DEYOUNG: On the search for a river monster

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of ocean fishing, because you never know what you might catch.
Matt DeYoung
May 16, 2014

That’s not necessarily the case in fresh water. Oh, there are a few surprises here and there, but for the most part, if you’re casting for bass, you catch bass. You might connect with a pike or two, but there’s just not the variety in fresh water.

Still, there are surprises to be had from the dark, murky depths. That played out for me earlier this week. I woke up to the neighbor dog barking its fool head off at 7:30. I looked out, saw the sun was shining and the wind was calm, and decided I was going fishing.

I threw the boat in the water at the 144th Avenue boat launch and, 15 minutes later, was trolling large Rapalas and Yo-Zuri’s through Pottowattomie Bayou.

I landed a few pike, including two that ended up in the livewel, will be dinner this weekend, and missed a few others.

Back out on the Grand River, I cruised slowly over a deep hole that has been known to produce big catfish from time to time. In fact, the previous Saturday, my 10-year-old son, Owen, hooked into a big cat using his 5-foot-6 medium-light action Ugly Stick with a small reel and 8lb test line. We had to crank down on his drag to stop the fish from spooling him, and even then, in took almost 20 minutes for him to coax the big fish up to the surface. His friend, Tucker, slipped the net under the beast, which turned out to be a channel cat that must have weighed close to 15 pounds.

Our down-imaging depth finder offers an amazing look at what’s below the surface, and I could see some humps down at the bottom of the river.

Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.




I suspect any monsters are long gone. When I was very young, I jumped off the dock at the Spring Lake beach. I went down rather deep and a large shape went past me. It was over 8 feet long. I told the lifeguard about it, but he told me he never saw such a thing. The next day, he approached and said he saw the monster. He thought it was a very large sturgeon as I recall. Good luck fishing and pulling one like that out.


The same thing happened to me back 20 years may have been the same sturgeon, as I understand they live for decades. It was a magnificent fish, but rather scary to suddenly come across.

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