Opening Night Pickerel Fishing – A Pound of Flesh

Brian "Bear" Squirrell, Big Bear

Brian “Bear” Squirrell, Big Bear


Opening Night Pickerel Fishing – A Pound of Flesh

I used to love going Opening Night Pickerel Fishing. It just so happened to coincide with my birthday…until one very strange opening night back in Peterborough, Ontario.

As was any opening night, the anticipation of eating that delicate flesh of the pickerel or walleye weighed heavy on our minds. I had just purchased a new bass boat. Okay, an old, new to me, bass boat from my friend Mike Reader, a great taxidermist and friend.

We were headed out to our hot spot on Rice Lake. I called on a couple of buddies to go and Rosebud could not make it, but Rick Syvertson did, and he was stoked.  Rick is an excellent fisherman and local hunting guide and he helped me get the boat hooked up, checked the lights, put on the lock and chain, and we loaded up our gear and headed out.

I headed up Lansdowne Street at 11:00 pm towards our secret hole for opening night pickerel fishing. We were joking, telling stories and very excited about how many we would catch, boys being boys. Just as we got in front of the local strip joint, Rick yelled, “Look out!”, a giant pot hole, like the whole road just opened up, wow, I hit the pot hole with such force that the lock and chain broke and we looked back to see the boat leaving, wanting to go see the girls, like a battering ram.

Into the parking lot my fishing boat went and bounced off of three cars. We were stunned, through this all it had managed to stay upright, but damage had been done. So now what?  I called the local OPP who happened to be a couple of hundred yards up the road. A very nice female officer came and just shook her head. “Boy, are you guys having it rough.”  I told her it was my birthday and she said “Well, I had better get in and talk to the owners.”

Two of them came out and just laughed..”Don’t worry about it”. The third was not so nice and he started to rant and rave. So the officer said, “Let me run your driver’s licence.” He would have been better to have just said go. Guess the booze was talking and it turned out he was driving while under suspension and had no insurance to boot. So car towed and off to the think tank he goes.

The officer said, “Well boys, hope you catch some fish.” The boat and motor were fine, we got to our hole a little later than usual, we were going to go home, but you know when you are bit,  you are bit.

We got to the lake and the action was slow. Then bam, a nice seven pounder. That made our night, that was all she wrote. We loaded the pickerel in the wheel well area of my 1975 Malibu and headed home. We laughed at the events of the night and still were very thankful that we had a fish fry. We lived across the street from each other on Romaine Street. We thought about pulling out the pan and having this fresh morsel, with Rocky Madsens fish crisp from Bass Pro for breakfast with eggs and hash browns.

We opened up the trunk and soon found out that the pickerel was gone…magically disappeared! Turned out that there was a hole in my wheel well, and well, the fish was now just a memory. We turned and looked at each other and said, “Maybe we should have just gone into the bar had a couple of beers and went home to bed.”

With this all taking place, I have never been opening night fishing again…Can you blame me?

Brought to you by Brian Bear Squirrell of Big Bear – Nova Scotia. Your big game and black bear hunting guide for Nova Scotia, Canada.


Big Bear Outfitters - Nova Scotia

Big Bear Outfitters – Nova Scotia