This morning I walked through the office building door that I call my work, kicked the fresh snow off my shoes and stepped into Mitch's room. He was still smiling from the night before and staring at pictures of a certain fish. Mitch is my boss, and the smiles were from our ice fishing outing the evening before. Joining us on the outing was Walt Larsen. He's the guy in the picture holding the fish.
As I said good morning to Mitch, the first thing out of his mouth was, "you know, I was having a great time even without catching a big fish. Walt and I both agreed after we left the fish house that it was a perfect night, but that we are glad we didn't have to make an excuse about why we didn't catch a fish." Whew, that was a relief. But in all honesty it was a perfect night. Our goal was not about catching numbers, but to ice a big fat walleye that struggles to slip through the ice hole. It was the topic of our entire conversation leading up to the excursion. It was the topic of several emails on who would land the biggest one, and it was even the entire topic of conversation while in the fish house. We weren't going for a meal, rather one to brag about in a photo session. That banter is what inspired me to move the "Shangri-la" to one of our favorite "big fish" spots for last nights activities. As I scrolled through the photo albums on my laptop showing the boys the certain monstrous fish caught off of this exact same spot, I could sense they were starting to get tired of looking at the ones previously caught and wanted a 'Tonka fatty of their own.
This is where the story gets good. After about a half hour wait the sun set and the pesky perch fled the scene. The electronic screens were blank except for Walt and Mitch's bouncing jigs. It was very obvious that the next fish on the screen would be a walleye. Mitch was new to this whole walleye jigging scene and received some schooling on the do's and dont's, but Walt was a seasoned pro. This became evident as our perfect evening was about to culminate. Little did we know that the first walleye Mitch was to see come through an ice hole was going to be a dandy on Walt's line. After an intense battle and a struggle at the ice, we all were reminded of why I use a 10 inch hole instead of an 8. Moments seemed like hours as we struggled to get Walt's big fish headed up in the right direction - my hands. Screams could be heard across the lake as all the banter, chatter and big talking became reality. It was a gem of a fish. A beautiful walleye that would make anyone proud. A few shots and the walleye was back in the water for the next eager angler. It simply doesn't get any better than that, and with that excitement, we were satisfied and called it a night. If only it was that easy every time... Until the next fish strikes, keep on livin' the dream!