Corban Peterson will always have a fishing story about the one that didn’t get away on Paul’s Lake over Labor Day weekend.
In fact, one may ask who was in control as the 5-year-old, at 45 inches tall, reeled with all his might to catch a 9-pound, 34-inch northern pike alongside his father in their boat. In the end, the boy conquered the beast, but not without a fight that completely shredded the landing net.
The weekend began with Corban and his dad, Chad Peterson, of Woodbury, visiting Corban’s grandma Sandra Ekerholm in Cambridge, where they camped together one night and planned to do some fishing.
Not wasting any time, father and son did just that on Friday, Aug. 30, and began trolling the waters of Paul’s Lake. Corban watched as his fishing partner caught a couple. Then the question: “Dad, can we switch poles?”
So they switched, and a half-hour later, “Corban gets a snag … that started moving,” Peterson recalled. On the other end of the line was the mighty northern, and the battle began.
“It was fun to watch him fight this fish,” said Peterson, who did not interfere with the experience. “He could not even keep the pole off the side of the boat, and he had trouble reeling in at times.”
Yet Corban hung on. The fish was close. Dad was the net man. But there was a little problem.
“It was an old rotten net, so after the fish had torn holes in it by going through the net and back into the water four different times, we had to try another approach,” Peterson explained.
That approach? Well, it’s complicated.
Peterson reached one bare hand into the water to grab the fish while holding the net in the air with the other hand so the fishing line could still move freely through it.
“Once it was finally in the boat, Corban dropped his fishing pole and started dancing while singing, ‘Yea, I am awesome, I am awesome,’” Peterson remembered. “This 34-inch, 9-pound northern pike was not a bad catch for a kid who was to be starting kindergarten the next week. Corban also caught a 30-inch, 6-pound northern pike a little while later.”
Ekerholm recalled her grandson’s reaction when he arrived back at her home: “Corban ran in the house and talked really fast with a high-pitched voice,” she said.
The fishing continued the next morning, when Corban started using the same rod and lure. Once again, Peterson caught a couple of quick fish on a different lure. And the question followed: “Dad, can we switch poles again?”
Though Peterson suggested that he might want to keep using the same lucky lure as the night before, Corban replied, “Yea, but the fish clearly are not hungry for that anymore.”
So they switched poles again.