The 2012 Mini Fishing Tournament – and the Winner Is…?

Written by on July 13, 2012 No Comments

This posting is about a fishing tournament that included me, Mark and his Georgia nephew, Terry.   The great thing is that they didn’t know they had entered my tournament and that I got to make up the rules as we went along.

To make sure the tournament started out sort of fairly, we hired fishing guide Doug Samsal on Monday to take us musky fishing on Lake St. Clair.  He had a nifty bass boat that zipped across the water to what he says are hot musky spots . . .  some days.

Terry, with Doug Samsal, the guide, in the background.

It was a lovely, sunny day and compared to my office cubicle, I got a whole lot of sun and a whole lot more exercise flinging a giant lure in search of musky.  My lure looked something like this. 

My friend for hours on the water.

The first few hours of the tournament went by flogging lures, and I have to admit that mine attracted quite a few log-shaped muskies that emerged quickly from beneath some long weeds . . . only to turn around as quickly as they came.   Finally, I got a nice tug on my line and I brought my first fish to the boat.  It was a nice smallmouth bass.  But, because we had come in search of musky, the bass was released at the boat before I was afforded a photo.
But fear not, I soon got another fish, which was also a smallmouth.  It was puny compared to the first one, but since I was now two fish up on the guys, I decided the tournament was about catching the most fish, not the largest one. 

My second smallmouth bass.

 And it’s a good thing I did, because by the end of day one, I had nabbed four smallies to Mark’s one and Terry’s one.

On day two of the tournament, we returned to Lake St. Clair and fished out of Terry’s Boston Whaler.  Near the dock, I took a moment to take in the local wildlife, which included a pied-billed grebe.

Pied-billed grebe.

As we headed out to Lake St. Clair, we stumbled upon these tough looking characters. 

Terns on a buoy.

I had fish to catch, so set the camera down and began flogging the water again.  I started out using a lure like the one I’d used on day one and sadly, had not a single  musky follow.  Instead, I caught one pike.  

Me and my northern pike.

My pike was not a large fish, it was not a musky and it was the only fish of the morning, so I switched to a tube jig.  Soon, I caught a smallmouth bass.  Tube jigs are a whole lot easier to toss than large lures, and the next thing I knew, the two guys were using jigs, too.  Mark caught one a pike, then a bass, then we had no hits for quite some time.  
Even with Mark trying hard to equal my catch, it was really hard to get stressed when the water looked like this.

Clouds reflecting on Lake St. Clair.

It was going on 2:20, and with two old dogs at home to tend to and rush-hour traffic to face, we were about to wrap things up when suddenly, we stumbled upon what must have been a school of smallies.  Terry caught his first fish of the day.

Terry with his smallmouth bass.

No sooner was that fish in the water when Terry caught another fish.  Moments later, Mark had one, too.  I caught a monster bass that got off near the boat, but soon landed one more that was puny in comparison.   Another fish came in on Mark’s line and he had another that came off before it reached the boat.  Then, as quickly as it started, the frenzy was over.  And so was our time on the water.   Day two ended with Terry at four fish; I was one fish up on Mark. 
The next day we took on Lake Hudson, which is in Lenawee County and home, supposedly, to some monster musky.  Things started out well except for the fact that we didn’t have enough gas to get all the way to Lake Hudson, and soon we were driving around downtown Jackson in search of gas that was supposed to be right off the exit.  As we were tootling along we heard this giant WUMP sound and found ourselves in a parking lot with a flat tire. 

Terry begins the first of several adjustments of the jack to remove the flat.

The really nifty thing was that the jack had to be placed on rocks and the ones nearby just happened to be part of some nice landscaping at a doctor’s office.  Borrow rocks we did and soon we had the trailer jacked up.  Then there was the matter of the spare. 

The spare, which was also flat.

 See, on the way from Georgia, the right fender on Terry’s trailer had given way and ruptured the right tire, and, well, once he got to Michigan we had fish to catch and fixing a blown spare tire would cut into important fishing time.  Turns out, the rupture on the left tire was due to the left fender on the trailer giving way, and that and our laziness meant we suddenly were without enough tires to move the trailer any further.  Fear not, however, because the friendly doctor came out of his office and didn’t care we were altering his landscaping, another man appeared out of an apartment building with a wrench that we used to assemble the jack arm, and Terry used his cell phone to find a local tire shop.  Less than an hour later, we had two new tires, had reassembled the landscaping rocks and were on our way.
Lake Hudson’s water is murky and unpleasant compared to Lake St. Clair, but we’d fished the lake on Terry’s previous visits and we had tradition to follow . . . in spite of fishing being terrible the previous two times.  The fishing started off slowly, so I took time from frothing the water with a lure to photograph this fella.

Blue heron at Lake Hudson.

Even more fascinating was this mud dauber (solitary wasp), that was guarding her nest in the latrine.  I mean, how many people will show you that kind of cool stuff?

Mud dauber on the floor guarding her nest in the background.

In the afternoon, I switched to a tube jig, and when that went untouched after an hour, I added a slab of salami on it in the hopes of catching a catfish.  And while I’d love to show you the photos of all the fish we caught at Lake Hudson, the fact is, there was only one.  And it wasn’t a musky.  It was a bass.  And Mark caught it.  Which means the tournament ended in a tie. 

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