Whose Fish..?
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Whose Fish Is It?


New Years Eve 1999!  The final moments of the big millennium.  I don’t know about you folks but I’m about Y2K’d out.  You know how IT people are though.  Lots of planning, discussing, and words to scare and worry the people that actually do the work so as to give the impression that they are totally the saviors of the company and worth every penny of their exorbitant salary.  I think I have already been invited to attend a pre-Y3K meeting. 

  scene of incident.JPG (37860 bytes) (click to enlarge)

Well anyway, I digress!  Part of the Fox Harbor brain trust decided the safest place to be when this world ending event hit would be a beautiful lodge on an island in the northern most part of  Minnesota that is totally self sufficient and non-reliant of the every day luxuries like phones, television, electricity, running water, waitresses, and adult book stores.


The ride up was free of the normal white out conditions and ice covered roads.  There was rumor of one vehicle being attacked by a forest but that turned out to be a case of passenger obstruction.  We had the normal check-in at Jerry’s Library and then across the frozen water to our cold safe haven. 


Now you have to remember that the FHL team is comprised of a mix of experts that meld perfectly into a well oiled camping and fishing machine.  The electrician stealthily searched out the circuit box and proceeded to totally rewire the entire cabin.  The wood procurer boldly sat down by a huge pile of wood and proceeded to drink beer.  The facilities manager discreetly set up what is passionately referred to as  “the bucket”.  The cook stumbled around and plopped down by the grill with 12 pack in hand and I unloaded all of the equipment and supplies.


The next morning the bombardier showed up promptly at 7:30 (editor’s note: a Bombardier is a giant van on skis that resembles a pregnant beetle from space.) and away we went.  Everyone with high expectations!  Each person had their own rationalization and perfectly good logic as to why this day was going to be the day we really laid into them.  A catch your limit, go back and sit by the fire kind of a day.  My logic was that the fish had not been biting so they were bound to turn on with the current changing of the weather.  Mike’s logic was that this year he would try using live bait and not set the hook quite so hard.  Ed’s logic was that it said “Fish Here” on his map (he was just happy to have made it), and Hoser’s approach was that this year he was not going to pick up a single magazine.  Denny’s plan was simple, this year he WAS going to change underwear before returning home! 


Well anyway, after 5-6 hours of solving many world issues, fixing three relationships, and a brief discussion of what makes women tick and how can we please them more we were bored.  At that point one starts to get up off his chair a lot and peruse the fish house in search of snacks, reading material and to cover someone else’s line should they need to get up for the same purpose. This is a common practice and considered a courtesy to your shack-mates.  Well it’s at this point that the story turns to the very real question of morality and honesty.  Honesty is the basic fiber that bonds all fishermen and sportsmen.  More powerful than blood or the simple  “I Do”.  


In this episode the “author” in a friendly gesture, reached out the fish house door to retrieve his fishing partner a refreshment and sure enough, a bobber went down.  Now remember when everyone first shows up in the house in the morning they get out their secret lures and presentations, some of which are precise enough to rival the detailed handywork of brain surgeons or bartenders.


Basically it is the specifics of “that” rig that sets his presentation apart and ultimately decides the success of the day.  Well, noticing the bobber dive deep into the hole I……er….the author woke up his buddy and said, “Scott, will you please gently retrieve MY nice 27” walleye that I have caught.”

                                                                                       the author.JPG (32320 bytes) (Click to enlarge)

He appeared to be struggling and as the fish appeared in the hole it started flopping uncontrollably and for fear the house may be tipped over by its size and strength the author calmly and expertly and without hesitation gilled the monster microseconds before its inevitable escape back to the cold dark water of Lake of the Woods. 


Since this incident there has been some confusion as to “whose fish is this?”.  I would like to interject an analogy at this point that may remove any shred of doubt as to whose fish that was.  In the bow hunting ethical code book there was sometimes confusion as to whose deer it was when one hunter would hit a deer and a buddy (I use the term loosely) would maybe trail the blood the next day and retrieve the deer either by shooting it again or finding it dead.  The rule is “First Blood” owns the deer.  I relate that to the rigging of the line as basically drawing first blood because any subsequent activity is simply retrieving dead game.


Well I’m pretty swamped and I can’t spend anymore valuable work time on this issue. But I leave you with this one question. 


Whose Fish Is It?            hose-shack.JPG (35423 bytes) (the fish in question)


David Maguire