DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — There are good days fishing. There are great days fishing. And then there are days likely never to be repeated.
Spencer Deutz, 14-year-old Adi Houkom and 10-year-old Ryder Houkom experienced the latter recently on Devils Lake.
And it came at the perfect time — in a tournament.
Adi and Ryder, of West Fargo, won the Angler/Young Angler Tournament on the big lake July 10, weighing five walleyes that totaled 38.69 pounds.
That's an average of 7.74 pounds per walleye.
It's one of the largest five-fish bags to ever be recorded on Devils Lake at a tournament, according to the Facebook page Visit Devils Lake that is run by the city's chamber of commerce.
"It was out of control," said Deutz, a Fargo angler who is the Houkoms' uncle. "The bobbers kept going down and the fish kept getting bigger and bigger. It was crazy."
The AYA tournament, hosted by the FM Walleyes Unlimited of Fargo-Moorhead and Lake Region Anglers of Devils Lake fishing clubs, has 40 teams consisting of one angler over 18 years old and two anglers 17 or younger. Teams are allowed to keep eight walleyes, with the five biggest fish weighed and counted.
Turns out, the Deutz/Houkom/Houkom team only needed two fish.
Adi caught the biggest fish in the girls division, a 9.98-pound lunker. Ryder caught the largest walleye among the boys, weighing 7.90 pounds. Combined, those fish weighed 17.88 pounds. The second-place team of Tyler, Taya and Jake Feist caught five fish totaling 16.26 pounds.
Deutz said they caught the fish using slip bobbers and leeches over a rock pile in 20-25 feet of water. The tournament started at 8 a.m. and Adi and Ryder had two big fish in the boat by 8:30. They were the only ones fishing the hot spot until about 11 a.m.
The tournament launches out of the public access near Lakewood Park on Creel Bay, and anglers are limited to the main part of the lake.
"We had fished there the evening before and didn't really do much, but when we went out and tried it in the morning the fish were there. They must've moved in overnight," Deutz said. "It was insane. I don't think it can get any better."
Deutz and the Houkoms have fished the AYA six times. They finished second three times. This time was one for the record books.
Deutz, a Yamaha Pro Angler, isn't a stranger to catching big walleyes on Devils Lake. He won the Angler Insight Marketing tournament on the lake last year, pulling in five fish with a partner that weighed an estimated 42.87 pounds. But that was a catch/record/release tournament and the walleyes were assigned weights according to their length. The weights, Deutz said, are always exaggerated.
"For example, the 29 3/4 inch we caught counted for 11.03 pounds, which was way more than it actually weighed," Deutz said. "If we weighed those five fish live they would've been 35-ish."
Adi and Ryder's fish were actually weighed on a scale, giving them one of the heftiest limits ever caught in a Devils Lake tournament.