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Fishing the Derby With Gambler

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Hello All,

Brian Gamble is a fisherman that knows his stuff.


We launch out of the same port.  He has a reputation as a fellow lake trout enthusiast,  so I have wanted to meet Brian for some time now.  Even so, it has taken me this long to finally spend a morning aboard his well decked-out boat. 


We were a crew of three, with Keith, Brian's longtime friend, also there. Before the trip, I was fed some impressive, almost inconceivable statistics about catch rates and sizes, without any hedge that is a liar's usual way out.  This was to be my first involvement with any fishing derby.  I bought a one-day pass to the LOC tournament, and learned a bunch about a world that I had never taken any part in.



Competitive fishing makes you look at a day on the water totally differently than somebody who just likes to admire a brown trout's spots.  You must put a great deal of time in, find the most bountiful waypoints, target only the largest fish, efficiently maintain your spread of rods,  compare your catches against everyone else on the entire lake.  This was quickly rammed home to me when I landed a beautiful 12 pound brown trout, the biggest I had caught in years, and looked for the high-five that never came.


"Aww!  What a bummer!  I thought for sure we were on the board with that one!" These were clearly not your average guys!  At that time, Brian was second place in the brown trout category, so we needed one bigger than his to rank among the contenders.  My fish fought strong, kept persistently distant.  As we speculated to its size, I learned all about the issue of money on the line.  It was quite a revelation.  Even after splitting the winnings among the boat and crew, here I was cranking in a fish that would potentially pay me an amount of money that many guys would pay for the privilege of catching!  So as flushed and happy as catching that fish made me, Brian and Keith literally had bigger fish to fry.


So the early morning was for targeting browns.  They bit steady, with few that could be called dinks.  The dozen trout we landed made for one of the fastest-action mornings I have ever had.  But we weren't done yet!


I got to see Brian in action with the lake trout that he has mastered.  Very quickly we were into a strong fish that stayed deep long enough for Keith to reel a second fish past before I could land.  Again we discussed how big it might be, how big it would have to be, how much of a payday was at stake.  When he finally got netted and dumped onto the deck, there was again that funny dynamic of one guy elated and two guys disappointed.


P:  "Awesome!"

K:  "Humph.  Looks like he's only 17 pounds"

B:  "Yep.  I thought he was bigger, but only seventeen."


Out comes the scale.  17.1 pounds.  How many that size must you catch to calibrate your eye so accurately?  Been so long since I was out on the lake, it looked like Moby Dick to me.


The next couple of hours involved a whole lot of reeling.  And a lot of the reeling was left to me.  Brian, being on the board with a one-prize-per-entrant policy, wasn't going to play the fish.  And Keith, having had some recent surgery, offered most of the releases to me.  So I got some tired arms!  The action seemed nonstop, but again Brian apologized for the dearth of doubles and triples!  I really had to admire that level of accomplishment.  Boating and trolling involves all kinds of physical awkwardness, with tangled lines, flopping fish, dragging downrigger balls.  To watch Brian constantly manipulating the lines, all the while navigating the boat and doling out tasks to Keith and me, was impressive.  He and I had discussed doing some vertical jigging for the lakers, but I can see how jigging doesn't go well with derby fishing.  Just to give some numbers, we landed 25 lakers, and Brian considered that a slow day.  You just cover so much more water trolling, that if prize money is involved, that is the way to go.  But I gave him a few of my homemade jigs, so later he can try his luck.  For myself, I learned so much about trolling lakers.  Funny though, it's advice that I can't really use!  What I learned is what all the modern fishing technology can do for your success, and what it can do in the hands a guy that has mastered applying it.


So this board is again responsible for me meeting a good couple of guys and having a great morning out. 






Edited by Pete Collin
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Okay, I want to know how big of a check Brian wrote you :rofl:.


I'm always amazed at how Brian is so focused when he's on his boat. It's like he's Sandy Creek's Tom Cruise (just more...cuddly) and catching fish is his mission. When I want to work, I fish with Brian. When I want to relax, I fish on my boat. It's no wonder he's at the top of the game. 

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Thanks a bunch


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-J327A using Lake Ontario United mobile app



You are welcome. I tie my leaders at 20’ with a double uni knit. The length is only for having the ability to cut in down when we get a nick in the line. I use green big game so there isn’t a huge advantage.



Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Really nice post Pete:yes: You had  a great opportunity to see very knowledgeable guys in action....doing what they do best. Brian is at the top of his game and the derby/tourrnament stuff is right up his alley and you had a special look at it.:smile: I always enjoy your posts Pete as you have a great flair for writing and do so with humility as well:yes:

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