The Saga of Carl and Walter

Exploring Kansas Outdoors

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The boats high-tech gear locked us onto a spot where the walleyes began biting like crazy. The water was so rough that every couple minutes a wave broke over the bough, creating a constant stream of lake water down the middle of the boat toward the drain beneath, forcing us to run the bilge pump every five minutes. The boat’s owner and captain, who is as experienced a fisherman and boater as anyone I know muttered numerous times “I don’t know if it’s going to work for us to be out here!” … And then along came Carl; let me explain.

As I prepare to leave for our annual crappie / walleye fishing trip to Waconda Lake near Glen Elder, KS, I’m reminded of this story from years ago. Several men from our church men’s group gathered the first weekend of May some years back at Kanopolis Lake for an annual fishing trip. The entire trip was up-in-the-air because of the rain and weather, but Friday morning found three of us heading to the lake in the rain. By evening, optimistic reinforcements arrived with two more boats and a few more fishermen. By evening the rain had temporarily slowed to a drizzle, so after a pick-me-up of burgers, beans and chips, we all donned rain gear and headed toward the back side of the spillway where water released from the reservoir empties into the river below. Less than an hour later it was too dark to see well, so after many snagged and broken lines and only a couple fish, we retreated back to the cabins and made plans for the morning.

Saturday morning after a welcome hot breakfast of biscuits and gravy, we divided ourselves between the three boats and headed out onto the main lake. The air was still nippy and the sky was totally overcast with an occasional mist falling and the water was pretty choppy; quite good walleye fishing weather if you stayed warm and dry. By evening, having caught and released dozens of small walleyes, we headed in for dinner with 21 nice walleyes in the coolers. The weather was supposed to break and clear off on Sunday, so we all turned in for the night with visions of awakening in the morning to a beautiful day of fishing.

Sunday morning dawned overcast, and seemed from the front porch of the cabins to be just slightly breezy, but no big deal. As we put the boats in, we could see that white caps dotted the lake, and a walkway at the dock was under a foot of water, but again, thought it to be no big deal. After a ride across the lake worthy of any amusement park, the boats high-tech gear locked the boat onto the spot described above, and just as we began to question our sanity, the boat’s owner hooked a fish that was to become the talk of the trip.

All other fishing rods in the boat were brought in as back-and-forth they went. The fisherman would gain line, then the fish would take it out again. Finally, with all eyes on the two of them, the big fish was netted, and Carl the carp was brought aboard!

To understand Carl’s significance to the situation, you have to know that the boat’s owner and captain is a wizard among fishermen, and I swear can catch a “keeper” walleye from a mud puddle. But he also has a reputation for catching big carp, and because of his fishing prowess, he never hears the end of it when he does. Shortly thereafter, the third fisherman in our boat brought in a dandy big walleye which we quickly nicknamed Walter. With Carl and Walter held high as if to celebrate another triumph of the “great hunter-gatherers,” we drove past the other boats and headed toward the dock, just another day of fishing in God’s Wonderful Creation!

Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]

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