Steve Beyer had never reeled in anything bigger than two or three pounds, and had always used worms and minnows for bait.
Rookie lake fisherman Steve Beyer was in the first cove east of Gills Creek Marina on the Blackwater side of Smith Mountain Lake for his catch.
Well, Steve Beyer is not exactly a total rookie, as the mountain-region newcomer (yes, president of the company publishing this magazine), has a family cabin on an island in a Canadian lake, and has certainly dropped a line or two into it.
“That lake is much less deep than Smith Mountain, and we use worms and minnows up there,” Beyer says. “Down here we were using six-inch shad. A totally different experience.”
Beyer’s excursion, with his son Nick, was on a Rock On Charters boat with Captain Josh Laferty, and was the result of Beyer dropping his business card into the fishbowl (“Get it?”) at Rock On’s booth at the 2013 GoFest in Roanoke. The lucky winner headed out onto Smith Mountain Lake in mid-July.
“Something else I’d never done is get up at 4 a.m.,” says Beyer. “We were on the water by 5:30, but things were quiet – a few hits but no catches – till about noon, when Josh suggested we try a cove where he’d seen lots of fish before.”
The day changed immediately and for the better.
“We caught six or eight fish in 45 minutes,” Beyer says. And then: The Big One.
“I’d never tried to bring in a fish of anywhere near that size,” he says. “Took three or four minutes.”
Beyer and his son released everything they caught, which leads to one other perspective from the rookie: “Take your camera – that way you come home with pictures instead of the fish. That’s better for everybody.”
Name: Steve Beyer
New Outdoor Pursuit: Big-Lake Boat Fishing
First Fruit: 16-pound striper
Initial Take: “I’d never caught a fish bigger than two or three pounds – this was totally different!”
Final Take: “I’d always heard the fish only bite early in the morning and around dusk. Captain Josh has the real story: ‘They eat when they’re ready to.’”