the fish magnet's first walleye

Lower Buckhorn Lake, 2016.10.09

The Boy caught his first walleye tonight. We were out as the sun was sinking, intent on catching some of the evening's prowlers. I'd just caught a nice crappie (only about 2/3 to 3/4 the size of Friday's but dang tasty as it turned out) when the lad had a huge bend in his rod. Catching fish is second nature to this kid; he'd caught three meal-sized smallmouth bass earlier in the day, and countless smaller fish. But I could tell from the slow speed of the fight that something was up, so I had the net in the water immediately. Then the kid started to holler; "A walleye! It's a walleye! A walleye!" He kept yelling it, getting louder and louder in his excitement until his voice was bouncing off the gaudy dusty rose houses lining the water. He was absolutely over the moon.

We decided to head in, as the fish was too large for our bucket and we didn't want the thing thrashing around in the open canoe with all those teeth and its lean 19" frame. Also, The Boy had clearly been traumatized by my stupid loss of a keeper pike earlier in the year, because he kept worrying about the chance of losing the thing outright. It was well after sundown by that point, and even though the two hits meant we were likely to find more, I knew he wouldn't get more fishing done. Besides, there was famed walleye meat to eat!

The Boy's first walleye

However, during the forty minute scaling process, I found the fish curiously pliant, and when we cooked it, only the cheeks were really good. The rest of the meat had an odd mushiness to it. We ate what we could, given the great taste, but the texture put us all off the thing. I've read that warm temperatures can do that to a walleye, especially if forage is hard to find. I'm assuming that that's what caused this to happen.

Nevertheless, The Boy was elated for days. We'd finally caught an elusive walleye, the fish we'd been obsessing over for a couple of years now. And naturally, it was the Fish Magnet that landed the thing.

It really was a fine fishing day; the kid caught three nice smallmouth bass that morning. We ate like kings!

The Girl helps with the fish-touching

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