Best Day of Fishing in 2018
Nov. 12, 2018
A relatively new annual Aikens tradition is to spotlight the single best day of fishing enjoyed by a guest during that calendar year. From Tarrol Lunde and Paul Beech boating a 31.5- and 32-inch walleye within hours to Philippe Defoy completing a triple crown on the final day of the 2017 season to Sidney Reid catching a Master Angler pike and a pair of walleyes over 29 inches on a single day, Aikens guests have enjoyed some truly remarkable days.
This year, our single best day of fishing involved a husband and wife celebrating their 10th anniversary by making a long-anticipated Aikens debut, a guide jumping out of the boat not once but twice, and nine lake trout caught in one boat … all before lunch!
Amanda and Adam Paschal, of Parker, Colorado, were the talented anglers making their Aikens debut in high fashion with a day for the ages on July 6. It was actually the last day of a trip that saw both husband and wife make the Century Club on their first day.
The following day, Amanda made the Century Club again, with Adam himself finishing with a 99-inch total for his four largest walleyes.
After reveling in such spectacular walleye fishing, Amanda was understandably reluctant to try trout fishing on her final day at Aikens.
“To be honest I wasn’t that excited to do lake trout fishing because I didn’t know anything about it, and I went to Aikens to do walleye fishing because my parents raved about these huge walleyes for years and years and years,” said Amanda, an avid fly-fisherman back home.
They headed to Chris’ Corner on a sunny morning and it didn’t take long for Amanda and Adam to learn first-hand about the thrill of catching giant lake trout at Aikens Lake.
Not long into fishing that morning, Adam hooked a big fish that began to fight … and fight … and fight.
“Every time Adam would gain some line the fish would dive down within a second. Say he’d gain 20 feet of line, a second later he’d lose 40 feet,” Amanda recalled. “Each time, our guide Marco was like ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.’ Finally after 47 minutes we got it in and everybody was ecstatic. All of a sudden Marco jumped in the water. He threw his camera and his hat at us and then he jumped in, he was so excited.”
“I would say the highlight of those 47 minutes was watching Marco sweat and stress out because he thought Adam was going to lose the fish so many times,” Amanda laughed.
From then on, it was game on. Amanda and Adam went back and forth hauling in big lake trout. Adam caught not one but two Master Angler trout throughout the day, at 37 and 38.5 inches. By the time the duo had caught 5 lakers, guide Marco could not believe it.
“Guys this is unheard of. I have officially seen it all,” Marco said. “The only thing I have never seen is two lake trout caught at the same time. If that happens, I am retiring because I’ve seen everything possible.”
Cue a little Aikens Lake magic.
A fish hit on the cisco rig, so Adam took the rod, set the hook and started fighting the fish. Amanda started reeling in super fast to get her line out of the way for the ensuing battle with Adam’s fish, when all of a sudden she had a hit.
“I told Marco I had a fish. He asked me like three or four times, ‘Are you sure?’” Amanda recalled. “I said, ‘I am 100% sure I have a fish on this line.’”
Since Adam was hooked up on heavier line with the cisco rig and Amanda had only 8-pound monofilament, Marco then made a decision and looked at Adam.
“You’re on your own, I’m focusing on Amanda,” Marco said.
“Adam is doing laps around the boat to keep his line out of mine, we’re passing poles back and forth,” Amanda said. “My fish came in first and we netted it, then a couple minutes later we netted Adam’s. All of us were screaming. Marco had just said it will not happen. But we have these two fish in the net and we’re beside ourselves.”
After releasing the two fish, nobody in the boat could believe what happened, and Marco proceeded to jump into the lake in celebration for a second time, this time joined by Adam.
Incredibly, the husband-wife duo caught a couple more lake trout before heading to shore for a “to die for” fish taco shorelunch and finishing their final afternoon at Aikens by switching gears and chasing (and catching) some more big walleyes.
You can imagine the reception they received back at camp when news broke of their legendary day.
“While we aren’t really known for being a monster lake trout fishery, there is still a population of lakers in the depths of the lake that can produce some magical experiences for our guests. When that rod is doubled over, you forget about everything else around you because you have to focus solely on the fight at hand,” said Pit. “Having a guest come into the lodge excited and tell me all about a great day fishing is one of my favorite things about being at Aikens.”
For Amanda and Adam, it is a day they will never forget.
“It was the trip of a lifetime,” Amanda said. “That day with the lake trout, was complete bananas.”
Editor’s Note: Check back later for a story spotlighting the rest of Amanda and Adam’s incredible Aikens adventure. Their 10th wedding anniversary was a celebration for the ages, inspired by Amanda’s mom and dad who first came to Aikens nearly 50 years ago and enjoyed many trips way back in the day.