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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, it's really him. And if you don't know who "him" is, click here.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Looks like it's going to be nice. Totally new layout though. The temporary bar is in the basement and is a Tiki Lounge.
We finally got Internet this morning... talk about a bunch of LOSERS !!!
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.
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.
Then it was back to the cabin for a nice Spaghetti Supper and a movie. Another great day at FHL.
Another amazing day on L.O.W......
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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, 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....?
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.
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.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.
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.
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. very subtle......
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.