This past week Mike and I were joined by a wonderful group of visitors. Unlike most trips, these visitors traveled quite some distance. Steve flew in from Texas, Dustin from Virginia, Jeremy drove up from Chaska, but his wife Sarah landed in a plane straight out of Iraq. Now this just isn't your normal fishing story. With backgrounds like this all in one fish house, there was quite a lot to learn.
The events started Late Wednesday evening for Mike and I. We moved a couple of houses to what we were calling "base camp." Early Thursday morning, we were joined by Jeremy, Steve and Dustin, and Sarah joined us that afternoon once her plane landed. Our mission over the next 3 days was simple, or so we thought. We were hoping to put this crew on some big walleyes. For Jeremy, this wasn't new to him. He had landed a few before christmas on an outing we shared. However, for the rest, this was to be a first time outing. Steve has ice fished years ago in the Pacific Northwest, but not recently, and never in a fully functional ice shanty. Dustin simply has never been on ice, and walleye don't swim where he has fished. Fresh back into the U.S. Sarah was also new to the sport. With all this considered, we were eager to teach and encourage this group into their first fish.
Mike spent the majority of the time helping them out, but we both explained the details on what to do and when to do it. The first night provided a surplus of biters, but unfortunately the walleyes pulled their tricks on the new ice fisherman, and many of them found their way off the line. Steve's fishing skills proved too good for two of his bites, and he was the only one smiling for his picture. The first fish was a nice eater, but the second one was a true Minnetonka Fatty. The rest of the evening was about the ones that got away. Steve straightened a hook on one that got away, and Dustin battled his first ever walleye up to the hole, only to find out that it was too large to fit through the hole. A 10 plus pounder that almost made it on the wall, and a great first time walleye catch. Sarah and Jeremy had a few fish wake them up throughout the night as well, but only left them wondering what could have been.
Day two was spent chasing pike and panfish. Well, the pike were non-existent, but the panfish did bite for some. The only problem, was that the school of sunnies and crappies were stuck under one house, and wouldn't swim over to the other. Sunset found the crew back at base camp and eager to land the ones that got away the night before. This night was all about Jeremy and Sarah. Jeremy landed his largest walleye ever, and Sarah landed her first. Turns out they were both extremely large fish, and they both had bragging rights. Jeremy's was a little larger, but don't worry Sarah, we won't tell anybody! Two fish that anybody would drool over. Congrats!
The action after the two monsters slowed down considerably for our fishing crew. We spent many hours in the cozy shacks watching movies and sharing stories. The best part about these trips can be meeting new people. While they caught some spectacular fish in the couple days on the water, I think I'll remember it most for the stories that we shared. All 4 of our guests have different backgrounds, living all over the world, but in one way or another have served our country. They came together for a first time ice fishing outing, and Mike and I were lucky enough to have them in our house. Sarah goes back to Iraq in a few days, and it was great to see the smile she had from that big fish. Steve is back to chasing the exotic ocean fish down south and I hope to see more pics from his escapades. Dustin will be getting married soon, so I hope all is well with your journey, and Jeremy hopefully took a few more tactics home with him on how to catch our metro walleyes. To the crew from across the country. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Until next time, keep on livin the dream!