I phoned Oliver at 5:00 a.m., complaining to his message recorder of severe nerve pain in my left leg, saying I probably had to cancel. He phoned back within five minutes and I said I had done some exercises, it felt better, I would phone him back. Meanwhile, I fixed eggs and coffee. The car was loaded. I phoned and said, "Let's hit the road."
The weather was sort of mild and the lake perfectly calm. Once again, I made a night crossing from Dows, running lights with the useless suction cups in each of our hands. By the time we got to Raccoon Island, it was still pretty dark. The rods were rigged but a little tangled. Soon we put herring on two rods directly under the boat and casted Binsky bladebaits, jigging them off bottom along the drop-off. We were disappointed after an hour or so of persistence but no action and resorted to nightcrawlers for some perch, sunfish, and each of us caught a largemouth near the rocks. My leg gave me no serious trouble; I had forgotten about it and really didn't think about it for the rest of the outing. It had got chillier even after sunrise, and I expected the weather to warm when we arrived at our next spot.
We jigged Elba and Pickerel Points, a very slight breeze allowing us to drift only a bit while I used the electric to help position. It was getting milder, too. The herring yielded nothing nor the Binskies. But I had one of my hunches and immediately suggested we try Chestnut Point. That's where I had planned to try next, but I knew right away it was time to go. The hunch was the only one I had all day, deep and resonant as qualifies such intuition, rather than ordinary guesses as are common.
That's where--with a light breeze that was about perfect to jig vertically while moving parallel along the drop--I jigged the walleye, which made a very slow day a little more interesting. I told Oliver my hunches seem no better than superstition, since I was in no position to offer him anything close to resembling proof. I can't offer you, the reader, proof either. But I feel them distinctly when they happen, and I'm always eager to act upon them at once, because more often than not, perhaps, I get results. I noticed that in addition to catching the walleye, my hunch put us on the best drifts for jigging of the day as well. I had a glimmer of recognition about this before we got to Chestnut, but I think after I felt the possibility of a fish. We drifted the drop three times and headed in at 11:30. One of the herring rods bent under the weight of a fish that dropped the bait shortly after my catch.
When you think about it, what is "fishing" but feeling around in the dark of water for a catch? A great deal of emphasis is put on explicit knowledge in the pursuit, but when you get down to it, every cast is a sort of shot in the dark. So, apart from sighting fish or very obvious cover, if something or other within you informs messing around in the dark, it might be a good idea to follow it.