"Make a Memory!" The words my Mom would tell me before every fishing trip and/or tournament. She didn't care about how big the fish we caught or if we took first or last place in a tournament, all she wanted was for each trip to be a special memory. A few years ago I lost my Mother and she is now looking down from the heavens above.
No different then any other guide trip, the other morning, I was up early getting my Jason Mitchell Elite Series rods (Website) rigged, the boat cleaned, fresh bait hand picked and the cooler packed ready for a day of fishing. As I drove away from the boat launch I told myself, "Lets Make a Memory Today!" The same as every single fishing guide trip it's my goal to do just that!
With just a short boat ride to Chase on the Lake (Website) I was met by Jeff and Duane, a father son duo from California, and they were ready to get after it. Jeff, the son, had never been walleye fishing and Duane, the father, had been to Canada a few times. It was a unseasonable warm day but the wind was rocking out of the south. Most of the walleyes are using midlake structure and with the big wind it made things pretty rough. We fished through the day and ended up catching our limit of walleyes but we had lots of down time in between bites. We also marked large schools of walleyes that decided they didn't want to bite. It seemed like we would catch one or two out of each school of fish but that was it and that made it a little frustrating. But, the boys were honing their live bait rigging skills for the next day of fishing as I told them with this stable weather all these fish should bite tomorrow. I could read Jeff's mind,"Yeah right coming from this goofy fishing guide." :) I cleaned their walleyes, dropped them off and said we are going to get them good tomorrow!
Same process as the day prior in search of that, "Special Memory" we headed out on beautiful Leech Lake. Another warm September day with calm winds. Duane started the day off perfect by bringing me a huge Sweet Roll from the breakfast buffet at the 502 restaurant. I chowed that thing down on the way to our first spot. With sticky fingers I baited our hooks and dropped down to the walleyes I was marking below and it didn't take long and the net was flying. The walleyes were on a feeding rampage! We bounced from spot to spot catching a mixed sizes of walleyes. Before we knew it the live well was filling up with perfect 17 inch keepers and it was still early in the morning. I could see the smile on both Jeff and Duane's faces as they set the hook again and again. As the morning progressed we started looking for some big fish and it didn't take long and we had some great fish for photos including a 28.5 incher which would have been a few inches larger if someone hadn't cut the tail. (see photo below) As the spirits were as high as the shinning sun I heard a hook set from the front of the boat where Duane was sitting. He said, "Fish on!" and I could tell this wasn't just another fish. From the Zine of the Shimino Stratic, I figured it was a large pike because we had caught a few througout the past couple of days but Duane couldn't' budge the fish. I said apprehensively, "Duane I think you have a musky?!" Just as I said that I saw the red tail fin give us a pass by and my assumption was correct. The intensity just went up a notch and in my attempts to coach Duane I'm sure I was barking out orders as I was pretty excited too. Just as I said, "Don't force her!" the large spotted fish jumped three feet out of the flat calm water of Leech Lake and Duane continued to do battle. After some pretty hard runs but no match for Duane we landed a 41 inch musky! I took a few quick photos and we let the fish swim back to her home. Feeling like we accomplished all of the worlds problems, the three of us just looked at each other and said, "What do we do now?" With smiles on our faces we continued to fish the day and the bite didn't slow down.
Shortly after landing the musky I had a monarch butterfly land on my fishing rod. I thought to myself, "Thanks Mom!" took a photo and the butterfly flew off into the sky.
I dropped Jeff and Duane off at the dock, cleaned fished, and meet up with them on the patio at the 502 Restaurant at the Chase on the Lake. We sat and chatted like we have been life long friends about the memories from the day. A hand shake from Jeff and a hug from Duane, with tears in his eyes he said, "Thank you! I'm 88 years old and haven't experienced a fishing trip like this in my lifetime!"
"Make a Memory and Get Hooked"
Jeff "Breezer" Andersen