The weird story of two walleyes

By Larry Dablemont, Contributing Columnist
Posted 3/2/22

I will swear with both hands on two bibles that this is the truth, but heck, I wouldn’t blame you for not believing it. It was the first week of March maybe a half dozen years ago when three of …

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The weird story of two walleyes

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I will swear with both hands on two bibles that this is the truth, but heck, I wouldn’t blame you for not believing it. It was the first week of March maybe a half dozen years ago when three of us were fishing up a river where white bass run in the spring. It was above a reservoir, and in late February and most of March, walleye came up the river too.

What made it an unusual situation was that smallmouth bass, about that time of year, moved slowly, bit by bit up that river, in a 5 or 6 mile stretch of water, and there were a lot of them, good chunky brown bass that fought hard and made a fishing trip exciting when you found them. There were smaller male white bass with them and a couple of times that day, using that special little 4 inch minnow lure I would catch two fish at once. It was always a smallmouth that would take it, then he’d be swarmed by the white bass and one of them would get the other treble hook.

Later in the afternoon, one of my fishing partners, fishing a longer, multi-colored suspending rogue about 6 inches long hooked a big fat walleye and landed it. It was beauty about 6 pounds. Even so, I kept fishing that black and white Rapala topwater minnow, jerking it down to run about two feet under the water, nailing smallmouth that would often be better than two pounds. On my light-action spinning rig they’d bend that rod and strain the six-pound line.

And then all at once, something came up from the depths and just took it with him. He fought a good while and I could see it was a nice walleye, I think between four and five pounds. The medium light rod and six pound line should have handled him just fine, but I assume there was a nick or weak place in the monofilament near where I had tied it on. I have mentioned often that a fisherman who is hooking quite a few fish should retie the lure every now and then, but, like the old boy in the pool hall who came in limping with a gravel in his boot, and replied that he hadn’t removed it because “I jest ain’t had the time”, I used the same excuse.

So I watched my line snap and the hefty walleye dive for the bottom, gone and happy about it, I presume. Complaining and tying on a similar lure as I did, I just never figured it would work as well, and I was right. We just drifted down the river and while my fishing partners kept catching fish, I wasn’t. Up ‘til now, this story may be a little boring, but from here on out, you’ll have to believe what is hard to picture. My two fishing partners saw it happen and will vouch for me.

Thirty minutes and a couple hundred yards below the walleye that took my lure, I cast into some swirling current and reeled back, on the rear hooks of the new lure I had tied on, the lure that the walleye had broken off, and somehow found a way to shed. Now folks, if that had been the end of the story that would have been enough to make it a good one. But of course, as my outlook brightened and all three of us marveled at the fact that something like that had happened, I followed my own advice, cutting the last three feet of line from my reel, and tying that old dependable lure I thought I would never see again. 

And as we drifted down into a stretch of dark water below a high shade-the-river bluff, a fish engulfed it out in deep water between the bank and the bluff, and right quick I knew he wasn’t a bass and it was big and it was a walleye. Amazingly she was just nearly identical in size to the one that broke my line an hour or so before. It was one of those fish you might tell everyone weighed five pounds but really wouldn’t quite make it.

You can see the picture of that fish on my BlogSpot and judge for yourself. Several of that day’s photos can be seen at www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com But pictures never really tell the story, they can exaggerate things a little bit. But those who know me well know that I am not one to exaggerate unless it is a rare case where I am forced to. And that trip isn’t one of them. It happened just as I have written it… the day the river gave me back my lure and a walleye maybe just a little bit bigger than the one who first took it away!

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