août 11, 2016
Aikens Lake is known to produce some pretty spectacular moments. Just ask Sidney Reid. The 10-year-old from Fonthill, Ontario recently created one of the most unbelievable, epic days in Aikens’ history.
“I don’t think anybody’s ever going to be able to beat that Century Club mark,” said Aikens Pro-Staff head guide Jesse Lariviere, who was as animated as anybody as Sidney reeled in one giant fish after another on that fateful July 27.
Sidney and her father, Chris, had arrived at Aikens the day before looking forward to some special father-daughter bonding time. They debuted at Aikens the year before, when Sidney caught a Master Angler walleye and made the Century Club both full days of her trip.
“I’m pretty busy back at home with work, so the whole point of going to Aikens is to spend quality time together, which is awesome,” said Chris. “But in terms of fishing, I was wondering if we could match last year.”
We now know the answer to that one.
The magic started about an hour into their first full day, with scattered clouds and temps in the low 70s. Sidney, Chris and guide Jesse tried two spots for half an hour each without any bites, then zipped across the lake to fish the opposite shore at North Bear. Within 20 minutes they started catching solid walleyes in the low to mid 20-inch range. Then Sidney hooked a giant.
She played it perfectly and successfully landed a 30-inch trophy! At the same time, her dad caught a 25-inch walleye, sending a shockwave through Jesse, who quickly released the 25-incher in a flash so they could focus on Sidney’s trophy.
“I have to breathe,” said Jesse, shaking with excitement. “Let me relax for a second.”
“I just thought, ‘Woah, that’s a pretty big fish. It might be a Master Angler,’” said Sidney.
They carefully measured its 30-inch length––which Jesse stated was likely the longest walleye of the season thus far––snapped some instant-classic photos, and quickly released the fish in perfect health.
“Sidney was grinning from ear to ear,” Chris said. “She was feeding off of Jesse’s excitement, and then it started to sink in for her.”
They resumed catching 24- to 26-inch walleyes for the next hour and a half, when suddenly lightning struck again. Sidney caught another monster walleye, this one measuring 29.5 inches.
“The excitement was unreal,” said Chris, who several minutes later spotted what appeared to be a giant pike surfacing 30 feet from the boat. “We decided to break for lunch and Jesse and I said, ‘There’s no way we’re going to be able to top this morning.”
“Well, we might be able to top it,” said Sidney, who’s entering 5th grade this fall and enjoys soccer, swimming and art class.
After a tasty shorelunch, they went right back to the same spot at North Bear and caught a few more walleyes. Around 3pm, the cisco Sidney was jigging was devoured by something huge, and the battle was on once again. A big splash revealed a trophy pike, and after several nerve-wrecking runs Sidney landed her third Master Angler fish of the day, a 41-inch pike!
“The chaos started again,” Chris said. “Jesse started breathing heavily and at this point Sidney fully understood how special this was. It helps having such a fantastic guide, too. Jesse is so good with engaging Sidney in conversation in the boat.”
“The pike was my favorite fish because it’s the biggest fish I ever caught,” said Sidney, who also saw her first-ever moose on this trip. “We had to take the picture from farther away because the fish was so long.”
Sidney went to dinner that evening and received a celebrity welcome.
“It was like she was a super star,” Chris said. “Everybody was coming up and wanting to talk with her and congratulate her. Everyone was so nice and Sidney was very excited. Some guys who’ve been coming to Aikens for years came up to Sid and said, ‘We need help fishing. We’re going to interview you to find out how you’re catching all these big fish.’”
“At dinner I got the pictures and the cups presented to me, which was pretty neat,” Sidney said. “A lot of people wanted to see the pictures.”
Believe it or not, though, Chris said the epic fishing was not the highlight of the trip.
“The best for us is being on the boat together, listening to the water and just completely relaxing. That’s our favorite part of this whole trip,” said Chris, who intentionally gave Sidney extra independence on the trip with greater freedom and responsibility for her to set the day’s itinerary and prepare accordingly. “We’d go down to the water in the evenings and play cards, go swimming or build a sand castle. We did a nature hike and saw tons of eagles and other birds. Aikens is a great place to unwind and unplug. I loved sitting by the beach and just chatting with Sid.”
Sidney, for her part, responded extremely well and thrived at Aikens.
“Sidney’s a great kid and, clearly, she’s a great angler,” said Pit. “We really enjoy hosting Sidney and her dad. The staff always likes seeing them enjoying their time together.”
Sidney enjoyed a special night celebrating with her dad after her legendary day of fishing. Chris extended her bedtime by over two hours to midnight as the duo walked the beach, relived the day’s excitement and visited with other guests at Big Molly’s.
Assuming Sidney would naturally be tired the next morning, Chris gave guide Jesse a heads up that night that they’d likely sleep in and start fishing later the next day. But low and behold, Sidney set her alarm, got her gear together and made sure her dad was up and ready to go first thing the next morning.
And wouldn’t you know it? She went out and made the Century Club again the very next day.
Please join us in congratulating Sidney Reid on her amazing day!
Click here or on the image below to watch an on-the-water YouTube video of Sidney's big day.