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