I think the title is very fitting for what I'm about to describe, Muskie Mania 2008! This update encompasses the past 6 days of my life, and boy what a stretch of days. Just to give you a quick shake down of the events, muskies...muskies...muskies and more muskies! Lets just say that there was very little sleep, a thousand miles on the truck, and many hours in the boat. Chaos and excitement, a tournament, a new fish of a lifetime, and many laughs, plus lets just throw a wedding in the mix to shake it up a little more than we already have. Sheesh...Lets take it from the top!
Wednesday morning I jumped in the boat with Jim for the second time in a few weeks. He brought along his brother-in-law from the East Coast named Brad. We had a chilly start to the morning, but managed to spot a couple of nice fish. As is always the case when Jim jumps aboard, we kept our streak in tact and boated a nice fish. This muskie came the old school way, which I am proud to say. Always fun to dig back into the old bag and bring back the original muskie lures. Lets just say it took about 6 casts to get a boatside attack. Awesome!
Thursday morning was a morning that certainly will be remembered forever for one lucky angler named Mitch! It just never gets old to see such a huge smile on a fishermans face, and yep, we can add yet another lucky guy to my 50 inch club. Absolute sweetness as Mitch and Jim enjoyed what my passion is all about. For Mitch, this was his second muskie this season as he is taking this whole fishing passion to a new level. I think we have been out 5 times now in the past 3 months, so when this big girl erupted on his bait, he knew just what to do. In the words of Mitch "I'm glad I have been out a couple of times, because that fish is very rewarding, and I feel I earned it, however, I am totally spoiled! Awesome!" I feel bad for Kristin his wife, cuz I do believe Mitch is addicted for life! After his catch, I believe he contacted everyone on his phone list. That's really what it's all about.
After getting off the water, I purchased some new truck tires and headed up to the Muskie Mania tournament in the Walker and Bemidji area of Minnesota. Les just say that this was the start of some incredible muskie action for about 700 guys. The conditions were ripe, and the muskies responded. Friday morning I met up with longtime friend Nick Von Holdt and we set out on his home waters of Lake Bemidji. I had logged about 2 hours on this lake about 3 years ago, so I pretty much put myself at the mercy of Nick. Friday was a short day for us, because of a wedding that I attended that afternoon, but we really learned a lot from each other and got dialed in on several nice fish. Boy are they fat in that lake. Before we left the water, we boated one muskie and saw another 15 or so. Good stuff!
Saturday I skipped out on much needed rest, and left St. Cloud at about 3AM for Bemidji again. Hit the water at about 6:30 and witnessed a very tough morning on the water. The fish had lock-jaw from the bombardment from day one anglers. We stuck with our game plan and kept working our fish over and over and over again. Nick was beginning to think that I was nuts, however I told him that these fish will turn on and we will get bit. We made a good call, cuz at 2:35 it all broke loose. Nick started it off by boating the first fish, and I followed 3 casts later with another one. 20 more casts, and we raised 2 hot giants, and then I had about a 38 incher battle to the boat. Not big enough, so it was back at it for the big girls. We had encounters for the next hour which totally made our day. It's all about waiting em out, and we had a hoot once they turned on.
Sunday after some much needed rest, we hit the water for the last 5 hours of tournament fishing. We weren't the only guys on fish, as many of the locals found their patterns to be on fire. We were just happy to be in the running for the new truck raffle prize, and kept on our way. Newly acwuired muskie addict Dave Bretschneider from Bernick's Beverages, jumped in our bait as a major sponsor of the tournament. We shared many great laughs throughout the morning, and then on our last pass of the morning, we struck gold again. Nick got hammered boatside, and the chaos was on. Being a new muskie man, Dave yelled "what can I do!" As the fish ran under the trolling motor, Nick's line got tangled around the reel, and the hootin and hollerin began. I yelled for Dave to grab the net, and I grabbed the line for a little hand over hand battle with his muskie. With Nick's reel not working, I became his reel andI pulled the line in while he maneuvered his rod accordingly. It was total teamwork as the 3 of us landed Nick's fish. What a way to land a fish at 11:39 when the tourney was done at 12.
The tournament itself was a huge success. I was able to learn a new lake and we had some great success even during heavy pressure tournament situations. The fish were literally on fire on Leech Lake, Cass Lake, Big Lake and Lake Bemidji. I will give you a link to the full rundown of events as Ron Sanders the Tournament Director gets them to me. As a quick update on the event, I think there was roughly 700 anglers on 21 different lakes. over 150 fish were caught in the 3 days which is incredible, and a lucky angler from Bemidji won a new truck on the raffle. To be entered into the raffle, you had to catch a muskie, so we had high hopes, but weren't dissapointed.
Just an insane stretch of days that pushed my body to the limits. Great fishing, and the streak of consecutive muskie trips on the water is now up to 6 days. Lets keep it going as I will obviously be back on the water at some point this week after a little R & R and a visit back to my comfy office desk. Thanks to all that participated in my life the past week. It is just amazing how great it can be. That's what I call Livin The Dream!