Ok so on Tuesday, we tried paddlefishing again. This time we decided to go out to a place call the confluence. Its where the Missouri River and the Yellowstone River meet. Its a rather big deal because these two rivers are pretty good sized. The confluence is like the “mecha” of paddlefishing. They have the weigh station there and the cleaning house and all that fun stuff. There are a TON of people there on opening weekend, and really any weekend, camping and trying their luck at fishing. But this was a Tuesday, so there were not that many people fishing so we decided to go try there. We left around 6 or so, because of school and stuff it took awhile to get out there. When we left it was 61 degrees and sunny, Excellent weather. 20 minutes later, when we arrived at the confluence, it was drizzly and cloudy. By the time we left for the day it had dropped to 48… awesome. Anyways we gave it out best shot. When we arrived someone had just hooked into one and we watched as they landed it a ways down shore from where he hooked it. You see you don’t really real in paddlefish, you more or less hold them till the current of the river pulls them close to shore and they you gaff them. He ended up pulling in around a 50-60 lb fish. Its hard to say for sure, I have not held to many of them and the are just really fat and hard to gauge, but he seemed to be around there. Never the less, he was an awesome fish and really got us excited. So we walked down the shore a ways till we found a place to fish, and began the work. Our bodies were none to pleased to be doing the motion again but after about 50th cast they stopped complaining. We found out there are a lot of snags at the confluence, twas most annoying. Everest is getting quite good at ties the paddlefish rig lol. But after another 2.5 hours of casting and talking with others fishing, we ended up with nothing to show for our efforts. Hopefully our luck will change soon! I will try and post some pictures next time of us fishing.
Alright another year of paddlefishing is upon us! For those that dont remember I did manage to get one last year, on the fifth day that I tried I managed to get my 56 lb Paddlefish! Woot, here is a picture just to remind you guys.
Alright, so the first day I got a change this year was Sunday. They changed a few regulations and Sunday is now a catch and release day. A friend and I (Everest) went out Sunday morning to try our luck. It was snowing. The high for the day was supposed to be 43, I don’t think it ever got above 38 but with a change at catching one of the biggest fish in North America we were willing to give it a go. We went out to the pump house, a fishing area where I got the one last year. Much to my surprise it was rather empty, only 4-5 other guys paddlefishing that day (I guess the weather really was crappy). We managed to get the exact same spot of caught mine. The water level was a bit higher so the nice beach wasn’t really there but it was still basically snag less so that was nice.
Anyways this was the first time Everest had ever paddlefished so I showed him how it was done. Big pole, big hook and weight, throw out, drag in, repeat. Difficult stuff I know. So then we preceded to fish. We were told that two were pulled in right before we got there so spirits were high even in the bleak winter weather like day.
Within 30 min I actually hooked into a paddlefish! The drag started ripping off the reel and I could feel the power of the fish at the end of the line. I set the pole to my hip and slowly started increasing the drag, but the fish didn’t stop. It kept pulling more and more line, and was now deep into the river and its strong current. I knew I had to somehow slow the fish otherwise it stood a good chance of spooling me. I was walking down the river bank trying to keep with the fish and trying to turn it when all of the sudden, pop… and nothing. The fish was gone… Man I almost cried. That was probably the biggest fish I have ever hooked into, and it was gone. I reeled in the line to find the hook and weight still there, she just came unhooked. There was really else I could have done. I keep thinking I could have let her run more (even though I was running out of line) or something, but alas she was gone. I sat for a while to gather my wits and strength, and for the next 4 hours Everest and I cast, over and over and over again, to no avail… Well that was Day One.
Paddlefish Diaries, Season 3