Morning, while it came fast, posed little in the way of a challenge to this bunch. Everyone was eager to rise and shine after the previous evening’s adventure. Our research, consisting of online reviews, past experience, and the general word on the street had this outfitter, Jerry Lee, among the best; as close to a guarantee as one can find in these parts. We arrived at our appointed time, exchanged salutations, and climbed aboard the “Sea Screw” with Capt. Jerry Lee and his deck hand/first mate Trevor. We found that now-familiar path through Pere Marquette Lake and out through the pier heads to Lake Michigan.
We started north out of the gate where Jerry has been successful in previous days. Obviously, we were hoping for a morning bite the likes of which would rival the previous evening’s action. And it certainly tried to.
Once all 14 lines were out, it did not take long at all to start hooking up. Like the day before, the back of the boat kept pretty busy for a spell as we cycled through our turns.
With a 4 man crew, we had a specific order we stayed in all weekend, so that whoever was next in the rotation was at the ready – when the rods go, you have to move quickly, and once the man in front of you hooks up and takes a rod, you are up to bat, and then the next guy – on deck – needs to be on his game. Fish were lost by not being ready, and having this lined out up front makes life much easier AND keeps the captain from getting too irate.
The morning bite came in two distinct spurts. This resulted in 8 nice Kings – including the big-fish-of-the-weekend, a 23-25 lb King that Nick finally convinced to join us, and another bonus Coho, just to add a little variety to the cooler.
The second half of the morning was a bit more challenging. We found ourselves running the same unproductive lines. While we admittedly know no more about salmon fishing than what we’d learned the two days prior, we do know that when there are no marks, no bites, nothing happening, you move and you find fish. I think in our minds we would have been chasing more productive water at this point, changing the pattern up some. This second half of the morning felt a little lackadaisical, a nonchalant effort that left us all feeling a bit disappointed.
Now, don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with catching 9 very large and tasty salmon, 7 of which were in that same weight class we experienced the night before; it’s what came off as a lack of effort to keep things moving. We were not ready to give up, and we felt as though we had done just that. Perhaps it is the price we all paid for coming in with such high expectations… for tasting the thrill of the chase – and getting greedy for more?
It did not take long, a day or two, maybe… for it to sink in – for those <expectations> to fade away, and to realize that I just went on my first salmon trip. I caught my first, followed by many more Chinooks & Cohos. I was fortunate enough to do this during a year where there was a well-above average weight class. I caught some of the biggest fish of my life – and they were all like that. Nothing BUT really big fish.
So, yeah. Don’t feel too bad for us not getting our limits; in the end, we don’t. We enjoyed some classic great lakes salmon fishing. A new place, new friends, a new experience altogether. Mix with that a couple of picturesque sunrises, their perfection challenged only by their counterparts at dusk, and the sound of screaming reels haunting our dreams for a week after, and you find what lies at the very heart of it all for men such as we are.