Hook and bullet club - Going fishin’

by Nick Wognum

The fishing was good on Rainy Lake, it was the getting there that was difficult.<BR><BR>Mike e-mailed me last week and asked if we could head up to Stokes Bay that weekend as he had Friday off. We would take the oldest boys with us, Jake and Mitchell.<BR><BR>A Canadian fishing trip on short notice should be thought out before anything is agreed upon, so I typed in “yes,” hit “reply” and we were set to go.<BR><BR>Of course the old Crestliner inboard was a few steps away from being ready to go at this point. For one there was no gas tank installed and the engine had not been run since last fall. <BR><BR>I figured it would start for sure and went after getting a new tank and all new gas lines installed. This was a fun task I had been putting off for some time. Well maybe fun is a little strong. <BR><BR>After much struggling and some last-minute help, the tank was in and all the hose connections were made. At this point, though, we were down to counting hours until we were supposed to be on the water.<BR><BR>That’s when the Imagesetter at the Echo decided to stop working. It seems the laser was no longer interested in doing its job. I searched high and low for a replacement and with some Internet luck, I found one in Minneapolis.<BR><BR>The owner said he had two and would be willing to sell his back-up. I said that was great and we would just need to figure out transportation. He asked where I was calling from and then told me he had a cabin on Farm Lake. That’s one of those Ely coincidences that seem to happen all too often. <BR><BR>But we still had to get the Saver, Angler, Babbitt Weekly and Ely Echo negatives printed out some way, some how.<BR><BR>I talked to the tech in New York and we kicked some ideas back and forth. I latched onto one and got the Imagesetter working on a hit-and-miss level of operation. <BR><BR>After a lot of lost film and the clock hitting 2 a.m., everything was printed out and the trip was a go. But there was no time left to put the boat in the water for a test run. <BR><BR>Surely it would run and we would be heading toward Rainy Lake in no time. But after sitting at Scott’s dock for an hour pulling spark plugs and checking electrical connections, time was the least of our problems, there was no spark.<BR><BR>We even took the boat over to a local mechanic but he couldn’t work his magic either. Plan B had to be dreamed up and implemented. We decided to go with the rental plan and found a 17-footer with a 50 horse Honda on the back. <BR><BR>We unloaded the gear out of our boat and poured it into the rental. Finally we would be on our way. Except there was a problem. With all of our gear we were too heavy and couldn’t get the boat up on the plane.<BR><BR>Back to the dock and Plan C was dreamed up and implemented. We would pay the resort to drop our gear at Kettle Falls where we could pick it up for the last short section of our trip.<BR><BR>This actually worked and we were on our way. We made it through Customs and followed the numbered buoys from Sandpoint to Namakan with only one detour. <BR><BR>The gear was loaded back in the boat and the Chevy pick-up with the “K FALLS” license plate portaged us from Namakan to Rainy. A slow trip through the channel and a right turn at Rainy and we were at Stokes Bay.<BR><BR>From there it was a nice weekend of chasing walleyes, swimming and enjoying ourselves. The boys relished the time they spent on the water, jigging and trolling, drowning leeches and worms. <BR><BR>We found fish on the humps, where the bottom of Rainy would come up from 72 feet to 10 feet in a space of 20 yards. We tried the bottom bouncers but ended up sticking with the tried and true heavy-head jigs. Orange was a hot color as was the green-orange combo. <BR><BR>Fishing was better in the evening but there was action throughout the day. We hooked a mess of bass, releasing all of them. Walleyes in the slot went on the stringer and we ended up with enough to eat and limits to bring home. <BR><BR>The trip back was thankfully uneventful. The 50 four-stroke was easy on the gas but a little louder than I expected when it ran wide open down the lake.<BR><BR>The Crestliner went to Joe’s Marine when we got back. Kevin found the problem right away, bad points. A lesson was learned here. <BR><BR>Points are often left open when the motor is turned off for the last time and the open contacts can rust over the winter. When you try to start the next year, no go. <BR><BR>The good news is most motors built after the mid-1970s don’t use points anymore and that problem doesn’t exist with electronic ignitions.<BR><BR>But we pulled off a last-minute fishing trip and in the end that was worth all of the problems and hassle we went through to get there. Time on the water (or even on the dock) is still better than time at work.