- Expert Guides DO Simplify Catching Fish – with simple JIGS
- Rainy Day BLESSINGS on the Rainy River
- One BEST Fillet Tool CAN SIMPLIFY Cleaning Walleye by the Dozen
By Forrest Fisher
We arrived in the front lobby of Sportsman’s Lodge on the Rainy River in Baudette, MN, The weather was cold and nasty, and VERY rainy. We were in a momentary downpour. I looked disappointed, my better half smiled at me and joked, “It’s ok, it’s gonna be good luck, it’s raining and we’re on the Rainy River! I couldn’t help, but smile back.
We were one step closer to the fishing the Walleye Capital of the World that we had read about so often, not to mention a few decades of dreams.
What I didn’t know was that the number of fish to catch in the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods was beyond the normal angler’s day of fantasy fishing. We discovered a brand new REALITY here, an iconic, never-forget celebration of most-ever-walleye-caught memories.
Not long after we arrived, we were fishing with Captain Ralph Christofferson (218-634-1342) aboard his 27-foot Sportcraft, a beautiful, fully-equipped, big water vessel. Lake of the Woods offers about 1,700 square miles of fishing with more than 14,500 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. Impressive fishery numbers and with plenty of forage in the form of emerald shiners, tulibees and various crustaceans.
We boated out to the lake and anchored, only a 10-minute ride with that giant 454 Chrysler engine humming us into competition with throngs of honking Canada Geese that were nearby.
Captain Ralph provided everyone his hand-made, 6-foot 2-inch, personally customized, St. Croix fishing rods to use. The rods were light .and beautiful, a pleasure to hold. Perfect balance.
The rods were geared up with an open-face spinning reel, 6-pound test monofilament (P-line) and gold-plated 3/8 ounce jigs tipped with a salted emerald shiner minnow. The minnows were “slid” onto the hook with Captain Ralph’s “secret twist.”
It didn’t take long to discover active fish at our anchored spot. In less than 3 hours, we landed more than 50 walleye and sauger. Captain Ralph said, “It’s sort of a slow day.” In the words of our young friends and millennials, OMG! Except, he wasn’t kidding!
We kept our daily limit of 4 walleye and 2 sauger each, and there was five of us. Yes, we had a cooler filled with 30 fish and ice, ready for the pan or the freezer. We arrived at the dock, it was a short walk to the Sportsman’s Lodge state-of-the-art fish-cleaning house. There were plastic bags, foam trays for holding the clean fillets, saran wrap, ice and lots of bright lighting. I could see the light. Indeed, in more ways than one.
While some anglers use an electric knife to clean fish, most old-timers know there is about 15 percent waste with that method. I’m an old timer and I had a brand new fillet knife that I received on my birthday.
A manual fillet knife job will yield the most meat for the plate. If you consider some of the catches for the week – and we ate most of the fish right on site the day we caught them – you might think that manual filleting the fish was a tough task, but not so.
It’s not work if you a knife like mine, a new 6-inch Case, fixed-blade, fillet knife (Model BR12-6 SS). My Case fillet knife is so sharp and rigid, but also provides some bend in the blade if you press a bit, to be flexible, making it so simple to use. It seems to never lose its really sharp edge and we cleaned so many fish with it.
Every now and then, I touch up the edge with a very gentle stroke on a carbide diamond wedge, then a final stroke or two using a very smooth Arkansas super-fine stone and water.
One other thing about this knife, it is ergonomically perfect to fit my hand. It feels just right, you know, comfortable and solid. The steel blade and formed poly-handle are melded as one, permitting full control, and it works like a hot poker through butter. Even with potatoes, onions, carrots and sausage, you get the idea. It’s my favorite all-around cutting tool.
Many things we buy in the USA are now manufactured elsewhere, but W.R.Case knives are made in the USA (http://www.wrcase.com/knives/), one more of many reasons why I like them.
The bottom line for a good knife: can it hold an edge? Indeed. This thing holds an edge like no other fillet knife I have ever used, and I have used most of them. I’m not sure what kind of steel alloy this Case knife uses, but whatever it is, please tell them to never change it.
My grandkids will want one of these 20 years from now and, of course, my Case will be here ready and waiting.
Last, this knife is an easily affordable investment at about $25-$30 cost. Check google for the best price or go direct to W.R.Case.
Love this knife, the expert guides and this deluxe accommodation where we caught all these fish just a short boat ride and simple drop-jig cast away. Dreams are made of this.
We’ll be back soon (http://sportsmanslodges.com/).