It is hard to focus on ones work calendar at the beginning of the week when you notice that there is an “on-the-water” meeting scheduled for the end of the week. The days immediately start to drag on and periodic, angling daydreams emerge from the subconscious. The meeting location was set for Pigeon Lake and invitations had already been accepted by our frequent blog guest and good friend Phil Rowley and Chris Colling from The Fishin’ Hole, a long time supporter of Trout Unlimited Canada and who also happens to be an amazing angler. Anyone who has had the pleasure of their company before know that these two talented anglers are blessed with comic level humour that is well paired with biting wit. Even knowing this, there could never have been adequate preparation for the one liners, sarcastic quips and full-out, trauma centre “burns” that flew when these two went head to head in a fly versus hardware competition.
What could have been a relaxing day on the water chasing walleye morphed into an intense walleye catching competition. Hardware was being chucked off the bow of the boat and flies were back and forth in the air at the stern with the “judge” of this competition crouched low in the middle of the boat trying desperately hard not to get caught in the cross fire (both verbal and hooks).
Chris started strong with in-line blade baits from The Fishin’ Hole. Walleye after walleye, and the odd pike, were brought to the boat quickly, admired, and released. Smile blades in orange, chartreuse, pink or frankly any colour combination that was dragged behind the boat worked on this particular day. Chris had actually suggested Pigeon Lake because of its ‘friendly’ fish and now we understand why.
Not to be outdone, Phil kept the competition very tight once the boat stopped moving by catching walleye on a fly of his own creation called the Lama Streamer. This fly, now aptly renamed the Walleye Whacker, matched each fish caught on hardware. We’re not sure who was more surprised the anglers or the fish! The magic combination of white and chartreuse on a balanced hook seemed too tempting for the walleye in this lake. Once trolling resumed the competition was a handily won by the folks using hardware!
As for the one in the middle, a mix of both fly and hardware proved productive. There was a lot to learn from these two, but even more to laugh about. One gem of wisdom from this outing to share with our loyal readers … never …. ever … give a bait casting outfit to a fly angler who has never used a bait casting outfit! Just don’t do it.
The friendly completion only added to an amazing day on the water with two great friends. Thanks Phil for hosting and Chris for joining us. Perhaps there is another competition in the future on the hardwater?