Hook and bullet club gets skunked... or did they?

by Nick Wognum

The opener. The most high pressure day of fishing most people will have all year. Bringing home your limit is the goal and enough fish for dinner is the expectation. <BR><BR>But somehow those goals and expectations don’t always work as a measurement of success.<BR><BR>We checked the thermometer early Saturday morning and decided we would take our time getting on the water. The temperature was below 30 degrees, which would be really good if we were going ice fishing. <BR><BR>So when we were walking through the grocery store at around 9 a.m. and were asked, “How many fish?” our answer was zero, since we hadn’t gone out yet. By the end of the day, our answer was very similar.<BR><BR>Oh, we got out on the water and fished up and down Birch Lake most of the day, but the stringer stayed in the tackle box. That’s right. Zippo. <BR><BR>The walleyes were apparently not impressed with what we had to offer. We tried different colors in both jigs and spinners, different depths, still fishing, trolling and casting. <BR><BR>I even offered a cookie to the fish gods in hopes that our luck would change. That didn’t work either.<BR><BR>We did catch fish, mainly perch and northerns, but the walleyes could not be found. There were two other boats in our group as well and while their luck was better, everyone agreed it was slow. Between crappies and walleyes, the other two boats took 12 fish home. <BR><BR>Some would say that was a bad day on the water. Other would say it was bad luck. Some would probably say we’re lousy fishermen. <BR><BR>But you know what, we had fun anyway. Jake took over as captain of the boat and I moved to the front, manning the minnow bucket. He drove us up and down the lake and did a great job.<BR><BR>It was a clear, blue sky day and the first time we had been out on the water this year. The motor started on the fifth pull after sitting all winter and ran great. <BR><BR>We stopped at a campsite and cooked up a batch of deer polish and hot dogs over a fire for lunch. We talked and watched eagles soar above us. Other boats would move in and out of areas where we were fishing without any problems and everybody was friendly. <BR><BR>So if you judge the success of the opener by how many fish you bring home, well, that’s your opinion. I talked to plenty of guys this week who were willing to admit they had a slow opener as well. Yet, none of them said they had a rotten time. <BR><BR>There were some who struggled with motors that wouldn’t run or quit running and required a bit of rowing to get back to the landing. Yet even our rowing friends, who gave up on walleyes and switched to northern fishing weren’t complaining.<BR><BR>Kind of reminds me of the old saying, “A bad day fishing is better than a good day working.” That still rings true today. <BR><BR>We won’t judge the opener based on the number of fish caught. We’ll judge it on the time spent on the water, enjoying the great outdoors. The opener was a success.