Guide Glen Gisel of Sebago Sport Fishing and Guide Service shows off his trophy from the bottom of Sebago Lake. Contributed / Glen Gisel

We managed to haul in a few nice lake trout first thing in the morning while trolling with clients. We were trolling on bottom using my downriggers and dragging live shiners. Occasionally the line would trip and we would snag bottom, bringing up a clump of pine needles or leaves.

The port rod went off and I grabbed it to set the hook or pull it from bottom; I just wasn’t sure. I felt resistance, then it broke free, then I felt a steady tug on the line. This was a big fish. I passed the rod off to my client and he began pumping the beast in. He, too, remarked that it felt like a really good fish. He had handled a few 3-pounders that morning and this was definitely heavier.

The arcing bend in the rod confirmed our thoughts. I had the net extended and ready, and imagine my chagrin when I pulled in a metal rod holder that had obviously become dislocated from someone’s boat. Another strange catch on the books for Sebago Lake.

If you spend any time on a body of water, you are bound to hear such tales. Likewise, if you troll for lake trout, you are bound to pick things up from the bottom. My dad always said, “If you aren’t catching bottom once in awhile you aren’t fishing deep enough.” True when it comes to Sebago’s lake trout.

Two years ago I was trolling in 60 feet of water off Frye Island with my regular partner, Rene Lavoie. He had a strike and pulled up a steel cable. He was ready to cut it off when I threw him a pair of leather gloves and instructed him to see what was on the other end. As I suspected, he pulled up a down rigger ball and a release, which I gladly added to my collection.

I can’t count how many lures I’ve caught while fishing. Last summer I picked up an old flatfish in the coveted frog pattern, a deadly lake trout lure. I replaced the rear hook with a new one and caught a few lakers on this gift from the deep. Sadly, I snagged a rock and lost it a few weeks later. The big lake giveth and the big lake taketh away!

Perhaps the “luckiest” bottom dragger on the lake is Glen Gisel of Sebago Sport Fishing and Guide Service. Glen is the veteran guide on the lake and has some of the best stories of odd catches. Over the years he has dragged in rods and reels, eye glasses, sunglasses, swim goggles and clothing items – including various bikini parts. He even caught a Rolex watch one time.

The funniest catch I recall Glen showing off was a pair of size 56 BVD men’s underwear. Oh, the story that must go along with the person who jettisoned those shorts! If you spend as much time as Glen does trolling the bottom, I guess you are bound to come up with some oddities!

Tom Roth is a freelance outdoor writer who lives in Raymond on the shore of Sebago Lake. He has been fishing and hunting in this region for more than 30 years and is a Registered Maine Guide.

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