The mornings are still chilly on the west side but it's finally starting to feel like spring. That means warming water and hungry fish. It also means some of the best fishing is already behind us as the forage and fish begin to spread out more and more. We've had some amazing days on the water so far and it feels great to have the BBQ sauce boat back on the water.
We've also experienced a great loss this spring. Unfortunately my brother in law Josh Green lost his battle with cancer this week. It's hard thing to think about and handle since he leaves behind a wife and 2 small children. We are a pretty close family so we've got lots of memories with Josh. Josh didn't grow up in the outdoors so it was always fun when I got the chance to do some outdoor stuff with him. It was cool to introduce him to shooting at my bachelor party and it was always fun to take him fishing. Although it always ended up being salmon jigging and never when the run was full on. It often led to him razzing me with comments like if I go again this time and don't catch one I'm never going again or accusing me of fabricating fishing pictures and stories. Jigging 2 ounce spoons for adult king salmon is not really a great way to get someone their first fish but we kept trying. He must have still believed my stories somewhat because he agreed to go again on a family vacation to a port I'd never fished. Once again I got everyone up way too early to take them on a wild salmon chase but this time in Frankfort.
It started out extremely slow again as we marked no fish in the harbor. We ventured out to the outer arms and although it was a little cold and choppy we started marking some fish. I think we missed a couple and it was looking like maybe we were going to have another failure on our hands. Then Josh yelled out, "I got one" but it quickly turned to confusion when it seemed to have come off. However the fish was just screaming to the surface and he was getting slack in some line. Some panicked telling him to reel as fast as you can and the fight was back on. As the salmon began to do what salmon do, the look absolute terror coming over his face was priceless. You can't quite explain the power of those things even to an experienced bass fisherman, so there was no way he was prepared for what was about to go down. This fish was absolutely owning him and it was hilarious to watch. They are a challenge to land if you know what you are doing. So we were really in for it because it was a big one. Between me barking out instructions on fighting the fish and Josh struggling with the beast while looking terrified it was a hilarious situation. I couldn't have been happier when we finally got that fish in the net. I also hoped he finally would believe my fishing stories and go fishing with me again. The fish weighed in at 20.2 pounds and made a bunch of great meals for his family.
It's going to be a long road back to some form of normalcy for the family but we are all ready to pitch in for Autumn and the boys. I'll always be ready to get them involved should they become interested in the outdoors. There also is a GoFundMe set up to help with some of the financial burden from all of this here is the link to his personal page. Some of his story is also found on the GoFundMe as well as the My Personal 3:59 blog he had going. Tomorrow is never promised so make the most out of today.
In fishing news, show season is finally wrapped up. We have a great crew for our show at D&R Sports and we had a blast as always. I spent my time talking to everyone about reels with none other than the legendary David Fritts. We got a lot of good feedback on the new Lew's Custom Pro Spinning Reel. I'm looking forward to switching most of my spinning stuff to those this year. The original BB1 got a lot of love as well and Fritts will tell you why it is the best cranking reel out there. It absolutely bombs baits out there and the multistop anti reverse really allows you to feel the bait.
I haven't gotten to throw and crankbaits yet this year but I have given a couple beat downs out of the BBQ sauce boat with standard cold water stuff. One thing I've been playing with this year that I never have before is a tail spinner. I'm still experimenting with how to best use it but I've definitely caught some good fish on it. Sometimes while grinding it on a slow retrieve on the bottom other times use a lift a drop technique similar to a blade bait. While those cold water baits might not be as "fun" to fish but they certainly do put them in the boat. I had an epic day last week where I caught somewhere in the ball park of 150 and while that's super fun I'm ready to destroy with a flipping stick and some braided line.
I also got a chance to talk to the Grand Haven High School bass team about electronics and many other fishing topics. It's always fun to get a chance to share some knowledge and hopefully the kids learned a thing or 2 that will help them in the future.
That's all I've got for now, say a prayer for Autumn and the boys.