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Last weekend I had a chance to catch a few fishing shows on Fox, and on one of them they were doing some fall musky fishing on Lake of the Woods. If this doesn’t get an old fisherman’s adrenaline flowing, nothing will. I’d guess you could say that I have come down with that dreaded virus some call “cabin fever.” That trip was followed up by a trip to Cass Lake where they were catching smallmouth bass, walleye and big pike. This was definitely a show that could get a guy lost in his daydreams.

I am afraid there will only be one cure for this dreaded virus and that is a trip to the cabin. I am not sure how much snow we have at the cabin, but I will probably not be going until I know that the road in will be passable. Our road does not get plowed out in the winter, so it can be pretty tough to get a vehicle back there. I have passed the point of no return as far as the snowshoe thing goes, so a clear drive is about my only option.

Once we had the cabin built, Trevor and Taylor, my two oldest grandsons, and I would take a weekend trip north in April. I always said that it was to check and see if we had any damage over the winter, but I have to confess I really couldn’t wait any longer and just had to go there. I guess I was like a little kid at Christmas time who is waiting anxiously to open his presents. We did this for two years running, then the boys decided that it was too far to drive just to spend two nights in a cabin that had no insulation and only a kerosene heater to keep us warm. If the lakes would have been open and you could have fished, I have no doubt that Trevor would have kept going, but with the lakes still frozen and a grandpa who wasn’t much of an ice fishermen there was just not much for them to do. It was a short-lived tradition, but a tradition nonetheless and one that their grandpa surely enjoyed and will always remember fondly. I have to say that any time I can spend time with one or more of the grandkids, it’s a good time.

Getting back to the fishing and looking forward to it; I have to say that either I wasn’t in the right place at the right time or the crappie bite just wasn’t as good this past year as it has been in previous years. The summer didn’t start out quite the way I’d like when it came to the weather and there were times when I’d try fishing crappie, the only thing biting were the deer flies and mosquitoes. On the upside, however, the pike and bass fishing was actually pretty darned good this past year.

The slow bite even carried over to some of our favorite lakes of the area surrounding our cabin. We fished a couple of bays that always produce on one of my favorite lakes and came up pretty much empty-handed. One particular nearby lake we have always had good luck on was very stingy when it came to giving up fish. I have to look at the age old saying “it’s not you it’s me” when it comes to laying out blame for a bad day of fishing.

I did, however, have very good luck on some of my other favorite fishing spots and once again Spider did not disappoint. I hit Spider a couple of times and both times the pike were there and waiting for me to drop them a line. On one particular trip I had my grandson Dylan and his little brother Caiden along. Dylan has become a diehard pike fisherman and his little brother wanted to follow in his footsteps.

On this particular day, grandpa was king of the pike fishermen. I absolutely couldn’t lose on that day. Every so often a fisherman, for some reason or another, will catch fish after fish while the other folks with him aren’t quite so lucky. I use the term “lucky” because that is what I attribute most of my success to. I am a firm believer that catching fish all boils down to being in the right place at the right time with the right lure or bait.

I know that most fishermen these days have all the sophisticated technology you need to take the luck factor out of the equation, but that’s not me. I have a low-end locator, which I use primarily to tell me the water temp, depth and if there are any fish in the area, which can sometimes be misleading. There have been many instances when I have spotted fish holding on an area and not gotten a bite. Then there are the times when I have seen absolutely nothing on the screen and have caught fish. Would I call that skill or luck? I attribute my fishing prowess to the latter with time spent on the water also factoring in.

You may have noticed I did not mention anything about walleye fishing when talking fishing success. This can be attributed to the fact I usually don’t spend very much time seeking the wily walleye. I would rather fish for bass or northern when I am fishing, but then that may be attributed to the fact that I take the easy way out by trolling or casting, which are my two favorite ways to fish.

There were many years when I would go to Spider Lake and fish walleye right out of the gate and there were times when it paid off, but other times it took me a couple of days to realize they just weren’t going to bite. Over the years I have caught more walleye on that lake while trolling Shad Raps, Beetle Spins tipped with a minnow or Little Joe spinners fished with a minnow or crawler.

Just thinking about the upcoming season gets the old adrenaline flowing. I guess the only thing to do is to break out the tackle boxes; it’s time to organize and take inventory. I just know that there have to be some lures or jigs that need replacing and if not I know that someone has come up with a new “sure fire” lure that I just have to add to my collection.

Until next time, the weather is warming, the snow is melting “again” so it’s a great time to get out and enjoy spending time in the great Minnesota outdoors.  

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers, not only during the holiday season but for the rest of the year. They are the reason that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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