Jake Lucas Trout Diary
Jake Lucas, my grandfather and fishing mentor to family and friends, kept a written diary of his daily trout catches on Michigan streams from 1954 to 1976. The diary includes place, weather conditions, baits or lures, largest fish, total fish and other notes. The diary may represent the only existing record of the trout population of brook trout, browns and rainbows (not to mention steelhead) in many of Michigan’s noted trout streams though this time period. While the diary is in spreadsheet format, he was inspired to add this account after a couple great days of fishing.
1965 – May 6
Fished Little Manistee above public fishing site at Indian Club Bridge. Hooked a large RB (rainbow) in a deep run by some stumps on a curve. He jumped and then he tore downstream for 40 or 50 yards. I turned loose the reel and he unwound line from the reel faster than anything I have ever hooked. He turned into the slow side of the stream and moved up into a drift and got loose.
Had a strike by another RB in front of the drift. Hooked another one about 20 feet in front of the same drift. Played it until I thought I could get it into my net. Had it close in front of me and started the net up it’s tail – then he turned head first into the net and a hook caught the net and the fish pulled loose.
I was ready for a straight jacket. Boy: I was mad and disgusted.
Hooked another one in a run of water by some raft type cover. He was smaller than the other two and I finally got him into the net downstream about 75 or 100 yards. It was a 27 inch male. I took it back to the car and met Doc (Dr. Pratt) at about 11: AM. He had an 18 + a 12 inch Brown. In the afternoon went back to the same area (points 3 to 5) caught another 27 inch female, + one 20 inch male and had another good one and my line broke inside the reel because of a grooved pickup pin.
Friday AM, May 7
Hooked a big one and he broke my line so quick I didn’t have a chance. I think the grooves in my rod tip cut it. Hooked a big one by the tail and lost it. I just could not wear it down. He got off after going downstream from me. Hooked a really big one but he went downstream and just dogged it in the middle of the stream. Felt like I was hooked to a snag because I could pull hard and he would just stay there. Finally he bore downstream rolled on the surface and the hook came out.
The following is a handwritten note in Jake’s diary from Doc Pratt (first a client for Jake’s guide business, later to become a close fishing buddy)
I never saw anything to beat this – what it takes Jake has and aplenty. Accuracy and handling and the lure in the water tell a tale and my experience was worth every cent – a real pleasure.
Nice post. Enjoyed it. Love the photo.
“What is a diary as a rule? A document useful to the person who keeps it. Dull to the contemporary who reads it and invaluable to the student, centuries afterwards, who treasures it.” –Sir Walter Scott
The mention of broken line from the pick-up pin and again from the grooved
line guide really date this story! I think steelhead fishing may be responsible
for a large amount of tackle improvement in the last fifty years. I remember
my first encounter with large rainbows in the early seventies. Instant broken
line….over and over again! nickle steel rod tips and pick-up pins would groove
very easily over time and needed to be dressed down to keep them smooth.
I am surprised that Jake was a victim of this as anyone who knew him, knows
that he spent a good deal of time tuning and cleaning his rods and reels.
Great story! Somewhere I have a photo of Doc Pratt and his airplane at
the Baldwin airport.