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As planned, Cindy and I decided to go “play football ” and fish that same section of the Flambeau that produces those “toads”. Rain and scattered storms were in the forecast. An approaching front is usually good news, so I was hoping that the drop in barometric pressure, and some cloud cover would motivate the smallies to strap on the feedbag. The first hole we fished produced a couple of nice fish. I was in the process of removing the hook from a stout seventeen incher, when I looked over, and saw that Cindy was bowed up with a real nice fish. She happened to be standing at the bow of my jet boat, and the fish was now under the boat. She was doing a nice job of extending the rod away from the boat, and shoving the rod down in the water to reduce the opportunity of it breaking the line by rubbing against the hull. The fight continued on like this for what it seemed like an eternity. It would not come out from underneath the boat, and it was quite obvious this was a really good fish. Finally, the stubborn smallie emerged from underneath the boat, and bolted for the shoreline that was an uncomfortable thirty feet away. I use the word “uncomfortable”, because there were a couple of laydowns that the fish could have easily run into, and broken the line. We still had not seen the fish as it remained just deep enough in that coffee-colored water, that its size was still a mystery. Cindy did a great job of putting a lot pressure on the fish to keep it out of those laydowns, and you could see at this point in the fight that it was really beginning to tire. Finally, it came just close enough to the surface that I could make out that it was a really big smallie. When I am not guiding, I lip the smallies we catch, and never pull out the net. Not this time. Cindy gently guided that huge smallie into my eagerly awaiting net, that tugged the scales down to the four pound nine ounce mark. It was only nineteen and half inches long. That is a really big river smallie for this neck of the woods. The picture of her with that pig is included in this report. The remainder of the day was productive as well. Besides having to take our rain gear off and put it back on four times during the six hour trip, we ┬ástill managed to land a total of twenty-two smallies. Ten of those twenty-two were between fourteen and nineteen half inches long. Several of those fish were those footballs that got us out of bed this morning in the hope that they would play. And play they did.

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