This story will go down as one of the greatest fishing adventures I’ve ever had with my 82 year-old dad. It all started last June when he and I, along with several of our friends, went to Canada on our annual fishing trip.
Dad and I arrived a day earlier than the rest the guys, however, and had some time to fish oneonone before we met up with the rest of the group. We started trolling just as we left the launch and worked our way up a narrow channel that led into the main lake.
About quartermile into our trolling run, the channel made a sharp right turn and the depth dropped from about 6 to 12 feet. Just as I imagined my ’crawler bouncing down this dropoff, I noticed a slight tug on the line. When I set the hook, it felt like I was trying to move a stump. I actually thought it was a log for a moment, but then it started moving.
When I realized I had a huge walleye, I hollered at Dad to get the net, but he remained motionless in the back seat, bent over like he was tying his shoe. Something strange was obviously going on back there, but my attention was so focused on fighting the fish of a lifetime that I couldn’t really tell what it was.
Soon, the fish was close to the surface and I needed the net. Once more, I asked Dad to get it, but he continued to ignore me. By now I had the walleye at the side of the boat and couldn’t hold it there much longer. This time I must have had a little panic in my voice when I yelled for Dad to get the net. The silence from the back of the boat was broken when he snapped, “I heard you!”
Desperate to boat the fish, I had no choice but to leave my perch at the bow, run back toward Dad, grab the net and try to land the fish myself.
Once I got there, however, I could see what was going on. He was holding a big crankbait with the front hook stuck in his thumb and the back hook stuck in his sock! He was more or less frozen in that position and couldn’t move.
Knowing there wasn’t much I could do for him with a walleye on my line, I got the fish to the surface, and finally got it in the boat. We always practice catchandrelease, but I wanted a picture of this monster before I released it. Unfortunately, the only person who could take the photo was still stuck in the back seat of the boat, with his thumb attached his sock!
I have spent more than a few hours in a boat, and getting hooked isn’t that uncommon, but this one was ugly. Getting the hook out of the sock was easy; I just cut the sock. Getting it out of Dad’s thumb was another matter, though, as it was dug in clear up to the curve of the hook and blood was everywhere.
Thankfully, we managed to get the hook out of Dad without too much further injury, and he was actually able to take a quick picture of me and my prize catch.
It could have been much worse, although we were somewhat disappointed. Dad and I had joked with the other guys we were meeting that our mission was to catch a 30inch walleye before they ever arrived. This one turned out to be 29 1 /2!
Life Member Tom Slusser lives in northern Illinois and has fished the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit for 18 years. He collects antique fishing equipment and outboard motors, and encourages other anglers to do the same.