Dan Vallieres vs Fish: A Battle for Supremacy
Dan Vallieres and pike

Dan Vallieres waged war against this fish and won. It was a catch and release.

On our first trip to Manitoulin Island’s Bridal Veil Falls in early summer, my girlfriend Alex and I spotted hundreds of fish in the fast flowing river; many of which were the largest Rainbow Trout I’ve ever seen. We couldn’t stop thinking about them over the next couple months, so when we had a chance to go back out there and bring our fishing rods we jumped all over it. Only this time when we arrived the river was mostly dry. Where the Rainbow Trout once swam, lay thousands of crawfish both living and dead. Our fishing plan had been derailed and my dream of catching a monster Rainbow Trout had died.

The day was young and optimism was still alive, so we ventured down river where it flows into the beautiful Lake Huron. There we spotted hundreds of bass and fish who most obviously had no interest in my lures; likely because of the over abundance of crawfish. We also encountered a beautiful water snake, that I couldn’t resist catching. We fished all along the edge of river and lake with no luck at all. Our options almost exhausted, I decided to take a few final casts from the docks of a small enclosed boat parking area, the middle seemed quite deep but also void of vegetation. I walked from dock to dock taking casts into the depths of this black hole.

Fish in water

Something lurking beneath…

I stopped at the third last dock and took my final cast. As I reeled, my lure was in plain sight and I spotted a very large shadow in the water. It seemed to lose interest and swim off to my 3 o’clock position. I turned to Alex who was standing nearby and told her “I just saw something gigantic”. I took a final cast in the direction where I last saw it swim and started to reel in.

Fish surface

The giant reached up and stole my lure…

After a few cycles of my reel I felt the weight of a giant reach up from the depths and steal my lure; my blood pressure dropped and for that moment time stood still. It was time for a great battle. I started to reel in as best I could without breaking my rod.

It was a battle of strength for the fish but a battle of wits for me and we fought hard for many minutes. The fish thrashed and we roared, it jumped and we ducked, it battled but we waged war. The fish; exhausted and all but defeated was now inches away from defeat.

Fish dock

Reeling it in with great precision…

With a lack of fishing net to keep the battle fair, I prepared to reach in and take the final blow of retrieving my fish. In that moment he opened his mouth so wide I could smell the humans he had previously defeated on his breath. He hammered his head once again as loud and strong as thunder, in a final attempt to break free from my single hooked, Blue Fox spinner.

Fish pulling up

Got it…

Alas he failed as his cunning was no match for my hard earned, high level fishing skill. I reached in with great precision, hooked him by the gills and claimed my victory.

Got it

Victory is mine…

We took a few trophy pictures with this massive, extremely heavy pike. I hadn’t seen one so fat since the great battle my eldest brother had fought in our youth with a similar fish. Only this time victory was mine to carry with me for the rest of my life.

Dan with Fish2

Released it and had pizza and cold beer for supper.

Upon inspecting the fish I noticed a significant wound the he had previously sustained. Based on the area and shape of the wound, it became clear to me that there was a much bigger fish  in this pond, and although today a battle was won the war was not over.

Luckily Alex had her camera close by and was able to snap some amazing pictures. We both agreed that releasing this monster was the right thing to do and enjoyed the rest of our evening eating a fresh pizza and drinking a cold beer.

Daniel Vallieres
Master Fisherman

If you have a story, photos or videos of your great catch, or the one that got away, just send them in to us at share@southsidestory.ca and we’d be happy to share them.

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