As we begin wrapping up our final weeks of the '23 season, a lot of fish pics have come in from past two weeks of guests! Generally, fishing would be slow some afternoons, then crazy the next; the morning bite was consistently strong and those that adapted to the low water levels and fall bite were rewarded with some memorable catches. Air temps and low winds were almost too calm and mild some recent days, thus creating a fun challenge. With water levels dropping another 6 inches in the last few weeks, we are grateful to barely get in our full season. Fish have been moving deeper, and numerous fishermen reported marking fish that just wouldn't bite. But here's some of the many fish that did bite:
Nick had fished the Wabaskang some 30 years ago with his father and siblings, and now wanted to get back to those fishing roots by bringing his own kids and wife up. When your entire family is catching so many fish, its hard to know which pictures to share, so why not include them all! Sarah was very patient so Dad and Max got some early morning fishing in each day, and then the whole family would go out til sunset:
Nick and oldest son Max doubled up on the walleye while Fisher held his own with the pike and walleye:
Tim is quickly becoming a smallmouth slayer:
Father daughter duo got into perch and some thick pike, Kacie catching her personal biggest pike and Dad Lee measuring a fat 36"er. These fellow Southsiders also held their own at some bean bag tossing:
Neal and Marji continued to catch more fish with dog Tess cheering them on, taking leisurely naps on the boat, and helping celebrate Neal's birthday to conclude their trip:
Longtime guest Mike and his buddy Terry caught many fish, but didn't take many pics; here's a dandy smallmouth one:
Bob and Jack, first timers to Tall Pines, really clicked with the fall bite and landed an insane amount of northern. These two are arguably the most positive happy-on-life guys we've met this year. They taught me about the "Gunga Din" concept as they were describing these 40+ inchers that they'd see at the boat, but couldn't quite catch. More on that later.
Brennan and Jake came to Tall Pines bout 15 years ago, and the stars aligned that they could do a trip with high school buddies Andy and Tom this fall. They were the first ones out each morning and usually one of the last ones in, just happy to be on the water catching fish and having some laughs:
Some more opportunities for guests to take in the full Tall Pines experience: From a make your own craft workshop to an outing at the Ear Falls Fall Fest, from a moose spotting to a daily fly-in fishing day, from yoga and fishing off the docks to kids still playing in the water, from the mancave-talk in the fish house to taking in the stunning fall foliage colors, we try to make all our guests feel welcome.
Patti was asking about chances of seeing the Northern Lights and I said its worth looking out before you go to bed and they may be there, but don't get your hopes up. Well, the next morning she shared these pics that her and good friend Tari saw with their own eyes:
And wife Patti also captured Bob and Tim in one of the best parts of a fishing trip: the Saturday afternoon when you and your fishing buddy are prepping all your gear to take out on the boat- the anticipation builds of a whole week of fishing ahead of you!
Gunga Din PJ! Every fisherman has that person who had the patience to teach him how to fish, someone who nurtured the passion within him, that person who recognized that he got the "fishing bug". Someone who had a solid knowledge base on tactics and took the time to share that. PJ Hall is that person for Ryan. A fishing mentor, and one hilarious dude, PJ finally was reunited with Ryan on the water after many years. He's had his own war wounds, quite literally, as well as figuratively, (bloody rags to prove it) and his entire crew was a joy to see again:
Week 17 leaderboard:
Week 18 leaderboard (I originally had a kids category, but Max- age 12- beat out the adults too! Younger brothers Fisher and Bowdyn did earn an honorable mention with 24 and 25" walleye):
Gunga Din (a poem by Rudyard Kipling written in 1890) is about showing bravery, loyalty, and selflessness going into battle, regardless of stature. Bob describes facing the big northern pike as if he was in battle, with enormous respect for the great fish. Many of you readers have had your own Gunda Din experience. Sometimes the big Great One winning by biting through the line, shaking off the hook, or just ever so alluding you as a form of torture.
And sometimes, after a great fight, slow and steady, with some give and take reeling in, exhaustion and some yelling added in, you get the Gunga Din moment of victory- you win- you get that fish, even if only for the moment to take a picture and then gently coax her back in the water. It's as if the enemy of battle becomes, in that moment, your ally and a silent understanding is spoken between you and the Great One. If you didn't get that this year, hopefully you can plan a trip up here for '24- Gunga Din!
The Gunga Din blog is dedicated to our friend and guest Tom W. who postponed major surgery to get his fishing trip in.