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Makin' Waves column: The thrill of a good dog fight

Maybe it is because I was raised in a neighborhood called Crazy Cove. Maybe it is because I tend to do things that are a bit out of the "norm" at times. But more than likely, it is because I love battling with big fish. Regardless, I have no qualms telling you that I love catching dogfish. Big dogfish.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking, who in his right mind would fish for dogfish? Well, here I am. And I am telling you, it is a ride. You can spend your time catching puny bass that will pull a little and maybe dance a bit, but tie into a 10-pound doggie and find out who is pulling who around. These primitive fish were around when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth and haven't changed much since. They can gulp a breath of air from the surface when dissolved oxygen levels get low and live out of water for a considerable amount of time. They are tough, homely and aggressive survivors.

I was a privileged youth; I grew up on a bay that the dogfish spawned in heavily. Each summer when the time was right, in came the doggies. The males first; in their spawning colors, breathtaking blues and greens. Then came the big girls. Eight-pound-plus females loaded with a couple pounds of eggs each.

Those were the nights that despite mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds, I would be on the dock waiting for the battle. Simple approach with heavy tackle was the way to go; hang a big sucker minnow under a bobber and wait. On a good night, I would land a half a dozen or so, always hoping for that big one. And some big ones I did catch. Once I knew I had one approaching the state record weight, so I went to officially weigh it in at the local bait store. One can only imagine what was going through the bait shop guys' minds when I walked through that door with my doggie.

Oh, and don't think I was alone in my adventures. The neighbors caught onto what I was doing after a few nights. They started appearing on the docks around dark bobber fishing too. Of course, they claimed to be fishing for walleyes, but I knew better. I knew that they were after a good dog fight.