When my parents separated, I was forced to have to split and go to two different houses throughout my week. My dad stayed in the house, so my mom had to go house hunting. Over the ten years mom has moved six times. It was extremely stressful, but where we are now is perfect and it is where we plan to stay.
I have always had the passion for fishing and always will. When I first found out where the new place was, I knew I would have no problem with it. The famous Apple River that runs right through Amery, runs right through my back yard. Containing small fish, big fish, and bigger fish, it was my dream, but now a reality. I always wanted to live on a body of water, always wanted to be able to go out in the morning or whenever I wanted. I could cast a few times and see what I can snag into; now I can.
My first time walking down to the water and onto the dock, I realized how awesome it was going to be. The water was a little bit deeper until it hit the bridge. It would then shallow out and become much more rapid flowing, but only being three feet deep, it was perfect. Having faster water running through the middle and small, still waters along the banks, I knew exactly where the fish would be. I studied the new area, not knowing how I could’ve missed it, to my right was something perfect and beyond that, heaven.
Down river about twenty yards was a green grassed island with a large pine tree in the center. Along the water’s edge were small shrubs. The island split the flow of the water. Going out to the island from the neighbor’s yard was a long old white raggedy bridge that has obviously been there for many years. Most of the current went to the right in the wider opening along the island, rest went to the left under the old bridge. Off our dock, I could just barely see some back water on the other side, but I had no idea how big the opening truly was.
After about two hours of thinking about it, I finally had the courage to go ask the neighbors across the river for permission to walk through their yard and out to the island. Being the negative nelly that I am, I thought for sure they were going to say no. Why would anyone let some kid that they have never met just go walk around their property? To my amazement, they said anytime I would like. When I said thank you about 16 times after receiving the answer, I walked off the front steps, hit the sidewalk, and dashed across the bridge with excitement. When I got home I didn’t even go inside to tell my mom, I went right into the garage, grabbed my rods and off I went to the old white bridge.
As I stepped down onto the new land, I walked along the bank I would always cast my hardest to try to reach before from my dock. Even though I was so anxious to cross the raggedy old bridge out to the island, I couldn’t help myself so I stopped and casted along the river’s edge. After catching a few fish just along the bank, I finally walked my way over to the bridge. That’s when I got my first look at how big the back water really was. It was about 60 yards across and 40 yards wide. Way bigger than I would have ever expected. I could tell it was deep in the middle and shallow sand along the right side where the current of the river continued. It was the definition of the perfect spot, and it was all for me.
As I approached the old white bridge, I was very intimidated by it. The owners were very old and I didn’t think that they had been walking across it for quite some time. So I didn’t know if it was safe, let alone if it would even be able to hold me. Finally getting myself to do it, I slowly took my steps across the bridge. Being the door knob I am, I stopped half way across and started bouncing up and down to see if it would still support me, and it did. From that point on I trusted the old white bridge and never doubted it again.
As I walked onto the island for the first time, I went to the center and took time to study the area carefully. I studied what side I am going to fish on and what I am going to use. I was over joyed about what I now had access to. My deep thought was broken when a huge splash shattered the glass like surface of the calm water. My first reaction was to cast quick, but then I remembered, I didn’t even have a bait tied on yet. Rustling through tackle boxes thinking what bait to use and trying to think of what could’ve made a splash like the one that had occurred. I made my decision. The Mepp’s squirrel tail spinner. I thought to myself that it had to have been a pike going for something near the surface, and if he was hungry he would take it. After getting it all tied up with a metal leader, I walked up on the most rigid dock I have ever seen. Though it looked like I would fall right through if I tried to step on it I took my chances and took a leap over a foot of water out to the half floating dock. It was half floating but I figured out the very end was actually supported off the bottom, so I decided it was good enough for me.
I decided to cast as far as I could out right in the center rather than where the fish had jumped just minutes before because I figured if he was hungry he was on the move. Not having any idea how deep it was, I decided to let it sink all the way to the bottom then start reeling and if It was in the weeds I would jerk them off and continue. About 10 cranks in, I already had a hit. He didn’t get the hook so I kept reeling. Again and again strike after strike he kept on swiping at my bait. I said to myself, “It has to be a Northern!” Finally about five feet from the dock I watched it take the bait. I set the hook so hard the fish came out of the water, but once it dipped back in, he took off like a bullet. Drag winding and rod bending I battled the pike for 10 minutes. He finally tired out and came close enough to get a good look at. He was much bigger than I had thought. After pulling him up on the rigid old dock, I got out the tape measure and the scale. 37 inches and 13 pounds, not bad for a first cast in the new territory.
This was 5 years ago and I have been fishing there until this day. I have multiple stories to tell just like this one that will always be remembered. I will have many more as long as I fish there. Whether fishing out there alone or with some friends, it will always be my favorite place on earth.