Fish On (or maybe not??)

By Dave Duwe - December 1, 2014
Everyone has caught the occasional stick bass or weed bass, but the real thrill is catching the non-native exotic species. Being a professional fishing guide for over 20 years, my clients and I have caught thousands and thousands of fish. There have been the 20 pound Northern Pike to 8 pound largemouth bass. Spending so many days on the water, I have had the opportunity to catch anything that swims and occasionally some things that don't.

Without question almost every guide trip, a client will ask what is the biggest fish I've caught. For the record, my biggest freshwater fish was a 60 lb paddle fish caught in Missouri. My southeastern Wisconsin big fish was a 20 lb Northern Pike caught on Delavan Lake. But some of my best memories and fondest stories of catches weren't fish at all. I get that everyone has caught rocks, wood, clams and weeds, but those aren't the exciting catches I'm referring to.

Most recently, I was fishing for Northern Pike on Delavan Lake with a lindy rig when my bait clicker reel started to click out as if a big fish was there. I gave it line, reeled down to set the hook, felt the weight and slowly reeled in the bait. When I got it close to the boat, I thought that it was a huge glob of weeds. I joked with my customers that the weeds looked like a Teddy Bear. Upon further review, it was. How does a Teddy Bear get in 25 ft of water?

Another notable catch this year was also caught Pike fishing. It was a real nice green plastic lawn chair. If you've never caught a lawn chair, it fights like crazy! I did release it so someone else could have the same enjoyment catching it. In reality, it would have really messed up my boat. It was covered with zebra mussels and mud.

Live bait fishing isn't the only way to catch these exotic thrillers. About two years ago, I was trolling a Bandit 300 series crankbait on Lauderdale Lakes, in Walworth County. I thought I had hooked a weed. I reeled in the crankbait and there was a pair of ladies underwear. That same day, about 10 minutes later, I hooked a plastic worm on the same crankbait. That day, I did play the lottery, I figured there was a better chance of winning the lottery than ever catching a plastic worm in 18 ft of water. However, it was not to be, hence the reason I still have to work.

Over my guiding career, I would estimate that my clients and I have caught over 30 rod and reel combos. They ranged from a 3 ft pink Barbie pole to a custom St. Croix legend. I still use several of those found rods to this day.

The best fight of any debris brought the boat was caught this year. It was a very holey steel 5 gallon bucket. That one surprised me by not breaking my rod. Like everything else in the great outdoors, it's all about the experiences and the time together with family and friends. Even though it's not a fish that you catch, think about the stories you can tell when you land your first cooler or fish net or sunglasses or antique beer can.

Author Dave Duwe
Dave Duwe
Full-time guide Dave Duwe owns and operates Dave Duwe's Guide Service, featuring the lakes of Walworth County, WI. Dave has been guiding for over 20 years and is one of Southeastern Wisconsin's best multi-species anglers. Dave is an accomplished outdoor writer and seminar speaker. He is a member of the Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Association and Walworth County Visitor Bureau. Sponsors include: Lund Boats(Jerry's Sport Service Inc.), Mercury Marine, Arkie Jigs, and Vexilar Marine Electronics, a pro-staff member of Minn-Kota trolling motors,Hummingbird graphs, Cannon downriggers, Lindy, Pure Fishing and All Terrain Tackle. For more information, please check out Dave's website www.fishlakegeneva.com .