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Phone: 612-382-6927

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265 S Oak St
Waconia, MN
United States


Travis Frank and Trophy Encounters Guide Service specializes in fully-guided fishing trips for Muskie, Walleye, Bass, Northern Pike and Panfish on Lake Minnetonka, Lake Waconia, Lake Mille Lacs and other Metro Minnesota Waters.‚Äč

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Sturgeon Fest 2008... Unbelievable!

Travis Frank

Sturgeonfest2008%20007.jpgHoly Moly!  I don't even know how to describe what just happened.  We just got back from what might just be the fishing trip of a lifetime!  This first picture just sums up everything.  What a giant, prehistoric, powerful and awesome fish.  I just started fumbling through the pictures from our day and a half on the water, and I totalled over 120 pictures.  Just crazy!!!

Friday night/Saturday morning Luke, Dingy, Pauly, Whorl and myself all piled into the truck bound for the Canadien border.  All of us pretty much being virgins to this whole Sturgeon ordeal, we were unsure of what we were getting ourselves into.  Sturgeonfest2008%20003.jpgI have fished them once before, and Dingy tangled with one about 10 years ago, other than that, we were starting from scratch and learning as we went.  Our excitement was at an all time high on the way up, and I had left home telling several people that I was off to catch the biggest fish of my life.  Boy oh boy did we accomplish everything that we set out to do...and then some!  I'm still reliving it all in my head as we speak.

Sturgeonfest2008%20012.jpgWe got on the water yesterday at about 9:00am, and we were battling by 9:15.  The area that I had fished years ago had several boats in it, and we started nearby in a hole that allowed us some shoulder room from the boat traffic.  Literally from the surface to the bottom, the graph was covered in fish, and we could see the sturgeon surfacing all around us.  Needless to say, we never had to venture out of this hole, we just spent some time dialing in on exactly the best spots within the spot to catch these prehistoric beasts. 

Sturgeonfest2008%20116.jpgOur morning started out by having a few misses, catches and experimenting with the equipment, but after a couple of hours, we were on fire and livin the dream.  Everything couldn't have worked out better for us.  The fish started a little on the small side to get our feet wet, and as the day progressed they kept getting larger and larger and larger.  The weather was in one word...Spectacular!  Other than a little bit of wind blowing off of the frozen ice, the temp hit about 65 sunny degrees, and we all managed some horrible looking sunburns. 

Sturgeonfest2008%20105.jpgWe don't have an exact count on our total from the first day, but Pauly said that he stopped counting at 16 fish just before 2pm.  From about 4pm until dark, we were pretty much always battling at least one fish.  Sturgeonfest2008%20093.jpgI say at least one fish, because we had so many doubles that it was almost chaotic.  It is easy to overlap these battles, because you could spend up to 20+ minutes battling each beast.  We became experts at maneuvering our lines around the battling dinosaurs during each battle, and our system never failed.  Once we figured out the current, where the fish were hanging, and how to battle the fish, it was a perfect system...Well, other than the fact that the fish did "whatever they wanted."  That became the entire quote for the weekend.  Sturgeonfest2008%20095.jpgEvery time any one of us was battling a fish that we couldn't stop from running, we would always picture the sturgeon on the bottom just screaming out "I do what I want...I'm huge...I do what I want!"  Sturgeonfest2008%20061.jpgWhen fighting the majority of our fish, it was a matter of hanging on and pulling as hard as you could to force the fish up, and by the end of the battle, you were literally whooped and needed a break.  I've only seen similar stuff on ocean fishing tv shows.  Never in my life have I experienced such a hard fought battle. 

Sturgeonfest2008%20067.jpgWe figured that we landed over 40 sturgeon on Saturday, and after making a few minor adjustments from morning to afternoon, we were right where the giants were hanging, and the average fish was in the mid 40 inch range.  The largest fish for the day was a 53.5 incher by Whorl, followed by my 52.5 incher.  Sturgeonfest2008%20071.jpgFrom there, we pretty much hit every number in the 40's, and several of them more than once.  We closed the day out with several doubles as the sun was setting, and slowly motored back to shore, shaking our heads and laughing at what had just happened.

This morning we hit the water for a quick stint to cure the itch before the long drive home.  Boy was it worth it.  We thought we couldn't beat our results from Saturday, but we were wrong.  We positioned ourselves exactly where we knew they were, and the big girls were there to play.  We spent the next 3 hours battling fish the entire time.  Sturgeonfest2008%20055.jpgWe had many doubles, and the size was pretty much 46 inches and up.  While it was hard to pick just one highlight, it definitely goes to Pauly with his 59 inch 50+pounder.  He set the hook on the giant, and shortly after the line started rising to the surface.  About 30 yards away, and the beast came airborn.  We had hoped all weekend to see that sight, and it was amazing.  To see a huge fish tailwalk the surface like that takes the cake.  During his 20+ minute battle, Dingy also landed his personal best at 49 inches, which was quite the sight.  I also landed my PB (personal best) and yes, longest fish of my life shortly after at 56 inches.  Man, with the power of those fish, it was hard just to hold on to them, picture time was interesting, but a great problem to have.  Sturg2008%20014.jpgWe battled so many fish that we were drawing a crowd, and after our 3 hours on the water, we landed over 20 more huge fish.  For Saturday and Sunday morning, we probably 30 over 40 inches, and a 51, 52.5, 53.5 54, 56, and 59 inchers.  We used about 25 dozen crawlers, took 120 pictures, laughed our butts off, caught over 60 sturgeon, got sun burnt, sore arms, sore backs...Yep, That's what its all about...That's Livin The Dream!

To see more pictures from out trip, go to the photo albums and check out the sturgeon section.