Shannon and I did a float down the Huron river mid-July. It was a section that we frequent often but we gained access through a small creek for the first time. We got into some good fish right in the creek. Shannon caught a nice Pike, about 30” and I landed an 18” smallie among others. I was out in front when I came to where the creek met the river. It meets at the beginning of an island. I decided to cast across into the far side and bring my Whopper Plopper across the islands push waters. It was met with a devastating strike and a serious fight to follow. I knew it was big and the only glimpse of the fish I got was when it jumped and shook the bait. I knew at that moment that the fish I was fighting was as big or bigger than my personal best……..
Fast forward 4 days.
I find out that my materials weren’t going to be on my job the next day. With that and the image of big bertha shaking my hooks haunting me I decided it would be a good time to find a buddy and hit the river. I asked if anyone was interested, but no one could make it. The next morning the weather wasn’t great for anyone wanting to use the water for just recreational use but for fishing it would be perfect. Figured I could do this on my own. Roughly a 5-mile float and a 4.7-mile shuttle. Yank the tools from the truck hastily toss some fishing gear in and off I went.
I get to the launch and unload my Liska, Jkrate, and the rest of my rods and gear. I used the cable locks I use to keep the kayak and my bike on the trailer to lock my kayak and Jkrate to a park bench. I was able to shove my water shoes and pfd into the front hatch along with my drinks and snacks. Found some bushes to stash all my rods in. Jumped in the truck and drove to the take out where I realized I forgot my hawg trough. So, I strapped the trough to my bike, jumped on and started my ride. Now remember rivers flow down hill so the bike ride is always up hill.
After just under a 20-minute ride I show up to find all of my stuff and the lot still empty. Unlocked the Liska and locked up the bike in its place. Start rigging the boat and noticed I had left the drag chains in my truck. Dilemma do I ride another 40 minutes to get the drag chains? Nope, time to improvise. I take the larger of my two cable locks and wind it up, clip it on my anchor rope and off I go. Had the river to myself for about an hour. Landed countless fish including a handful of 17”, and a couple 18” smallies. Then a pack of about 30 preteen kids come by banging on the sides of their kayaks. The bite slowed tremendously on the back side of that group. However, they made tons of stops. We played leap frog for the rest of the trip.
I did catch a bunch of good fish that day, a big map turtle, and a nice pike that slid under my seat and beat me up. Never saw big Bertha, but I know she’s still there. Had a nice day soaking in nature it just took me a little work out to get to it!
– Jeremy Crowe