During the summer of 1998 I became obsessed with catching muskies. My best friend, Dusty, was my partner in crime. Together we fished the crap out of lake Minnetonka and Mille Lacs trying to learn everything about the fish of 10,000 casts. It took us a full season to land muskie number one, but that fish gave up a pattern, and we instantly went on a tear. The first week after we hooked up, we landed over 20 more fish. At the time, this was unheard of. Eventually, the success lead to the start of my guiding career, and brings me to where I am today.
Fast forward 13 years. The same addiction still holds true for Dusty and I. The only difference is that I am the lucky one that gets to fish for them all the time. It had been several years since we rekindled our love for the Esox, but Saturday morning we hit the water and the only gear in the boat had muskie written on it. We took to lake Minnetonka and laughed about muskie stories from years ago. Just the two of us and the fish.
An hour into our trip I tossed him a cowgirl and wished him luck. He chucked it out and instantly started ripping on the bait. "Is this the lure you give to your clients when you are ready to go in," he laughed. We all know how hard these baits pull, but he had never thrown one before. I laughed, and he continued, "how will I know when there is a fish on the end?" He went on and on cracking jokes, but the jokes stopped when a solid 51 incher flew up behind his bait. He didn't catch that fish, but it brought him back in the game. That fish, nicknamed "Janet Reno," sank below and he looked at me smiling. Moments later another giant came boat side. Even hotter than the first. Then another, this time flaring her gills and eating his cowgirl on the first turn of his 8.
I couldn't have drawn it up any better. A quick pic, followed by a quicker release, then we shared a moment. Not like a hug or anything, but a guys moment. One of those, "that was cool, we both know it, and we don't have to say it because we are guys" type of moments. Shortly after, the wind died down, the sun came out and the thermometer prepared for the hottest week I have ever seen. A heat that will keep me from chasing muskies until the water temps drop back below the 80 degrees. Thank you, Dusty, for another great memory. You are the best! Until the next monster strikes, keep on living your dream!