We are going fishing and don’t even have hooks, reels, rods, tackle boxes, lures, leaders, rain coats, rain pants, boots, experience and most importantly, a boat. But we are still determined to wine, dine and entertain our friends with a giant lake trout upon our return.
We shared an early cab ride to the airport. Our fearless leader was napping when we picked him up. It gradually dawned on us that he was still feeling the effects from the night before. We treated ourselves to an expensive breakfast at Eggspectations. Will made a pass for Ace at some girl sitting across the room. Dick, carrying someone else’s carryon bag, is searched. No contraband is found.
We catch the flight North to Lake Mistissini. An hour later we’re walking the streets of the “Boug.” Chibougaumau would be one of our last stops before we left civilization so we stocked up on supplies. A nine-dollar rod and reel, hooks and the like were found at Zellers. Food, wine, beer, some fine whiskey and other fishing essentials from the mall and we can be off again. We reach our destination and everyone’s getting along with everybody.
I kept a mental diary:
Day 1: Ace lands a “whopping” Vi pound walleye in pitch darkness down at the dock. It would have made for nice finger food but he releases it.
Day 2: We manage a motorboat and a canoe and drift in the wind just off the community, casting, casting, casting. It rains, the sun comes out, it rains again. We tow the canoe across from the community where we battle a lone and very feisty pike living in a weedy creek. We head home in the wind empty handed and heads downcast. Pike: 1, Fishermen 0.
Day 3: We land a big one. Our boat is worth about 5 million dollars, or at least it feels like it. We scream out on to the giant lake with a 150 horse powered, state of the art fishing boat. Perfect fishing weather. We spot a small flock of ducks. Ace is armed with a slingshot so we approach them. We get to within ten feet and they’re not taking off. Ace gets in a few shots and misses. The ducks hold their ground. Fie misses a few more times before he realizes they’re made of plastic.
The fish finder soon finds fish. We troll over the area for a while but they’re not falling for it. We speed across to another spot where we join another crew trolling. The fish finder beeps and our hooks drop.
Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’, keep them hooks a trollinnnn’. It is getting late in the afternoon and dark clouds are approaching and still no bite.
Suddenly, Dick’s rod bends. The force wakes him up from his nap. Everyone’s on their feet. Someone reaches for the net. And then, as suddenly as it came, the fish is gone. We haven’t even sat down when the Dick’s rod kicks again. Dick reels in a nice laker. After dropping it twice he finally gets it safely in the boat Everybody’s excited now. There’s actual fish down there. In a little while several more fish are caught and two or three are lost It’s a good day.
Day 4: People are starting to bicker more. “Why didn’t you wash the dishes?” “I cooked breakfast!” “Princess!” The insults fly back and forth. We finally get a boat and everybody’s friends again. “O.K. guys, group hug when we get in the boat,” and we are off for more fish and it’s looking like rain. The waves are a bit too big for our raft of a boat and it’s a bumpy ride. Half an hour later we are adrift in a sheltered spot between two islands. The scenery’s incredible in the drizzle, wind, fog and the pike are biting. But no walleye yet.
We start heading back and hit a dead end at a small bay and have to turn back into the waves. We are all soaking wet, but still we keep fishing. Finally after a few minutes of trolling near the town, Ace catches a walleye. Later, while gutting it, the fish starts to twist and turn. Dick has to beat it to death with a coffee mug over the sink. The fish is filleted, floured, fried and it’s tastiest thing we’ve had since the grilled T-bones.
We finish the trip with a poker game and I clean up. My reward for not catching a thing.