The action wasn't fast and furious by any means, but there were undoubtedly trophy fish roaming the area that night. Our crew went 0 for 3 on flags, but we can't say we didn't have our chances. Our hosts however, put three walleye on the ice that night, two of which were very respectable fish. The first was a dink, but it got the skunk of our backs. The next, caught a few hours later, measured 28 inches long and weighed in the neighborhood of eight pounds. The night would have been a complete success if their catching ended there, but it wasn't over just yet.
As the hour approached midnight, we reluctantly began picking up our traps one by one, knowing our hosts would be fishing for another 10 hours or so. While packing up, I noticed one of my flags was up, but the light didn't activate. Line had been taken out and there was weight on the other end. I set the hook and connected with something heavy, but it just didn't feel right. Who knows how long that flag was up for, but the clever walleye that tripped it, stole the bait and wrapped me around a 10-pound log that I brought to the hole. My knots held up and I actually had to cut free the hook that was lodged into the water-logged wood. It was an unpleasant way to end my night, knowing that I missed another opportunity. The lesson learned was to always keep an eye on your flags, as all equipment can fail, even lights you bought only hours earlier.
About twenty minutes into my long drive home, I received a message from one of our buddies, who was still on the ice. They had just iced a 32-inch, 13+pound trophy walleye. I could only laugh at that point, happy to have shared the ice with them that night, even having a shot at a fish of that caliber. Keep in mind that the beast, which was released, was just shy of the 14.8-pound state record walleye that was caught 68 years earlier. Put your time in and you will be rewarded. Congrats, Dave & Deano, on two great fish!