Lately, Grandpa Rae's fishing stories have all been about The One That Got Away, so I realized he was in need of a good day on the water.
He's always been more of a summer-time fisherman and would never expect to go fishing this time of year, so a surprise fishing trip was pretty easy to pull off.
I enlisted the help of my dad and friend Joe of PB & J Charters. I've fished with Joe several times, both on open water and ice. He's kind of a big deal and knows how to get into some serious walleye. Additionally, he has a really nice, fully rigged, heated, comfortable and very fishable boat -- perfect for my grandpa who is 78.
We baited the hook for the surprise when my dad asked my grandpa to join him on an early morning road trip. Grandpa loves any sort of outing, so he didn't even ask questions, he just agreed to go. They made plans to hit Tim Hortons first,
But when I walked into Tim Hortons on the appointed day, Grandpa was surprised to see me.
"You ready to go fishing?" I asked.
He laughed, thinking I was kidding.
"I forgot my fishing pole," he said, still not taking me seriously.
"We have you covered," I said.
Dad assured him that I wasn't kidding and Grandpa was finally convinced when Dad revealed the warm clothing he'd hidden in the truck the night before.
As it sunk in, we could see Grandpa was so excited and surprised! The look on his face was priceless.
We met up with Joe and headed out onto Bay Of Quinte, having to break our way out of an iced-in harbor -- extreme walleye hunters! My dad and I agreed to let Grandpa land every fish that bit, and I knew Joe would show him a good day on the water.
After landing his first walleye of the day, Grandpa was thrilled, saying his day was already made -- the 7-pounder was his personal best!
His eyes were glued to the rods after that, and he was in awe of the electronics, line counters, planer boards, etc. Things have definitely changed since he began fishing!
We were trolling 20-pound PowerPro line on several rods, including my 8-foot Shimano TDR rod, which I pair with a Shimano 300LC Tekota reel. We were running Reef Runners back about 120 feet on Offshore Tackle inline planer boards.
Just when he thought things couldn't get any better, Grandpa landed walleye #2, a 9.1-pounder -- a new new personal best! But that was just the start of it. Fish #3 weighed in at 10.4 pounds, erasing the previous personal bests. Fish #4 weighed in at about 5 pounds. Fish #5 was 8.1 pounds!
The first few hits were hard and it was very obviously we had fish on -- drag clicking and the boards going off in their own direction! A couple hits were light -- just a slight click of the drag and twitch of the board.
Grandpa was having the best day! He lost a few fish, but was so happy with every fish caught. He beat his personal best three times before landing a real hawg. This last fish was the big one! Joe grabbed the scale and we guessed the weight before seeing the numbers. Then I snuck a look and broadcast the result:
Each fish Grandpa caught was solid and put up a good fight, coming in steady then starting in with agressive headshakes as they got closer to the boat.The smaller fish put up better fights, but the big 12-pounder held it's own!
Ashley Rae was introduced to fishing at age 5 by a family friend. In 2008, she fished her very first tournament, the local Kiwanis Walleye World Walleye Derby. In 2009, she won World Fishing Network's Adopt an Angler online contest. Her latest obsession is kayak angling. She blogs regularly at www.shelovestofish.com.