Column: Some people can't fish

The first Saturday morning in October should have found me sleeping in until time to move to the couch and the weekly 11 hours of college football viewing.

Bob Williams

The first Saturday morning in October should have found me sleeping in until time to move to the couch and the weekly 11 hours of college football viewing.

Instead, fishing buddy Troy had called Friday night and I was up at the crack of dawn Saturday morn ready to go fiddle with the finicky on Franklin Lake.

According to the Department of Natural Resources there are more than 15 varieties of fish in Franklin.

According to fishing buddy and I there are three: slimy northerns, largemouth bass and one dogfish.

This information was discovered each in its own idiom. Fishing buddy, after failing on spinner baits, went to the jig and starting pulling in the bass from the edge of the weeds and shoreline.


I chucked a white spinner and caught nothing but Northerns, each one smaller than the prior. The last snake yanked in I set the hook so nastily in the little guy he got an airborne meeting with the side of the boat.

A rookie catching a rookie.

Seriously, I'm not good at fishing. My goal each time out is to catch at least three and call it good, regardless of what they are. To date, this year, a five-pound northern I landed on Big Floyd Lake is all I have to brag about.

Then again, for a guy who just chucks artificial bait anywhere he feels like, that's not bad.

I did diversify my tactics a little. I only got my fake neon frog stuck in a tree once. The wind picked up in the middle of my cast. Yeah, that's it.

We swung around to the north shore around noon, and in between tall tales, insinuations of finding the fish house for winter and complaints about how slow the lake was, came, "What is that?"

It was a greenish, brown carcass of some kind just listing on the surface.

"Probably a dogfish," I claimed with little to no knowledge of dogfish habits, or their presence in the lake, combined with my bad farsightedness and not wearing glasses making it rather impossible to determine what Troy was even pointing at.


Turns out, according to Troy, the dogfish is known to reside in Franklin Lake and they are also known to occasionally sunbathe, for lack of a better term, on or near the surface.

He was right. The bowfin can rise to the surface and gulp air into its swim bladder, which is lined with blood vessels and can serve as a lung.

Naturally, we chucked our baits in the vicinity of the dinosaur trying to land something different in the boat.

Bowfins, the real name of the dogfish, have been around since the dinosaurs.

They're nasty buggers with sharp teeth who'll bite Troy as he tries to remove it from my hook.

All I really wanted that day was to land that stupid dogfish.

After a quick bit of research, it is now obvious we would have needed some cut bait to get any interest out of the beast. Had I only kept that baby northern I slammed into the boat. He'd have been perfect.

In the end, it didn't really matter. A sunny day on a lake, the surface of which was glass, ringed with autumnal foliage and temps in the high 40s; that beats the couch and football no matter how bad a fisherman one is. By that logic alone, maybe I can fish.

Opinion by Robert Williams
Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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