of some walleye and northern. I have fished that particular lake many times so I knew its structure fairly well.

I started out by trolling the shoreline watching the weed edges on this clear lake because I also had no depth finder. I soon got the same feeling that I used to get years ago when I fished Spider Lake without a locator and it was an awesome feeling that reminded me that I always seemed to catch my share of fish.

Fishing old school was like going back to my youth fishing with my Uncle Ben. All the time I was fishing from that little boat I kept on reflecting back on my youth and of how simple those times were.

Trolling the shoreline in that little boat was indeed like those days and I kept going back in my mind to the days of my youth and remembering some of the things Uncle Ben would tell me about fishing. Those were little fishing tips that I have used my whole life and they still hold true today.

On this particular day I had decided to try what had worked for me in past years on this lake, a black jig head with a black and yellow swirltail twister tipped with a fathead minnow.

I trolled the weed line which was comprised of last year’s pencil reeds and underwater weeds that were just starting to grow.

In about four hours I boated three northern and about 10 bass which had to be released immediately because the season wasn’t to open for another week.

I caught one bass that measured 21-inches and was a real hawg in bass fishing language and, of course, I had forgotten the camera, but I had a witness so the fish can’t grow any larger when I retell the story.

I actually landed this fish while using my ultralight in search of crappies and that was really a blast.

Mark landed a bass and northern with numerous sunnies and some small crappies. We were doing only catch and release unless we found some nice crappie or a walleye or two.

The larger crappies were pretty hard to find in some of the lakes we fished this week but when we fished our little lake there was plenty of action to be had from both sunnies and crappies.

Although there were a lot of fish to be caught, for the most part, the size was small. I believe the fishing is ahead of schedule in our little lake, probably because it is a shallow and it tends to warm up faster than the deeper lakes.

The next day we headed to another favorite of mine, a little lake called Maple, and we fished it the same way, just rolling the shoreline.

This time Mark boated six northern and one walleye while I caught and released 19 northern, all this was in a three-hour span.

I couldn’t keep the northerns off my black and yellow twister again and although they weren’t monster pike it sure was a fun afternoon.

It was also fun just remembering the many hours I would spend fishing Spider or Big Sand Lakes with no fish locator, just trolling the shoreline or fishing the weed edges.

Whenever you would catch a walleye you would mark the spot by finding a particular spot along the shoreline and then I’d line it up with another to try and pinpoint the hot spot.

I can remember fishing with my wife Jean and the two boys on Big Sand and I would just line up with the point on the north end of the lake and a brown cabin farther down the shoreline, then I’d coordinate this with a spot on shore like a fallen tree. I’d guess you could say that was my version of a GPS.

Yes, in those days catching fish was always a challenge but that was just part of the fun.

It was always a good feeling when I’d put the kids and their mom on fish and we would come back to the camper with a nice stringer.

I guess it took fishing from that little boat to remind me how much fun fishing can be when you are using just the basics that I had learned over the years. I really feel that simple is better when it comes to most types of fishing and when I fish alone or with one person using that little boat it is always a good experience that I will be looking forward to again.

My son Brian and I have also fished from that boat in late fall for the last couple of years and those are fun memories that I will always cherish.

Until next time, take a little time to relax and enjoy a little fishing. It’s a great way to experience the outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

Dick Herfindahl’s column appears each Sunday in the Tribune.