Bill O’Boyle: Fish on!

Bill O’Boyle: Fish on!

May 19—WILKES-BARRE — By the time you read this, I will have returned from my trip up north after catching lunker after lunker for several days in the cool waters of a Canadian lake.

As much as I love this job, I really would rather be fishing.

Myself and a few of my closest of friends were way up north in Canada fishing for northern pike, walleye, bass and whatever else we can find. We planned to be on the water for at least 12 hours per day, dropping live suckers off a bobber, or trying to lure those toothy fishes with all sorts of spoons, spinners, plugs and rubber worms.

Bottom line is that we all will again have the time of our lives.

It’s roughly an eight hour trip north into Ontario to seek out those walleye and pike, and we always catch fish. When I tell you it is the best of times, I am not exaggerating. From the time we leave to the time we return, this trip is filled with fun, excitement and anticipation.

So bear with me as I recant how I came to love fishing — a sport that comedian Stephen Wright once said, “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.”

Stephen Wright is so wrong on that.

When I was a kid, I always dreamed of going to Canada to fish. My neighbor across Reynolds Street in Plymouth — Alex “Ecky” Kraynack — would make an annual trip to Canada with a bunch of his fishing buddies. They would go to Sharbot Lake, a place I’ve seen signs for, but have never been to. Some day I will go over just to see that lake.

Ecky and his pals kept a journal, which I have seen and read and marveled at the tales of Canada fishing trips of decades ago. Those trips were not unlike our ventures.

Anyway, each year I would dream of one day going to Canada to catch those big fish and I finally got to Canada in the year 2000. That’s when I was asked to go with this group of fishers to a place in Quebec called Lake Kipawa.

When we got there, after a 14-hour drive, the lake looked magnificent. However, the fishing was not so magnificent. We never returned to Kipawa.

We then went to Lake Clear in Ontario, and things were much different there. We caught fish — many fish and lots of big fish. I still miss our favorite spot, the Honey Hole.

We always throw the pike back. We keep a few legal-sized walleye and devour them up there. There’s nothing better than walleye and eggs in the morning.

Then there’s the fun, which at times is non-stop during our trip. One time on the water, I was fishing with my pal when I noticed that, when he would cast out, you could see the spool on his reel. I told him that he was almost out of line, to which he responded, “That’s okay, if I catch one he won’t go far.”

There are plenty of pearls of wisdom in Canada. On another occasion, I was in a boat with two other master fishermen and on this day, one was absolutely on fire, catching fish after fish on “Original Smitty” — a stick bait, orange, black and gold in color, that pike and walleye alike were hitting on almost every cast.

As we pulled into the “Honey Hole” one morning, his line was dangling in front of me. He was facing forward, I was facing the other way. I motioned our captain that “Original Smitty” was right there and he gave me the nod. I removed the lure from the swivel and held it in my hand.

As luck would have it, as we coasted to a stop, one of the oars dropped and banged against the boat. Smitty’s owner immediately turned around and saw that his deadly lure was gone.

“Oh no,” he lamented, as I nearly burst out in laughter. The captain asked him what was wrong and he said, “It’s Smitty, he’s gone.” He asked to turn the boat around to go look for the lure because, “It floats before it sinks.” He was refused, causing him to consider diving into the 50-degree water to retrieve his prized lure.

In one last plea for help, he said, “You don’t understand, it’s Smitty.”

It was then I asked him if he was looking for this, showing him the lure in my hand. What followed cannot be printed here.

The irony is that he managed to lose Smitty an hour later when he snagged it on something.

On another day, my boat mate caught a big pike, but the line broke as he was trying to get the fish to the boat. A little later, we saw a big pike through the clear water and my boat mate saw it was the same pike that broke his line and the bog spoon was dangling from its mouth.

With precision rarely seen from any fisherman, my boat mate placed another spoon on his line and dropped it right next to the pike. As he tried to snag the other lure, the pike turned and the loop on the line caught my boat mate’s spoon and ran. He managed to get the pike to the boat, netted it and measured it and weighed it before throwing it back in the water.

That’s what fishing in Canada is all about.

And I didn’t even mention the amazing food we consume. So it’s not just about the fishing — the food, the frivolity and the fresh air are just as important and enjoyable.

“Fish on!”

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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