Kristi Takasaki reeled steadily and the bluegill she hooked wiggled through the water. Her 4-year-old dog Lindy went crazy, barking and yipping as he sprinted from one end of the dock to the other.
I don't speak dog, but it was clear Lindy was excited. He was alerting the neighbors and much of the county, "Fish on." As the fish got closer to shore, Lindy became more frenzied. The only question was whether or not he would go off the deep end. Literally.
I have seen dogs on point for pheasant in the grass but I don't think I ever had seen a dog on point at the end of a pier staring down a fish.
The chief hazard of fishing at Gull Lake with the Takasaki family is keeping the catch out of the jaws of the Yorkshire terrier. You know those TV fishing shows when the guide and client go batty over a catch? Compared to Lindy, they are mummified. If you don't raise the fish high enough, Lindy will snatch it off the hook with an impressive vertical leap.
Given that the fish were biting at a ridiculous pace, this meant the three humans bearing fishing poles nearly exhausted Lindy into a coma. We caught 65 bluegill in 90 minutes on a lark. At one point, Lindy took a time out to lie down inside and drink water, away from the 80-degree sun.
"He has jumped in the water before," Ted Takasaki said of his fish-addled dog.
Takasaki, 49, a professional walleye tour competitor, is president of the manufacturer "Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle" in central Minnesota. It is the job that yanked him out of a lifetime spent in Illinois about six years ago. Somehow, naming the dog for the gear transmitted a passion for fish into the animal's DNA. Lindy's 9-year-old Yorkshire terrier companion is named Lucky. Only he isn't. He doesn't have the slightest interest in fish.
"I think he's scared of fish," said Kristi, Ted's 19-year-old daughter.
Several times, Lindy dashed from one end of the dock to the other, taking the corners on the squared off horseshoe-like structure very tightly. Usually, when he does go swimming - doing the dog paddle, of course - it is accidental.
"Every once in a while, he gets so excited he leaps into the water and then he looks really surprised," Kristi said.
Lindy should consider auditioning for David Letterman's stupid pet tricks routine. No offense meant.
Meanwhile, back at the fish. Takasaki intended to take his boat out on the glistening lake as sunset approached, but after throwing a few casts with a slip bobber rig carrying wax worms, it was obvious the fish were coming to us.
The bluegill came up fast and big in 4 feet of water. I reeled in a chunker of a bluegill, careful not to allow kidnapping by Lindy.
"Holy buckets," Takasaki said. "That's a fish."
The 11-inch bluegill astounded Takasaki.
"These have to be some of the biggest bluegill we've had over here," he said. "Just a couple of days ago, there wasn't a fish out here."
Takasaki made an editorial decision. He invaded the kitchen and talked wife Lorraine into dumping dinner's main course in favor of a bluegill fish fry.
"The pressure's on now," he said. "We have to catch some fish."
"What have we been doing?" I asked.
"Those were all the lucky ones," Takasaki said of the catch-and-release batch.
Bluegill of 8, 9 and 10 inches were bagged.
The water was sparkling clear. If I tossed a bobber just a few feet I could watch a crowd of 20 bluegill converge on the bait. Finally, the curious one in the bunch would strike and we had another fish for the table. Eventually, the fish stopped biting.
"I think they figured out all of their friends were disappearing, that he bit that thing and he was gone," Kristi said.
Dinner featured corn on the cob, rice, beans, and deep-fried bluegill.
"That fish is about as fresh as it could be," Lorraine Takasaki said. "Three hours ago they were swimming around."
No one looked more satisfied about the catch than Lindy. He didn't bark about it but he even ate the fish cooked.