Fishing with Bernie

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Another Tall Tale

by Dave Gibson

Are you tired of bait fishing for a few stocker rainbow trout? Have you grown weary of wading the local streams, navigating the slippery rocks, only hooking-up with smallish brook trout and an occasional brown? If you answered yes to either or both of these questions as I have, and are ready to catch big fish as I am, the best solution that I know of is to contact premier Colorado fishing guide Bernie Keefe.

Almost two years have passed since I last fished with Bernie. It was October then and I was promised forty spawning lake trout of between 18 and 22 inches. He delivered on two consecutive days. On that trip we were targeting numbers of fish; this time it was the massive lake trout, that Granby Reservoir is renowned for, that I sought. Requiring more skill and a little more patience, Bernie predicted eight bites and 3 to 5 “lakers” between 28 and 34 inches during a full day’s excursion.

From my campsite at Stillwater Campground, I could see Bernie backing his boat down the ramp into the reservoir ten minutes before our scheduled 6 a.m. departure. The sky just light, the water was calm and the temperature comfortable when we headed out. Situating ourselves over an underwater “hump,” on the reservoir’s bottom fifty feet underneath us, I began fishing with a gray tube jig. “Less is more,” I’m instructed as I correct to a subtler motion.

Pleasantly surprised, after only ten minutes, I had hooked my first fish! As it sped towards the surface I reeled in the line as fast as I could, but suddenly it was gone. “Try setting the hook a little bit harder next time.” was my second lesson. Not long thereafter, another fish! Being just as hefty as the first, it felt like a cinderblock while doubling my rod and stripping line to the dark depths. After a thoroughly enjoyable ten minute battle, relished by me and presumably not the trout, we netted a silvery glistening 29 inch, 9 pound, lake trout! Now this was the kind of fishing I had come for! It was the nicest freshwater fish I’d ever landed, beating my old personal record by a full pound. Although we would catch bigger, it was the gamest of the day putting forth the best fight.

Yet another nine pounder and a three pounder followed, with a few missed strikes in between. Always changing locations and strategies, Bernie pulled out a fuzzy strip of black rabbit pelt attached to a hook. The strangest lure that I’d ever seen, it looked remarkably like a fish when dragged through the water. Nearly a foot long, we slowly trolled with it behind the boat. Visible on the sonar screen, a group of sizeable fish were seen trailing the lure. I was told to start reeling, having hooked-up with a another quality trout! It came stubbornly to the net, tipping the scales at twelve pounds and stretching 31 inches! The fish’s belly bulged under its own weight as I proudly held it up for a picture. Perhaps 30 years old, it was a female and vital to Granby’s self-sustaining lake trout breeding stock. We returned her to the water as is Bernie’s policy applying to any fish over 20 inches.

To catch trophy-sized trout of your own call Bernie Keefe at (970) 531-2318 or go to www.FishingWithBernie.com.

5 recommended
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