But being hooked to my line it was at the mercy of the musky that swam to within inches of the 15-inch smallmouth bass. The monster musky was seemingly eyeing it up for lunch!
It was a perfect Saturday in September. With the temperatures approaching 90-degrees my son Josh and I figured it would be a perfect day to float the Namekagon River. And that is what late August and September offer you no matter where you live ….. a last chance to get out and chase smallies in a warm free flowing river! Our plan was toss two inch torpedo surface lures into likely looking lairs. The little top water plug with a single propeller had proven to be a hot lure a year ago when we last floated the Nammy.
We also had a container of night crawlers along with us as well just in case we spotted the tell tail white tipped fins of old marble eyes on our float downstream. Namekagon walleye would make a perfect lunch for a couple of fish hungry anglers. I release smallies and eat walleyes because walleye taste to good to put back while smallies fight to hard to kill.
The crystal clear water and bright sunshine made it a perfect day to fish and float. Josh began casting while riding in the bow. He had the catbird seat while I guided the canoe from the stern. He was soon into feisty fish.
Smallmouth are most active this time of year. Going on their annual pre winter feeding binge they feast on whatever swims on the surface or under it. With the frog migration just beginning we knew that the green lures we were tossing would bring results. And what action we found!
Many anglers agree that pound per pound few fish fight like this feisty finned fanatic! And these fish were active this day. Smallie after smallie came after the top water baits. Small ones and some dandies too. But not all of the fish got what they after. For some reason smallies don’t always get the lunch they go after. Even the ones we were serving them on a silver platter.
Some would miss the lures completely. Others hit it so hard they sent the lure flying skyward like a small missile being launched from a winged fighter! Others would leave huge swirls they made when they missed. That made us nervous because the whirlpools they left behind were from the biggest bruisers. And then there are the musky of the Namekagon.
Floating over a long deep pool Josh had been watching the fish in the water below us hoping to spot a school of walleye. He saw plenty of redhorse, white suckers and hog nosed suckers but no walleye. Then we floated right over a huge musky that got our hearts pounding. Circling the canoe back upstream we found it again and got to within a foot of the big fish we estimated to go at least 20-pounds. It just wouldn’t take our offerings.
We also saw a couple of leather back turtles on bottom. Their round flat shells stood out in the clean clear water as we floated down stream.
We spotted a huge bald eagle as well. Perched regally in a half dead pine the gigantic bird was sitting over a deep pool. We saw why when we passed over a dead sucker in about three feet of water. The eagle flew a short distance downstream and then posed more for us from another dead pine. With our cameras at home we were missing out on several good photo opportunities!