I was having coffee the other day with a couple of friends when my pal Russ and I began reminiscing about some of our experiences. I always love taking a step back in time to remember the good times, and occasionally someone will bring up an instance that was not all that memorable.
In this case however, it was all good and definitely something we both can sit back and laugh at. It was late June in the summer of ’76 and my wife Jean was about a month away from giving birth to our second son, Brad. The previous year we vacationed with Russ and his wife Sue at Big Sand Lake in Northern Minnesota. Because of the impending birth of our next child, we felt it would not be wise to venture too far from home.
Sue’s parents had a cabin on Lake Tetonka in Waterville and they were nice enough to let us stay there for a week. I had brought my little 14-ft. car-topper boat along, so after we had settled in Russ and I in all of our wisdom had decided we would carry that light little boat down the steep hill to the lake. Now this seemed like it would be a piece of cake for two intelligent, strong, agile and macho guys like us, so off we went. The boat only weighed 110 lbs., so there should be nothing to it. Somewhere between the top and the first landing we discovered that even a light boat was still shaped like a boat and navigating around bushes and tree branches was no easy task. Have you ever started to do something and then about halfway into it realize that it may not have been all that good of an idea? Did I mention macho?
After wrestling that boat down the hill we came through almost unscathed except for a few scratches and scrapes from the branches. Now all we had to do was carry the motor down and we would be fishing before you knew it. I have to say that even though the motor was heavy, it was easier to carry than that little boat.
It was pretty warm out and after that workout a nice shower was looking pretty good to us. Unfortunately, the water heater was on the blink so it was a cold shower or no shower. After resisting the urge to take a cold shower, it was finally time to face reality and jump in with guns a blazing. No blazing there; those cold streams of water coming out of the nozzle felt like needles being stuck into your body. I believe it was the coldest water I had ever felt so it was in and out without spending a lot of time getting wet. Did I forget to mention macho?
Once we were settled in, we began fishing and right away we began to catch some nice striped bass. We caught quite a few fish that week, which made overcoming a few obstacles almost worthwhile. One morning when Russ and I were out we started catching walleye, but they were just a little too small. It was kind of unique because I’ve never had a whole school of walleye follow my lure all the way to the boat like they did in that instance.
There was another time when Russ and I decided to take a short trip to a little lake not too far from Tetonka. The lake is named Fish Lake and is located just west of Tetonka Lake. It is a small, very clear lake that has bass, northern, crappie and a lot of small sunnies in it. The lake also has a horsepower restriction limiting motor size to 10 hp or less.
Once we launched the boat I decided to troll and I put on my favorite bait at the time; a Beetle Spin tipped with a minnow. Russ was using an old gray (it was once white) twister tail with about half a dozen split shot located about 8 inches from the jig. Upon seeing that, I just shook my head and mentioned to Russ that I really didn’t see him catching anything with that rig. He just shrugged it off and went on fishing, saying that it would be just fine. Now I, after all, was the one that had a subscription to In-Fisherman magazine and had pretty much put Al Linder on a pedestal, so I should know what I was talking about ,but I just left him alone thinking he’d change when I was catching all the fish. Did I mention macho?
Unfortunately for me, as the day unfolded, it was Russ that was reeling in fish after fish while I dragged the same dead minnow around all day. After that day I no longer offer up any “free” advice unless I am asked first. Sometimes no matter how much you think you might know about fishing (Did I mention macho?) there is just no way of knowing what will work on any given day. Russ said he finally lost that old Twister a few years ago. Thanks, Russ!
Until next time, it’s spring so get out and enjoy the outdoors so you can start making a few memories of your own.
Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.