Well, thanks to Dr. Loran Wagoner, I can cross this one off my list.
It has been a goal of mine for some time to take a night fishing trip on one of our major lakes with someone who knew what they were doing. Therefore, I was really excited when I got a call from retired veterinarian Dr. Loran Wagoner with an invitation to go night fishing.
The only previous night fishing that I had done consisted of camping out near a pond and fishing under a light without much success. Let me tell you now how the real fishermen do it on the big lakes. One point to note, however, I cannot reveal any of Loran’s secret spots. There are two reasons for that: 1. I just wouldn’t do that; 2. I really have no idea where we were fishing in the pitch-black night.
Loran launched his boat at around 7:45 p.m. and we headed to his first hotspot, which was a few miles away. We fished plastic worms from 8 to 8:30. During that time, I hung, fought and lost a largemouth bass that was at least four pounds. Now, I had done that before, but what was to come next I had never experienced.
When the clock struck 8:30, and the sky turned black, that’s when the action started.
I took all of my cues from Loran, and he showed me how to fish at night on the big lakes.
We fished black spinner baits and went from one spot to another as Loran expertly guided us along banks, dropoffs and throughout various points on the lake. During this time, I caught my first smallmouth bass and then proceeded to catch more smallmouth bass as well.
Later on, I even eventually caught a 3-pound largemouth. I was amazed at how Loran was able to pinpoint his spots and dropoffs, even in the middle of the night. We even fished dropoffs in the exact center of the lake that would be hard for people to find in the daytime, but he was finding them in the middle of the night.
We fished until 1:30 a.m. The following things really stick with me about the trip I took with Loran:
1. The first thing that sticks with me is how beautiful it was fishing right at sunset as we saw eagles cruising over the bays we were fishing in and an otter with a fish in its mouth headed back to its den.
2. The peacefulness of fishing at night. We didn’t have another boat come anywhere near us.
3. The coolness with the sun going down, even as we were in the middle of a heat spell was another thing I noted.
4. One of the only obstacles that I experienced was how tough it is to do some things in the dark – tying a line on, flipping a trailer hook over another hook, with nothing but a miner’s light on my head. That was the toughest thing about night fishing.
There is one thing more than any, though, that I take away from my first night fishing trip on one of the big lakes. That is very simply, that Dr. Loran Wagoner is one of the classiest men and most knowledgeable fishermen that I’ve ever met in my life.
As a matter of fact, fishing with Brother Loran reminds me a whole lot of another man that I fished with several times many years ago. That man would be none other than the late and legendary Sol Fritz. That is one of the highest compliments you can pay any man as a person or a fisherman.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.