Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Making Memories...

A good friend of mine and business partner Jeff Andersen says it best, "Make a Memory" every time you're on the water. Jeff is wise beyond his years.
A little over a year ago, friends Dusty Minke, Jeff Andersen, and myself had discussed fishing the MWC walleye event on Cass Lake with our fathers. Something Dusty and I had done many times before and thought it would be great to have another family to share the experience with. Because of their busy schedules and timing, Jeff and his dad Steve were not able to make it happen. The tournament came and went with a lot of laughs and a bit of luck for my father Dean and I. We finished 5th.

A few weeks later one evening in October, I got a phone call from Jeff on his way up to Bemidji. "Something happened to my dad and they think he's gone"!. Steve Andersen passed that night, several fishing trips too soon. Through this tragedy, I have learned to listen to my friends advise. We only have so many opportunities in life to make a memory.

Throughout this summer Dad and I have participated in 3 Walleye Tournaments. Leech Lake Classic, Krause Anderson Walleye Classic, and the 2012 MWC Cass Lake event. In every event there was a memory to be had. I will attempt to share a few.

The best part of fishing tournaments with the old man is to see the excitement in his eyes before, during, and after each event. My father is 67 yrs old and has more energy than my 7yr old. He is the energizer bunny! The first one up in the morning (showered, coffee made, and breakfast done) before anyone else is thinking about stretching their eyelids. A good guy to have in camp for sure!
Leech Lake Walleye Classic
This year at our first event on Leech Lake, I overheard a conversation dad was having with Todd Minke (Dusty's dad). "I think this will be my last year of tournaments". It stopped me in my tracks. I really wouldn't want to fish them with anyone else. Some day I may have to.
The next morning as we were taking off from our docks, boating into the sunrise with Phillip Phillips "Home" Playing in the background, I had chills running down my spine. The words my father spoke the night before were playing in my head as I noticed a tear sliding down the right cheek of Dads face. At that moment I realized that this type of thing means as much to him as it does me. That moment will stay with me forever. For at that moment, I realized how lucky I am to still have a father to make a memory with, and will be damned if anything will stop me from doing so. It was also, at that moment that this tournament was won by both of us regardless of our finish.

Dad and I finished in 11th out of 155 teams, anchored by a 26.5 incher caught by dad on day 2.

Krause Anderson Walleye Classic
This event is always a special one. It's in our home town of Bemidji Mn and against the best anglers I have ever fished against. Everyone of the 100 boats has a legitimate chance of bringing home the title. Dad always says, "This is the one I want to win before I'm gone." I secretly hope we don't, it keeps him in the game.
This years event was a blast! Dad caught more fish in 8 hours than I have ever seen in a tournament. He caught over 30 walleyes in a few hours including a real nice 24 incher. I can still see the $hit eating grin on his face with every hook set! It was my pleasure to net every one.
We finished 12th place in this event, and one of the most enjoyable days of fishing this summer.

MWC Cass Lake
Every once in a while, you just have to believe in fate. As luck would have it, on day two, Nature had me wedged between our Main motor and kicker motor taking care of business. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to catch a fish, I left my rod in the rod holder and failed to tell dad my intentions because I didn't want to have him lose focus. It wasn't until a 4 ft section of toilet paper and shrapnel floated from under the boat towards his line that he new what was happening. "What the hell?", dad yelled. Looking like Luke Skywalker with his Sword swinging, dad maneuvered his line through the trail of debris. It was this skilled jigging motion that convinced our biggest fish on day two to have breakfast. While netting his, I noticed my pole in the holder was now bent, and it too was attached to a 23 incher. Two fish in a few seconds. " I guess they just needed to be $hit on", said dad!
That was undoubtedly the funniest fish story that I have been involved with to date.
Unfortunately that was also are only fishing highlight of the day as we finished in 21st place.

At the end of this event, I listened to a voice mail from my friend Jeff. " I don't care what place you finished, did you make a memory"?
Yes Jeff, and thank you for the lesson!!!

Make a Memory Everyone,
Toby K

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