FHL 2006
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The Three Muskie-Teers

Welcome to the Journal 2006. So far the trip has been virtually perfect. Other than not having internet at the cabin for three days, things are going along without a hitch. 


Friday

Thanks to Fred's connections, we got upgraded on the long 3 1/2 flight to Mpls. Although "First Class" seemed to describe the seat more than the passenger...

First Class.jpg (113394 bytes) (click to enlarge)

Boomers.jpg (151955 bytes)  We drove straight to "Hotel Snoot" and then off to the traditional dinner at Boomer's (AKA BeeBop's) for their delicious ribs and a few inaugural pitchers of beer. 


Saturday

Then, on Saturday morning, up and off to the State Fair. The weather was absolutely perfect. Light overcast and hi 70's. Not a drop of rain, and no crowds. I think some people were scared off due to the forecasted rain (which never appeared). We made the entire rotation and had a blast doing it. 

First stop is Tom Thumb donuts. (NOT Tiny Tim... don't be ridiculous) All you can drink-milk.jpg (238612 bytes) and a trip to the "All you can drink" milk booth. Since it goes so well with the hot, fresh donuts. 

This year, we had the added bonus of converting Kari. Amazingly, she finally saw the light and abandoned the dark and small-minded DFL and came over to the Right Side of the Force. Congratulations Kari. Kari see's the light.jpg (256297 bytes)

Leinie Lodge.jpg (386083 bytes) Naturally, we had to make a stop at the Leinie Lodge so Fred could salivate over the t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Big Boar.jpg (367215 bytes) Next on to the "Big Boar" contest. Here is this year's winner. What a beauty. Really....

Ron and Kj.jpg (284737 bytes) Made another stop off to say hi to Ron Schara. He's a good guy. He wanted to come with us to the cabin but unfortunately we didn't have room. Sorry Ron.

Three Muskie-Teers.jpg (338287 bytes) During our regular tour of the "Grandstand" we decided to get some team caps. This year, we're the Three Muskie-Teers. I guess we'll see.....

cheese curds.jpg (329130 bytes) The usual stop at the "Cheese Curd" place. Of course.... some enjoy these more than others. 

 Snickers on a Stick.jpg (338807 bytes) Since Spanky is a Fair Virgin, we had to take him to the Candy Bars on a Stick booth. He had a Snickers on a Stick. Fred too. But Snoot had a Three Musketeers on a Stick. Trying to Mock the Three Muskie-Teers I suppose. 

The Frontier Bar.jpg (375408 bytes) Our usual stop a the Frontier Bar was a blast. We had a few more cold boys, and of course...

The Fair on a Stick.jpg (277175 bytes) some food on a stick. 

Martha's Cookies.jpg (316488 bytes) Before leaving the Fair, we made our usual stop at Martha's Cookies to get a bucket for the cabin. Yum.... 

Cone Head.jpg (160846 bytes)  Note the cone-head 

Later that afternoon, after the fair, we made a run to Cabela's in Rogers, MN to get some essentials (more rods). And guess who we ran into. 

Me and the Coach.jpg (133937 bytes)  Yes, it's really him. And if you don't know who "him" is, click here.

Cabela's Cub.jpg (300771 bytes)  While we were at Cabela's I had to stop and admire the actual Piper Cub they have landing over the mountain. The propeller was actually turning too. 


Sunday 

So... we made good time on the drive up and got an early jump in the morning. And subsequently we pull into Jerry's a little earlier than usual. It's only about 4:00 PM. We made good time. And while we're having our first cold beer, glad to be off the road, word begins to spread that "The pig is ready". Well, to our joy and amazement, we discover that the local folks have organized a potluck and we're just in time. Turns out they've roasted a whole pig, two deep fried turkeys, and a 12 foot table full of pies, salads, hot dish, and watermelon. Can you imagine? We made a quick run out the to cabin to drop off the groceries, then back to Rick's for a feast. What a deal.

roast pig.jpg (657508 bytes)  The pig        Labor Day Pot Luck.jpg (424657 bytes) The "pig out"   

Chicago Sausage.jpg (509757 bytes) A couple of guys from Chicago brought 25 lbs of Chicago Sausage. Oh My GOD !!! It was amazing. I ate about a pound myself.

Like Always.jpg (293381 bytes) By the time we finally got back to the cabin for the night,  it was just what you might expect. Calm, sunny, 75 degrees, and Spanky got busy at the fire pit. 

What, me worry.jpg (271972 bytes) It was a nice ride from Young's bay to the cabin.

Fire Pit.jpg (395270 bytes)  Nice fire of course, and finally...... we have arrived.    This was the first night.....The first night.jpg (174298 bytes)


Monday - Labor Day

 Our first official day of fishing and it was a good one. We motored north and caught fish all day. Nothing to brag about, but steady. We finally decided to start keeping some small ones so we could at least make a meal. On the day, we probably caught 16-20 fish. But to be honest, this is the lightest 6 fish limit I think we've ever bagged. Oh well, catching is catching.

Small Keeper.jpg (497962 bytes) We caught a few bigger than this but still not "picture worthy". Hey, at least we got our limit.

Eagle.jpg (442948 bytes) Just a typical local resident. 

Eagle 4.jpg (210479 bytes) As always, the Bald Eagles were with us all day. Eagle 3.jpg (85834 bytes)

big rock.jpg (201257 bytes) At one point, you have to just stop and admire what the retreating glaciers left behind. How does a big rock just get dropped on the beach. And there it lays for what, another 10 million years? What will the fishing be like then?

Meerkat.jpg (121629 bytes) Just like last year, we got a peak at a this creature. Hard as heck to get a decent shot, but this was better than last year's picture. I'm being told it's a Meerkat, but I'm skeptical. I think Meerkat are lighter in color. But what ever it is, it was busy on the shoreline. 

Sunset.jpg (465697 bytes) On the way home, we stopped off to see the newly build "Sunset Lodge" it burned down in November and is still under construction.

Sunset Interior.jpg (409689 bytes) Interior        Sunset Deck.jpg (432875 bytes) Future view...

 Looks like it's going to be nice. Totally new layout though. The temporary bar is in the basement and is a Tiki Lounge. 

Tiki Bar.jpg (452889 bytes) But after a long day on the lake, who's going to be choosy?

Business Meeting.jpg (307489 bytes) Once back at the cabin, it was back to the board room for another business meeting. 


Tuesday

We finally got Internet this morning... talk about a bunch of LOSERS !!!

Web-connected LOSERS.jpg (352986 bytes) About 9:00 in the morning... we eventually realized that we were sitting INSIDE the cabin, looking at pictures OF US, that we just took yesterday. We need some professional help......

But fear not, we eventually logged off of our computers and did some actual, outdoorsy stuff. We loaded up the Gunboat and headed north into Canada to pursue the elusive Walleye. Floated around Lilly Island for a while, then further north to the gap in Tranquil Channel. 

Tranquil.jpg (489896 bytes) where we picked up a small Walleye but eventually moved on.

From there we started working our way north with lunch at Kenora on our minds. Being a bit low on fuel, we decided to play it safe and go straight to town passing "Devil's Rock" on the way.

Devil's Rock.jpg (351954 bytes) This rock is actually much larger than it looks. Probably about 7 feet tall and 6 feet across. It is routinely painted and re-painted by the locals.

Whistling Monkey-Kenora.jpg (564941 bytes) Once in town, we hit the usual spots. Stopping first at the Whistling Monkey Pub for a pint of Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale. Very nice.

Hap's-Kenora.jpg (526754 bytes) Then lunch at Hap's. A nice table outside and a cold Canadian Labatt... They gave us about 2 1/2 lbs of French fries each. No one could finish their lunch. 

Nice Beaver.jpg (469907 bytes)  Nice Beaver... what can I say?

Shipwreck.jpg (373274 bytes)  Then we started home (with full fuel) and for some reason, we started missing The Hose Man. I don't know why exactly.....  
Just kidding Hose. 

 We made stops at the Storm Spot, Gator Bay, and a few miscellaneous places that had Muskie potential but with no luck. Muskie Hunter - Deep Water Bay.jpg (215808 bytes)

We did however see a couple nice Eagles.Eagle 2 - Tug Channel.jpg (288720 bytes) Eagle in Tug Channel

Storm Spot.jpg (506926 bytes) Storm Spot        

Then it was back to the cabin for a nice Spaghetti Supper and a movie. Another great day at FHL.

Sunset over Flag.jpg (291965 bytes) If this shot doesn't end up as somebody's computer wallpaper, I would be surprised. That's Flag Island under the setting sun.

Tuesday Sunset.jpg (108597 bytes)  Cyclone Island on the right. 


Wednesday

Another amazing day on L.O.W......

Bass Master.jpg (378807 bytes)  Me and Fred the "Crappie King" spent the day on the lake while Spanky took the first of several "Cabin Days" (well deserved I might add).

Bass Master Mayday.jpg (307774 bytes)  Not to be outdone, "Bass Master Mayday" also found the honey pot. Only in his case, it was Bass....

No fish.jpg (294096 bytes)  Just for the record,  we spent an hour and a half on this spot and got ZERO fish. There's no telling.....

Muskie Hunter.jpg (309302 bytes)  For those of you who are trying to improve your form, here's the correct way to cast a Muskie lure...

Eagle - Wednesday.jpg (334281 bytes)  The day on the lake was of course, breathtaking...  But there's nothing quite like pulling up to your 

"Happy Place" for the night......My Happy Place.jpg (321553 bytes)

We saw a number of Eagles and on the way in at the end of the day, we came across a spectacular Eagle's nest with the proud papa keeping watch.

Eagle's nest by Monument Bay-2.jpg (337140 bytes) What a sight...Eagle's nest by Monument Bay.jpg (281575 bytes)

No fish over there either.jpg (321082 bytes) If you're wondering where there are no fish... we have no shortage of information on that topic.

Steak Fry.jpg (377211 bytes) What is a great end to a great day? The steak fry. 

Master Chef Fred grilled up some delicious Rib Eye, complete with fresh sweet corn, sautéed Mushrooms, red potatoes and a nice Salad. Nobody deserves to live like this.  In case you're wondering about the pose, it was actually a still-shot of the "Supper's Ready" dance.


Thursday

Overall a pretty good day at FHL... Spanky took another "cabin day" and me and Fred hit the lake. First a quick trip over to Frank's place to make use of his printer and fax. Had to get some paperwork signed and off for business...

We stopped at Flag to get some ice and some bait. Picked up some minnows. Then up towards Monument bay to find some Walleye. Spent an hour or two floating over some points and finally picked up a keeper. Bear in mind, everything looks smaller in Fred's hands. This was actually a nice fish. 

A keeper.jpg (259334 bytes) Got two nice filets out of it anyway....

Jiggin' for Walleye.jpg (282563 bytes)  After a couple of hours of bouncing around (this is the only windy day so far...) we stopped into the resort at Monument Bay. They have a great place to sit and have a sandwich. Fred had hooked us up with sammies, cold drinks and a bag of jalapeño pickles. So we sat at that little table outside the tackle shop and visited with the lady who runs the place. She told us about a Mamma bear and four cubs that have been wandering through the camp. Looked to her like two cubs were from last year and two were from this year. Anyway, when you have a resort full of kids, you can't have bears wandering around. So they did their best to chase them away, but after two days, they finally had to be destroyed. Very sad. 

Grumpy's dock.jpg (410604 bytes) At this point, we made a conscious decision to just go Pub Crawlin'. From there the day got much funner. First we went to Grumpy's. The water level is very low. I've never seen it this low. We had to idle up the finger and at times, there was dry land on both sides of the boat within arms reach. By the time we got to that dock across the street from the bar, there wasn't even room to turn the boat around. We were sitting on the bottom as we tied off the boat. And afterwards, we had to back out.

Grumpy's is under new ownership since last October and you'll be happy to know that it's BACK to its former glory. They installed a new Big Screen TV, and a flat panel behind the bar. They have happy FRIENDLY people working there, and they're actually glad to see you come in. What a change. The new owners are a husband & wife from Pequot Falls, and I met the wife and her son. Very friendly. We told them about the original picture standing on the bar and they offered to put us behind the bar for another picture. 

Grumpy's.jpg (211520 bytes)  Unfortunately, we were getting a little fuzzy by this time, so the picture seems to reflect that.  Then it was off to Jerry's where we reunited with those guys from Chicago who brought all the sausage for the Pig Roast on Sunday. They were a hoot and we spent some quality time with them and Don, the guy who owned the Bonnie Brae for 27 years. All nice and very happy people. This place seems to attract that type.  I don't understand how we were the one's drinking and the photographer kept getting worse and worse... huh...Chicago Boys.jpg (247899 bytes)

Back to the cabin to pick up Spanky, then we motored over to the resort, JUST IN TIME to walk into the Blue Eyed Chief, get a cold beer (from our personal waitress) and tune up the NFL on the Big screen. Yes, they gave me the remote... of course. Ready for some football.jpg (240766 bytes)  

Not only that, but they had some cold Leinie in the fridge and we had some "Thirsty" people. to satisfy.....thirsty boy.jpg (283769 bytes)

Blue Eyed Chief - 1.jpg (281944 bytes) As I mentioned, we had the bar to ourselves....And to make things better, we dropped of some fresh fish fillet's earlier in the morning, and Dan the Man worked his wonder. First he brought us some Walleye Fritters, his famous recipe, and then with the help of his cook, they served up a nice dinner of Fried Walleye, fried potatoes, and Pizza for Spanky, the non-fish eater. There was a larger party coming in later that night, so he had a nice salad bar setup in the lodge and we got to share in that as well. While I was in the lodge, I took a moment to remember my Wedding Vows as they were pronounced on that very spot four short years ago. Nice memories....

After Dinner.jpg (439198 bytes) After dinner, basking in our "fullness". You may be wondering what is going on with Fred's face in some of these shots. Apparently, we have made comments about his "Fake Plastic Banana Smile" which appears every time a camera comes out. So in protest he has elected to replace the phony smile with a scowl. Ok... what ever....I guess we'll see how that works out.

After a cold and dark ride back to the cabin, another great night's sleep. I wonder what tomorrow holds....?


Friday

A great finale to a great week. The weather was just breezy enough to make things interesting...

Spanky took the last of his "cabin days" while me and Fred hit the high seas. We decided to spend the day casting for Muskie, consequences be damned. And that's exactly what we did. Roughly 6 hours later, we had seen a couple of nice Fish, landed none of them, but at least we got to see some big fish.

Casting.jpg (409100 bytes)  You might think that a "follow" is no big deal, but I'm here to tell you, when a fish that size hits your lure, and then sort of wanders off... it's more exciting than one might think. Casting kj.jpg (306197 bytes)

Lunch Spot.jpg (385646 bytes)    We spent most of the morning throwing muskie lures and then stopped to have a nice lunch at a little place I know. Lunch spot 2.jpg (396338 bytes)

Lunch spot fred.jpg (360822 bytes) What a great place to stop and have a sandwich, and a cold drink. You might be catching fish, you might not. What's the difference?

Sportsman's Lodge Oak Island.jpg (409325 bytes) Then it was off to the Sportsman's Lodge Oak Island. And from there, a quick stop at FHL to pick up Spanky and off to Jerry's. We had the good fortune of meeting up with those Chicago boys again. This time, they had a "private" jar of pickles. Garlic/Dill if I'm not mistaken, and we got to share. What a good bunch.  The guy in the white shirt caught a 51 inch Muskie on Sunday. And then, two casts later, caught a 47 incher. We invited him to go F**k himself. And he understood.Chicago boys.jpg (313882 bytes)

Sunset.jpg (320317 bytes) The drive back to the cabin from Jerry's was very stressful. In front of us, was the most beautiful, and enormous full moon rising above Flag Island, and behind us was this sunset. It was a real struggle to decide which way to look. Much stress.....The moon was impossible to photograph. Sorry. this is a shot of the sunset. Best we could do.

Tomorrow it's a long drive to Minneapolis, then a short flight home on Sunday. For all practical purposes, the trip's over. Not a sad thing, just a fact.


Saturday

Group Shot 2006.jpg (496010 bytes) The 2006 Crew.

It's always hard to leave the cabin, even at the end of a successful trip.... especially at the end of a successful trip. But this year was harder than most. A great week of great weather, great fishing, great fun and not one problem or incident. Back to the grind just doesn't seem all that inviting right now.

But we left, and made a smooth drive back to Hotel Snoot in exactly eight hours. Left Young's bay at 11:00 AM and pulled into Snoot's driveway at 7:00 PM "on the nuts" as Kari would say.


Sunday

Good night's rest, a hot shower and some quick laundry and we're ready to fly home. But first, you can imagine the appetites that we developed after a week of eating like kings. Here's what the crew looks like as they're waiting for French Toast and Bacon. Waiting for Breakfast.jpg (443835 bytes) very subtle......

Even Buck got into the action. And your right Buck, that Fred is a stinky one.... Smelly.jpg (284030 bytes)

We timed things just right, got to watch most of the early games from a nice bar at the airport. A couple of brewski's and some hot wings and we're ready for first class back to Vegas. Home and safe.

Trips like this are contradictions. On one hand, you can't figure out why you don't just live at some cabin on a lake somewhere. Why all the work and hassle and stress of your real life? And then, on the other hand, it really does remind you why you work as hard as you do. Someday, you'll be in that cabin on that lake. And hopefully, you'll have the money, and the health to enjoy it. So I guess.... it's back to work.

Thanks for riding along. And keep your rod up.

- Mayday