There comes a time every season when you have to make a decision as to when to hang up the gear for the year. For guides, many of us decide that it is when the last booked client of the year has come and gone. For those of us that are diehard we keep going, hoping for that one last trip that will make the memory books. For me the end of the season memories are not usually about the fishing, but the bad weather that we endure to get onto the water.
This year I had a couple of trips booked into November so I knew it was going to be a bit cold and the weather leading up to these dates had been tough. The first trip was rainy and cold, which down the stretch seemed to be the rule and not the exception. I brought them to one of my favorite end of the year spots where we also do very well ice fishing. The morning of the trip we had plenty of follows and only one fish in the boat, but I was hopeful for the afternoon as many times it is as simple as finding a pod of fish and the fishing can go from 0 to 60 in no time.
After a nice lunch of homemade minestrone soup we worked our way into a cove that traditionally has held some nice fish. We immediately knew it was going to be good as we could see some very nice brookies holding in a foot and a half of water. This is also where my Crestliner Kodiak was invaluable. I moved around easily in this cove in minimal water with my trolling motor and never once had an issue. With a stable platform my clients went to town on these fish. We had one of the best afternoons I have every had with clients and in some of the worst conditions. We even had multiple doubles, which was a great way to end our day on the water.
The next week turned out to be extremely cold and the day of our second trip never made it past freezing. We had some rain a few days previously, which made getting the boat ready extremely difficult and took a lot longer than I would have liked. We only made it a half day due to the cold and this should have been the end of fishing in my boat, but it always works out that someone talks you into just one more.
Dan and I have spent many November and December days in a boat chasing one last fish. After my last guided trip of the year I had taken everything out of my boat and put everything into storage. The day that I was going to take it back up to my sponsor, Clark Marine in Manchester, Dan was tagging along. In his wisdom he asked why don’t we take it out one last time on a pond on the way to the shop? Well why not. Again it was cold and rainy so it made sense that we were out there. We caught a few fish, had a bunch of laughs and soon after dropped the boat off for its winter vacation.
I was ready after that last trip with Dan to call it a season. What inevitably happens is that we get a few warm days in a row and I start to get the itch again. The only difference this year is that I have my old boat, which has a new motor and is ready to be taken out at any point. So you really never know when to call it quits.