Fish On (or maybe not??)By Dave Duwe - December 1, 2014
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.
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.