On August 27, 2016 by daddyohunts


The river

I grew up fishing rivers.  Sure I remember family trips to one of the local lakes.  Those family events still make up some of my fondest memories fishing as a kid.  However, once I got a little older, still too young to drive, and only having been able to scrounge up enough money for a few daredevils and snells, I found ways to go fishing.  Plus, the rivers were the only thing within walking or biking distance.  So come spring and summer, my friends and I would pack some snacks and as much tackle as we could afford and head to the mighty Chippewa River on the edge of town.  The great thing was, there were three or four different bridges on the outskirts of town, so we could mix it up to try and find the hot spot or avoid the spots with the most snags.  Like I already alluded, funds were limited.

As I got little older, even with a license to drive and an old fiberglass Lund in my parents driveway (not a great decision as a sixteen year old, but it was fun), the rivers still held a special place in my heart.  By that point one of my uncles had taught me a few different river setups, which allowed me to put a few fish in the pail from time to time and save me some money from snapping lines while fishing with daredevils.  Still as I get older and my memory is constantly bombarded with new adventures, trips to Norby’s bridge and Snake Road often remind me of one of my favorite past times, river fishing.

Having moved to a place on the river, one of things I was most excited for was being able to fish the river like the good old days.  Only this time I get to share the experience with my family as I did in A New Pastime.  For awhile, my son Reese and I were making nightly trips down to the river on the south side of our house where the river is a little deeper in hopes of getting into some walleyes.   As much as we tried, cast after cast only resulted in catfish and gold eyes.  It was still a lot of fun, but according to Reese, if they aren’t going in the bucket, then we weren’t really catching anything.

One day at work I was talking fishing with a friend of mine, and he was telling me a story about how he had recently pulled a 12-pound catfish out of the river using a piece of hot dog.  My mind immediately started turning, and I couldn’t wait to tell Reese.  It had been a couple of weeks since our last attempt on the river, but I knew that if I brought up fishing with hot dogs (still one of his favorite foods), it was going to be game on!  Right after work I headed over to the grocery store to pick up some of the cheapest, stinkiest, hot dogs I could find.  I can still remember the look on Reese’s face when I told him what we were going to do.  We threw some hot dogs in a Ziploc bag, grabbed the rods and marched down to the river, this time on the north side of our house where it is a little shallower.

Reese with the bait

After launching the first couple chunks of hot dog into the river for a free meal for any nearby fish, I finally figured out how to hook the hot dog and actually keep it on.  Within minutes our rod tip was bouncing.  I snatched up the rod, set the hook, and after a few turns of the reel there was nothing.  I lost him.  If you have ever seen the look your lab gives you after missing a shot on a perfectly flushed rooster then you know the look that Reese was giving me at that moment.  He wasn’t impressed, and he let me know it.  Even still, he was eager to reach back in the bag and break off another chunk of hot dog.  At that point I was definitely seeing the temptation to pop one of those dogs in his mouth, but we had only brought a couple down with us, and he knew he had to save them for the fish.  I sent another cast out to the inside edge of the river bend, and before I could even set the rod down, a tug almost stripped it from my hand.  This fish was a good one.  Reese was jumping, Matty (our dog) was splashing, and the fish was fighting.  It was mass hysteria!  After a short bout with fate, we landed the catfish ashore.  I think we were all covered in mud!  A little advice, when you are river fishing, it may be a good idea to leave your dog at the house.   We were a mess, but we had done the unthinkable.  We caught a catfish using a hot dog!  Plus, it was the biggest catfish I had ever caught!

Our catfish hole

Matty going after our fish

Reese and I with our catch

Out of all the great times and memories I have fishing rivers, this one moved to the top.  It was a great night fishing with my boy, and we learned something in the process.  Even if you don’t end up filling a bucket, you will never starve when you’re fishing with hot dogs.

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