This is a flip side of the tale - the fish rule the night on the big lake. Fish that would munch down lake run Suckers, Redhorse, and Whitefish without hesitation...
TylerW had contacted me back in March about taking Thomas out Burbot fishing. As a little backstory Thomas is from Denmark doing research in Minnesota and staying with Tyler. Thomas has covered many, many miles - logged many, many hours - looking for the Burbot. A fish so rare in Denmark that he refers to them as Unicorns. When he found that there were places in the midwest were it is possible to catch multiple Burbot in a single night he was interested for sure...
Tyler was asking about ice fishing. Unfortunately, the river ice was already rapidly rotting. A violent storm had heaved the ice that could be effected by lake currents the previous weekend. The next week the first ship of the season would go through and destroy what remainded of the walkable ice. We played email tag for a full month canceling based on heavy iceberg drifts, single digit air temperatures, and schedule conflicts.
Finally we had a weekend day picked! And then the constant North-East winds accelerated to ripping speeds and pounding waves. While the waves were impressive I had to tell them not to bother coming up. Finally the trip ran into the Longnose run with Andy and Mitch so we doubled it up. The East winds were still a bit rough but nothing unfishable.
The plan bottom rig frozen smelt and catch Burbot. Hopefully the lake currents would be kind as they can make or break a big lake poutin' trip. We rigged heavy because the occasional Sturg that wanders in tend to be on the large side.
After fishing for Longnose in the afternoon Mitch, Avid, and I headed out a little before dark for Burbot. Thomas and Tyler were not scheduled to show up for a couple hours. We were into fish quick with a couple doubles in the first couple hours.
By the time Tyler and Thomas has arrived the current had changed and bite slowed. I've learned that visibility and current are key in this kind of fishing. Too much light pentraition and bite dies. Too much current, too little current, current in one direction or another - all can impact where the Burbot will be and how active. A current switch during a hot bite is not a good thing.
After a few hours Thomas got his lifer Burbot! Then he dropped the bomb. He wanted to stay out on the shore of Lake Superior all night and catch Burbot. In 25 mph winds. In mid-30* F air temps. Did I mention it was on the shore of Lake Superior? The lake that never gives up her dead?
It is hard to make a group of roughfishers think you are crazy - at least from the stand point of dedicated fishing. But we all thought it a little crazy that he was going to stay out there alone. I tried to leave my wood stove, he didn't want any distractions from fishing.
By night's end, when we met up again with Thomas, he was tired but happy - having caught dozen-and-half Burbot, including two big Burbot (over 30"). A couple Lake Superior fattened Channel Cats and hooked into a "freight train" - likely one of the big Lake Sturgeon that cruises the bottom of Lake Superior.