Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 47° Partly Cloudy
Sports >  Outdoors

CaughtOvgard: learning to catch a sucker

The author poses with his first IGFA All-Tackle World Record fish, the Klamath largescale sucker. (Luke Ovgard / COURTESY)
The author poses with his first IGFA All-Tackle World Record fish, the Klamath largescale sucker. (Luke Ovgard / COURTESY)
By Luke Ovgard For The Spokesman-Review

SPRAGUE RIVER, Ore. – James Dyson sucked for a long time before he finally made something that didn’t suck only because – and this is important – it sucked.

Let me explain. Dyson came up with the idea for a bagless vacuum in the late 1970s after becoming disillusioned with a worn-out old Hoover vacuum that used a traditional bag.

His idea to create a vacuum with no loss of suction was great, but the execution was flawed. So flawed, in fact, that he created 5,126 failed prototypes before finding the answer.

Thomas Edison is the popular spirit animal of perseverance, but only failed 1,000 times before the light came on. Dyson failed five times as much.

That sucks. At least, until it actually sucked on the 5,127th time.

Despite a working prototype, no manufacturers in his native United Kingdom bit, and he was forced to release it in Japan in 1983. The vacuum was a huge suc(k)cess there, and you know the rest. People quickly fell in love with the “no loss of suction vacuum” that gained traction nearly as effectively as it maintained suction.

Today, Sir James Dyson controls a multibillion-dollar empire that suctions up more market share than any other vacuum cleaner company.

At every opportunity, Dyson failed. He should’ve quit. He should’ve given up and admitted that sometimes life sucks, and there’s nothing you can do about it, but he refused to adopt that mindset. That, boys and girls, is why Sir James Dyson is one of my personal heroes.


Even with fishing opportunities reopening at an alarming rate, life still sucks for a lot of people. That’s why, for just a moment, I’d like to take you back in time long before COVID-19 was a household topic. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, so bear with me.

From an early age, I loved to fish. My passion became a full-fledged obsession as I grew into my awkward, gangly body. With the venture past adolescence into manhood, I began expanding the areas I fished, the species I targeted and the people I associated with.

When I met my friend Ben Fry on the Oregon Fishing Forum (Facebook was still in its infancy), we quickly hit it off. Ben was an expert angler, and though trout fishing dominated my time, I always wanted to catch a sucker, which Ben had done several times. I know; it’s a strange admission, but it’s true. Dozens and dozens of failed attempts had me listless and less than optimistic about my chances, but I never gave up hope.

One day, Ben invited me to chase perch in an area I’d only fished with lures for trout. Knowing that my options were limited that time of year, I embraced it. I couldn’t help but feel out of sorts fishing with bait. I was a trout purist, by and large, but Ben promised it was the way to go for perch. He wasn’t wrong, and we caught some routine fish until something bigger took my bait. When it first jumped, I thought it was a brown trout because of the golden coloration. When it jumped again, part of my brain registered that it was something different. Upon the third aerial leap, I knew it was a sucker.

The fight raged on, and I finally netted the fish.

It had happened. All of the perseverance, effort, and hard work had paid off. To make things more interesting, the Klamath largescale sucker was so rarely caught by anglers – and never so large a specimen – that I was suddenly a world-record holder. It wasn’t the most glamorous species, but it was still awesome, and the first of several world records to follow. I’d literally etched my name into the record books, and it was all because I’d embraced a change of scenery and not given up. Follow Sir James Dyson’s example and you, too, can eventually turn suck into success.

Read more for free at; Follow on Instagram and Fishbrain @lukeovgard; Contact

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.