Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Getting Old

Dad loved Wildroot Hair Creme
As you can probably tell, no fishing last weekend.  However, I have a friend that is related to a good friend, Mark Mayerich.  Franklin lives on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota and admittedly we share a lot of the same values in life. To be honest,, I've only met Franklin a few times but he is one of those guys that because one shares similar values, we tend to stay email buddies. He sent this early this morning and it really hit home:

Yes, I am older than dirt!

Remember Slow Food? 
'Someone asked the other day, 'What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?'  'We didn't have fast food when I was growing up, I informed him.
 'All the food was slow.' 'C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?'
'It was a place called 'at Home,'' I explained.  'Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table,
and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.'
By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage,so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table. But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it.
 Some parents NEVER owned their own house, never wore Levis, never set foot on a golf course, never traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at  Sears Roebuck or maybe it was Sears & Roebuck.  Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.
My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow) We didn't have a television in our house until I was 11. It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem and a poem about God; it came back on the air at about 6 a.m. And there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people. 
I was 19 before I tasted my first pizza, it was called 'pizza pie.' When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had. 
I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line. 
Pizzas were not delivered to our home.  But milk was. 
All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers --Idelivered a newspaper, seven days a week. It cost 10 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 3 cents.  He had to get up at 6 AM every morning. On Saturday, I had to collect the 60 cents from his customers. My favorite customers were the ones who gave 
me 3 quarters and said to keep the change. My least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day. 
If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing. 
Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it? 
MEMORIES from a friend : 
My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother's house (she died in December) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to 'sprinkle' clothes with because we didn't have steam irons. Man, I am old. 
How many do you remember? 
Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.  (Like my Mustang)
Ignition switches on the dashboard. 
Heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall.
 
Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards. 
Using hand signals for cars without turn signals. 
Older Than Dirt Quiz : 
Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about. Ratings at the bottom. 
1. Blackjack chewing gum 
2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water  
3. Candy cigarettes
 
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
 
5. Coffee shops or diners with table side jukeboxes
  
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers 
7. Party lines on the telephone 
8 Newsreels before the movie 
9. P.F. Flyers 
10. Butch wax  (that was our hair product) 
11.. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. (there were only 2 channels... 
12. Peashooters
13. Howdy Doody
 
14. 45 RPM records
 
15.S&H green stamps
 
16. Hi-fi's
 
17. Metal ice trays with lever
 
18. Mimeograph paper
 
19. Blue flashbulb
 
20. Packards
 
21. Roller skate keys
 
22.
 Cork popguns  
23. Drive-ins
 
24. Studebakers
 
25. Wash tub wringers
 
If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young
If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older
If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age,
If you remembered 16-25 = You' re older than dirt!
 
I might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of my life. 

Jared and a nice mess of panfish
This brought back a lot of memories of long ago.  The list includes Butch Wax, well my dad loved Wildroot as I put the picture up of their ad.  He would always slick my brothers and my hair with this before going to Sunday School. I remember when McDonald's in Eau Claire had 15 cent hamburgers and 20 cent cheeseburgers.  Michael's Dairy used to deliver milk in returnable glass bottles to our house.  Every December, maybe a week before Christmas, they would haul a team of horses, our delivery guy would dress up as Santa, and they would pull a sled around town and give each customer a half gallon of ice cream as a present for being a loyal customer. I still remember you could hear the jingle of bells on the harness's as they traveled down the streets of Eleva.  We all can look back at what was as things change very quickly.  I wanted to share this as it was important to me.   So this is Fishin' with Dave, not Remembering Old Times with Dave however not getting out last week was killing me!  Ben Aiona sent me a picture of this nice batch of sunfish and perch, he still hasn't told me where he got them but never the less it's a nice bunch of fish, I am sure his son Jared had a good hand in all of this!  JR's is letting wheel houses out this week at Red, so the weekend is planned.  My brother Steve is driving up Thursday night to stay with a friend on the south side of Minneapolis and will meet me at the pole shed on Friday morning.  We pick up my friend Keith in Brainerd on the way to Red and hopefully will be set up and fishing by 4:00 in the afternoon.  With a little luck we can catch supper and head into JR's.  Our plan is to spend 2 nights leaving Sunday morning while leaving the wheel house at JR's till the end of January.  It will be great to both get out fishing and to see everyone again!  I hope you enjoyed the post.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

You Win Some, You Lose Some

View from our Condo on Tybee Island, Georgia
Last Wednesday was the long anticipated trip to Savannah, Georgia for the fall TTA meeting.  Often these meetings are an opportunity to get together with some industry friends and go fishing, which we have done quite a few times now.  This trip to Savannah was a perfect time to go fishing as we have done when the conference was in Charlotte, NC and we fished Charleston for Sheepshead.  When we had our conference in Ponte Vedra Beach we fished the breakwaters of Mayport Florida so we were looking forward to fishing these Georgia marshes for redfish, sea trout, black drum, and sheepshead.  It was all set, my friend Phil rented two condos right on the Atlantic Ocean on Tybee Island, 20 miles east of Savannah.  Taking it easy on Friday night, 5:00 would come early as we had to be on the dock by 6:45.  The weather stated a 90% chance of rain however this was forecasted for the afternoon, our trip was 6 hours, and would end at 2:00 so we weren't too worried.  Getting ready to leave at 6:30 the cell phone rang, it was Miss Judy stating that there were small craft warnings as it appeared as though we had severe thunder storms both to the north and south of us, with the one to the south, substantial lightening.  Stating that we can't go out at 7:00 we should wait until 9:00 and see where we were at weather wise.  We talked again and reiterated that we just wanted to go out, any change would be good for us, we could do only 4 hours, anything to get out however at 8:30 she officially cancelled the trip.  Admittedly we were pretty disappointed yet we understand that it's up to the captain of the boat to decide the safety of it's guests and crew.   Personally I think we could have
Fresh Raw Oysters, Fabulous!
gone but there are 2 things about that thought, first it's not my decision and secondly hindsight is 20/20!  The end result is we had a great breakfast in a breakfast cafe on Tybee Island, I had one of the best omelet's ever, an Irish Omelet with swiss cheese, corned beef, and fried onions.  After the bad news regarding our charter we decided to head into Savannah and seek out Sorry Charlie"s Oyster house for some fresh Oysters and some locally brewed beer.  There was an Orvis Store near there where I decided to spend the money that was dedicated for the charter and by some nice fishing clothes.  Savannah is quite an interesting city, especially coming from here in Minnesota where the temperatures are in the 20's during the day and teens at night.  For us it was short sleeve weather, yet I was surprised that the morning temperatures were in the low 30's.  Even with the freezing temperatures in the morning there were palm tress and the beautiful Southern Live Oaks with significant clumps of Spainish Moss hanging from them.   Still, a heck of a lot better than having snow on the ground, even though ice fishing can't start soon enough!!!  On other experience that I thought was interesting, on the way to Tybee Island we stopped at a roadside produce stand and along with fresh vegetables they had a variety of Georgia made products.  I could not resist getting some Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce for my neighbor Tim.  Spotting what looked good was a jar of Southern Pickled Brussel Sprouts.  The gal at the counter sensed I wasn't from around there, maybe the Green Bay Packer Hat was s dead giveaway, so she asked if I knew what these were and if I liked them.  Saying they looked interesting, she said ok, I'll do on better, took the jar that I go from the shelf, went in the back room and came out with a pint mason jar of pickled brussel sprouts, with some green beans and sliced red peppers and onions, no label and said here, you'll really like these.  Not asking anything I settled up while the rest of the guys bought some boiled peanuts, admittedly I would not go out of my way for those, I did eat a few!!

Little Gracie Watson
Savannah is a very historical city, in fact it has the largest area designated as a National Historic District of any city in the United States.  It was surprising to learn that it also serves as the third largest shipping port in the United States.  Savannah was an important port as it had deep water access via the Savannah River.  It was an important port for the British prior to the Revolutionary War as it served to be the main shipping point for cotton and tobacco, both products that were important to the British economy.  Georgia was in fact named after England's King George.  Savannah is known to be a haunted city with many famous areas that are associated with ghosts and spirits.  One such area is Bonaventure Cemetery on the east side of Savannah.  Located on an old plantation it was very interesting to go through this amazing 160 acres of land and see how different these are from what I am used to here up north!  Our personal tour guide Phil is very familiar with some of these interesting places in the area and he brought us to a number of unusual grave sites including that of Little Gracie Watson, an amazing story in itself.  This grave sites are fairly large, often a whole family is interned withing the boundaries of their plot.  In the case of Little Gracie, her site includes a marble carving of her story as well as this statue of her.  The story is that she was born in 1883, the only child of Mr. Watson, who was the manager of the famous Pulaski Hotel in Savannah.  Little Gracie basically had the run of the hotel and had become the admired and beloved child to many of the guests.  Two days before Easter in 1889, Gracie died of pneumonia at 6 years old.  She was buried at Bonaventure.  In 1890 a famous sculpture, John Walz moved to Savannah and Gracie's father had him carve a statue of Gracie from a photograph that he had.  The grave was so popular that the cemetery had to put a fence around it to protect it from visitors as they would rub her nose thinking it
Little Gracie's Story
would give them good luck (See the link).  Phil also explained that people often leave gifts such as toys, flowers, and other childhood items, especially at Christmas.  Phil was surprised to see that there was none at the time of our visit.  It was often said that the spirit of Gracie can be felt at her grave site, I cannot attest to that but honestly it was quite touching and a sad but beautiful story.   Other notables that reside in Bonaventure were Johnny Mercer, a very famous composer of music in the 1940's and 50's as well a number of Civil War heros.  I definitely regret not going fishing but honestly had a really fun time exploring Savannah and it's history.  I would highly recommend to put this city on your bucket list, as there is so much to see and do, plus the food is outstanding!!! Maybe one day there will be the chance to try fishing again.  Unfortunately we just got word that there will be no driving on Red this weekend, Oh well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Getting Stuff Done

14 bushel lawn debris collection system.
Wow, got too busy to finish!!!   Oh well, here's what I wrote last week.  With the ice forming well but still not good enough I decided to get some use out of the 14 bushel leaf/grass collection system I bought earlier in October to help clean up the yard.  The last 2 weeks haven't been ideal however on Sunday it was almost warm enough to get the job done, It would probably be my last chance before the snow comes to get the leaves picked up off the lawn, and there were a lot of them.  The system itself is pretty slick.  It attaches to the mower via a quick hitch system and it has a blower that gets mounted to the output of the mower deck and is powered by a pulley that is attached to one of the spindles.  A belt goes on the pulley then it has a tightening mechanism to put tension on the belt.  When you engage the mower deck the blower pretty much sucks anything under the deck and forces it up a chute and into the bags hanging off the back.  It is surprising how fast it will fill up, I just take the bags and dump them into my trailer then haul it to the back of my property and dump it.  The ground was froze and I had a number of problems with moles this fall, so it was a pretty bumpy ride yet I was able to get all the leaves picked up and the grass looks ready for the snow.  My next project is to get the snowblower attachment on as I think within a couple of weeks we will have blowable snow unfortunately. 

Keith's first walleye on the ice!
Red Lake continues it's freeze up as well as most of of the lakes north of Brainerd are frozen over.  Although it's only walkable ice, if one is careful it's not too bad and guys are getting out.  My friend Russ is planning on heading to Red on Thanksgiving, leaving his house on shore and using an ATV to get out.  So far the reports are stating up to 8 inches of ice however they did have some breakup from the wind last week, it's healing up good and some resorts have safe routes staked out to over a mile.  In the mean time my friend Keith Holtan, who lives near North Long Lake by Brainerd got out and sent me this picture of his first walleye of the year, not bad if you ask me!  So as I stated in my first sentence, I am getting caught up and quie honestly am getting ready to fly to Savannah, Georgia on Wednesday, November 18th to attend our fall TTA meeting and what usually comes out of these get togethers is a fishing trip and this year is no exception.  We are going to be fishing out of Tybee Island with Miss Judy's Charters, a recommendation we got from Phil Gordon.  Phil has a time share on Tybee Island as it is just south of Hilton Head, South Carolina, a popular golf destination.  Although our conference is Thursday and half a day Friday, Phil has got us a rental condo on the beach for Friday and Saturday night as we have booked Saturday, December 1st as our fishing day.  Our fishing day looks good as I checked the weather for the weekend and it looks like we'll be in the 70's which will be a nice change from the 15 degree weather we've been experiencing here in Minnesota.  I arrive in Savannah late Wednesday afternoon and the low is supposed to be 32, a warm spell!  Anyway we have 7 guys signed up for fishing including Bruce Thackwray, Glen Collins, Matt Davis, Gary and Steve Hicks, Phil Gordon, and myself as we will target inshore saltwater species such as Redfish, Sheepshead, and Seatrout.  I have fished with these guys before and it's always a great time!  The plan is to find a local restaurant close to our condo that will cook our fish, maybe we will even have enough to bring some home.  Either way it will be good to get out before heading up to Red to fish the hard water.  I may post something later this week or wait till I get back from fishing with some nice pictures of our quarry!

Friday, November 16, 2018

It's Cold!!!

Roger's on Red has almost 4 inches of ice already
November is really coming in like a lion (I know that's a reference to March!) however things are really starting to tighten up and making ice.  My good friend and neighbor, Lory Brasel came back from deer hunting in his home town of New York Mills, MN and claims he had -2 degrees on Sunday morning, music to my ears!!  The friends I hang around with for ice fishing, Mark, Russ, Randy, are all getting ready to head up to Red Lake next week to at least try and walk out to fish.  We all stay at JR's Corner Access and I suspect they will pull up their wheel houses on or right after Thanksgiving, they can stay on shore for the nights and pull out portables with their ATV's in the day.  JR's Facebook page shows pictures of the lake via his airplane and claims it's froze up tight.  Roger's on Red, a resort down the road is reporting more specific conditions like the picture from last Monday the 12th of November showing around 4 inches near shore with around 2 - 3 inches about a half mile out.  This was totally disrupted on Wednesday when they experienced a fairly strong south wind which broke up the ice pretty good.  Those who were thinking of getting up to Red this weekend, it probably won't happen untill we get back to single digit temperatures at night, something that will happen this weekend but it's probably going to warm up over Thanksgiving.  Still it might be a great excuse to get up to JR's and get the house ready to go as I am now predicting that we may not be able to get out on the ice with our wheel houses until the weekend of December 8th.  Not that I am looking for an excuse to stay home however I do have a fishing trip scheduled for December 1st in Savannah, Georgia.  That will provide a nice way to bridge the "Wait for the ice to thicken" verses "not doing anything for the last 2 months."  In the meantime the Salem is pretty much ready to go, I did get the chance to do some re-wiring and added two 120 VAC outlets, one next to my power control center, which will be nice for the aerator for the minnow cooler, as well one in the front closet, now I can keep my  battery operated power tools charged up without having to have them laying around the house.  It turned out very nice!

Nature's stump Grinder!
While waiting for everything to freeze I have been dealing with my seizure issue, which my
neurologist thinks was just a freak deal.  What is interesting is that I have to volunteer this information to the State of Minnesota and not drive for 90 days after the incident.  Like anything the government does, their forms are simply confusing and make no sense.  Of course calling them does little good as one is usually put on hold for 30 minutes then one has to hope you get to talk to a person who actually knows whats the correct process is.  Uffda.  I have already talked to my brother Steve and he is more than willing to drive up to Red this season.   I do have an interesting thing happening in my yard this fall.  Last year one of my prized maple trees died so I basically cut it down leaving about a 2 foot stump standing, with the intent of getting my neighbors stump grinder to finish the job.  Well that hasn't worked as planned as the stump is still there yet it is going through quite a transition.  The stump is getting really punky and a few weeks ago something has been working away at it because the base is simply full of wood chips.  One afternoon I was cleaning up in the garden, near the stump when a very loud squawking noise came from that area.  All of a sudden a very large Pileated Woodpecker landed on the stump and began tearing it up......now it makes sense.  Apparently the stump wood is soft and I assume full of delicious grubs that the woodpeckers find a delicacy.  If you have never seen a pileated woodpecker, they are amazing birds.  Almost the size of a crow, they are quite large with beautiful red feathers on their heads and a loud call to match.  I am sure that the punky condition of the stump makes it an easy job, in fact I have seen 2 on the stump at the same time.  We have had these appear at our suet feeders from time to time however they have seemed to take up a permanent resident, probably until the stump is gone!  Either way they are amazing birds to watch and admittedly if they want to grind up my stump, go for it!!  As well the apple crop wasn't very good this year and a couple of my trees still have lot's of worm infested apples hanging.  Of course this is a smorgasbord for the local deer herd, I counted 9 one night.  Once again, there is no problem if the deer want to clean up those apples that fall on the ground. 

The first Hard Water Sportshow is this weekend at the Blaine Sports Center.  Lory and I will try and attend on Saturday.  The big ice show at the St. Paul Civic Center is the same weekend that I'll be in Savannah offshore fishing.   Maybe there will be time to stop there on the December 2, the day I arrive back in Minneapolis.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Missing Deer Hunting

Ben's first Buck!
Well my situation last week definitely has put a damper on the usual outdoor activities which occur this time of year, namely deer hunting.  Although I have been deer hunting since I was 16, the only time I have missed is when I first moved to Minnesota and really didn't have anything established for the first couple of years.  In 1978 I had already met my good friend Mark Taylor and along with his brother-in-law Tim guzek, and brother Jack, we teamed up with a guy from my work who was from Roseau, MN (10 miles south of the Canadian Border) and began to hunt Minnesota.  Things have changed over the years and Mark doesn't hunt anymore however up to this point I have continued to hunt with Jack and his son Ben, up near their cabin west of Onamia, MN.  We have hunted our old friend Rich Allen's land however it's been getting wetter and wetter over the years as Rich's nephew Brett is now in charge.  Luckily one of Jack's neighbors at the lake has 40 acres southwest of the area, it's driveable and although can be wet, is still more comfortable to hunt.  In the last few years it really hasn't been important to harvest a deer as much as it is to participate in the deer hunting comradery.  Well the one year that circumstances made it impossible for me to hunt, Jack's son Ben shot his first buck.  I would have loved to been there to see his reaction, although I am sure you can tell by that big smile on his face that he was pretty happy.  I look back at my deer hunting experiences and I was probably 23 or 24 before I shot my first deer, here Ben is 14 years old and  has already shot a nice deer, good for him. Ben and Jack are going back up this weekend and are hoping to get back into the high ground on the other side of Rich's swamp, good luck to them.  With a little luck the next few days are supposed to have low temperatures near 10 degrees, enough to possibly create a layer of ice over the swamp and allow an easier access to the stands in the back.  I  guess time will tell!  Good luck and I suspect I'll have to wait till next year to try my luck again.


Freshly frozen salmon fillets!
Tuesday was a great day at work as one of my dearest friends stopped by with a little present for me, a bag of freshly frozen salmon fillets from Alaska.  Keith Holtan and his wife Jane are back in Minnesota for the winter and they came down to the Minneapolis area to meet with someone, as long as they were here they were kind enough to drop off some beautiful Sockeye Salmon fillets as well a couple of smoked salmon chunks that are absolutely delicious!  Keith is a guide on the Kenai and spends the winters in the Brainerd area.  He often comes up to Upper Red Lake, at JR's with me for the early ice walleye fishing.  As well he has a client, Gary Blinn, whom I wrote about on my June 27th post from this year after we met at Lac Seul Outposts this year.  Keith is a really good guy and I would highly recommend him if you want to fish the famous Kenai River in Alaska for salmon.  I also really appreciate his friendship as shown by the fish gift, and I am sure that soon I will be posting of our adventures on the ice.  It is interesting and I am sure I have discussed this before, years ago I talked Keith into buying a chamber vacuum packaging machine for his clients.  It has turned out to be such a popular service that he is now talking about buying a large, double sized unit to do two at a time.  Nothing like taking it to the nth degree!  Either way it's a nice thing for his clients as I understand the process to get your fish vacuum packed and frozen while in Alaska.  I am looking at the weather forecast for Waskish, MN which is on the east shore of Upper Red Lake.  For the next 10 days the daytime temperature will be in the mid 20's and the overnight temperatures will be in that 10 degree range, hopefully enough to start making some substantial ice.  A couple of years ago we were able to drive out on Red Lake on the friday after Thanksgiving.  Hopefully this could be a repeat year for early ice as the Salem is pretty much ready to go!  The next couple weeks will tell the story for sure.  I almost have everything done with the boat for it's long winter's nap.  Interesting but this cold weather, rain, an my extraordinary last weekend put a damper on using the new vacuum system on my lawn tractor.  It will come in handy next spring however.  The next thing on the list is to get a snowblower attachment installed before the real snow comes!  The forecast looks as though it might be pretty soon!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Abrupt Halt

Top left to Right: Neal S, Roger O, Scott B, Jeff K, myself, Dave H, Larry H,
Bottom:  Marilyn E, Kris P,  Joanne M, Kathy S, Diana B. 
Well, last weekend came to an abrupt halt with myself getting hauled to the emergency room via the ambulance and first responders from Dayton.  Although I remember absolutely nothing other than waking up at Mercy Hospital in Anoka being told that there is no room and they were transferring me to their sister hospital, Unity on Osborne and University Avenues in north Fridley, it's still nerve racking either way.  Apparently I was having a seizure on Thursday morning and was doing the proverbial crappie flop in bed, convulsing uncontrollably.  Admittedly this wasn't much fun at all as I bit up my tongue pretty bad and my wife thought I was choking so she put her finger in my mouth to clear any obstruction, that was a big mistake as I about took that off for her!  I did get an MRI of my brain later on Thursday and the verdict is still out whether they found anything however we haven't got that far in the analysis yet!  Either was it is looking like the mild stroke I had a number of years ago finally reared it's ugly self and it is possible the minor damage can cause my electrical system to go haywire, and haywire it did!!!  Either way it has really taken a lot of energy out of my system as I attempt to recover.   Damn, this getting old sure doesn't get along with me very well.  This event has changed my short term plans for deer hunting this year, I am probably going to stick around home and try and get some things done and stay close to my doctors.  I am pretty sure nothing bad would come of my hunting up by Jack's cabin but I would have said that last Wednesday night before I went to bed.  It was quite an experience and unfortunately now I have one more pill to take each day, I feel like a walking pharmacy, I have pills for my type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, anticoagulant, anti-seisure medication, hell, I think I am taking at least 8 pills a day.  I suspect if I could lose about 20 pounds I could get rid of most of them, something I really need to try and do.  I guess I am not getting any younger!!!  With not much going on it probably is a good time to reflect on my 45th year class reunion at the Viking Club House in Strum.  I guess we didn't have the greatest turn out but it was definitely nice to see those that came.  It's a good time to reflect and those that did attend, it was nice to see them.

EZ Lube, Lower Unit Grease dispenser
Well, traditionally this would be deer hunting weekend in Minnesota.  After last weeks events I will skip this years hunt, which is fine with me as deer hunting has become just another excuse to get out of the house.  There is still much to do around the house, leaves need to be picked up, some of the fluids on my outboard need topping off, the garden could use some TLC.  Speaking of outboards, a number of years ago I bought this gear lube dispenser, similar to a standard bug sprayer.  It has an air pump, one puts standard gear lube (lower unit grease) into the tank then pump it full of air.  The hose has a rubber cone that allows you to insert it into the lower unit drain hole then force new gear lube back into the gear case with a minimum amount of effort.  It works absolutely great and makes changing the lower unit grease in your outboard very simple.  Well I thought I lost it a few weeks ago so figuring I needed a new one, it is obvious that the company is no longer in business as their website is down and the phone number is no longer in service.  Luckily I was able to locate mine but it is too bad that this great product is not available any more, meaning I had better take better care of it!  My current outboard, a 250 HP HO Evinrude takes over a quart of lower unit grease and those old pump dispensers that fit on the bottle of lube then you hand pump it out in small increments, takes forever whereas this device is pretty slick, it dispenses quickly and there is little waste of gear lube as well the clean up is fairly quick and easy.  Now I just need to make sure that I know where it is next year! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

No Fishing This Weekend

Engine Winterize Screen for the Evinrude
Time is starting to run out on Soft water fishing as deer hunting is now 2 weeks away.  Earlier in the week I visited with my new Cardiologist, Dr. Sigurdsson  With the 2 ss's in his last name I was sure he was of true Swedish origin however we got that cleared up pretty fast.  He is originally from Iceland, and a good doctor he was.  We discussed my aortic replacement surgery back in 2010 and the discussion that was had at that time with the surgeon regarding a possible aortic valve issue, which according to the surgeon at the time, was not an issue back then  Well, Dr. Sigurdsson heard something he didn't like and ordered an Echocardiogram last Friday afternoon.  Of course they don't tell you anything other than the doctor has to review.  On Sunday, while watching the game at my neighbor Tim's I got a message on the MyChart app, from the Doctor, he was working on Sunday morning!  Basically I'm going to need a valve job sometime in the near future.  The obvious symptoms are shortness of breath,  and here I thought it was because I am getting fat and old.  The next step is to followup with my regular doctor and discuss my options but at least it will not require open heart surgery again.  Apparently aortic valves can now be replace via arthroscopic surgery techniques where they get into your leg artery then push a catheter with a new valve up to your heart then deploy it.  Although it doesn't sound fun, it's probably much better than the alternative.  All of this explains why I have a hard time doing anything these days that involves some physical work.  Sunday was going to be the ideal day to take the Ranger out and do an end of the season run as well, winterize it.  The boat is powered by the new generation Evinrude Etec which is a two stroke and has oil injection.  Not feeling too much like doing anything Plan B was to put muffs on the water intake and start the engine outside my garage.  The Evinrude has a very nice system for winterizing.  There is a screen on the main engine display that is on the dash, one find this screen, then while the engine is running, press the red Winterize Engine square and voila!  The engine idle speeds up to warm the engine up before injecting more oil than normal into the system, which essentially fogs the engine.  Pretty slick if you ask me!  I changed the lower unit oil this summer so that is good to go as well.  All that's left is to vacuum it and put everything back in its place before the cold sets in.  Of course this marks the end of the open water fishing for Minnesota this year, with the current weather, ice fishing isn't too far behind!

New 14 Bushel collection system with 54 inch dethatching rake on front
Staying with the "getting old and lazy" theme, Fall is here and the leaves are dropping like crazy from
the trees.  Last spring I sold my old Lawn tractor system to my good friend Greg Kimblom.  Along with the tractor went the dethatcher/bagger system, the 47 inch snow blower attachment, and the soft cab for the winter.  This meant that the newer model John Deere lawn tractor needed to be completely reoutfitted for the fall and winter.  As stated early, not having the energy to install it myself I simply hauled the tractor to Rogers, MN to the big JD dealer there and had them install the first of what will help me to minimize my work come this fall and winter!  My wife found a contact that sells year old management units, similar to what we used to do when Lyn worked for Polaris, we could buy a new snowmobile and ATV every year, keep it for a set period of time then sell it for enough to pay for the next years new model.  This spring we bought a 2017 John Deere 734 27.5hp, all wheel steer, fully hydrostatic drive, with a shaft driven 60" mowing deck deck.  The old one had a 54 inch deck and I really wasn't sure of the 60" but it turned out pretty good as well it doesn't take as long to move the entire 2 acres that I do....Duh!.  This unit can really vacuum up the leaves as it has a separate blower attached to the mower deck pulley, and with the amount of leaves, it really fills up fast.  After deer hunting the tractor will go back in to get a new 54 inch snow blower as well as a new soft sided cab.  The new blower will be 7 inches wider than the old one, that should be nice if it moves the snow a quickly.  Maybe we will get lucky, buy all this stuff then it doesn't snow.  Trust me, I would not mind that a bit!  Maybe we will have to go back to this post next March to see how we did.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Trout Fishing with Bill

Absolutely a Beautiful View from the boat landing
Last week was quite busy, busy enough that my usual weekly post didn't make it.  One of the best reasons was that I had to prepare for my annual trout fishing day with my friend Bill Lundeen.  Admittedly it really doesn't take much on my part however the excuse sounds pretty good!  We settled on Friday as a date as the first part of October has been quite wet, yet there was a good reason to get our date finalized fairly soon as it isn't getting any warmer out.  As it is, there was snow on the ground as I approached Onamia, as well the standing water in the ditches has a thin crust of ice overlaying them.  It was still 30 degrees as I pulled into Bill's driveway at his newly remodeled home on Cove Bay.  It is sort of strange not meeting Bill at the corner tackle shop, as he officially sold his business, Lundeen's Tackle Castle, about 2 months agos ago.   35 years ago I fished Mille Lacs almost exclusively.  Living in Brooklyn Park at the time, my normal route up to the lake was to take Highway 47 to Isle and would stop at Portside to get any bait I needed.  When I moved to Dayton, the new route to Mille Lacs was up 169 and my new bait shop became Lundeen's Tackle Castle.  We have become great friends that essentially started as a business relationship, and it's been a great one!  We have trout fished every year since 2014 and this was our 5th trip to our secret lake that will remain so!  October is a beautiful month to fish as you can see on the picture above.  It is a small lake that is quite deep, over 100 feet and we speculate that it may have been an old mine pit at one time.  The water is crystal clear and has a landing but not for a traditional boat/trailer as one has to carry the boat down to the lake.  As we get
Bucket full of trout.
older it isn't getting any easier for sure, and my spot is in the front of the canoe, that in itself is a challenge!  It takes about an hour to get used to sitting in the canoe, but eventually one get's his sea legs and we spent over 5 hours to get our 10 rainbow trout.  this year wasn't my best performance as my attempt to try a different tactic didn't turn out so good.  Normally we use small hand tied crawler harnesses with a smaller spinner blade on them.  Deciding to try inline spinners, I did catch the first fish but really struggled after that.  Luckily I did get a few more hits but Bill was the star of the show this trip.  It probably was as simple as changing my lure however its not that easy in the canoe and as well, attached to my line was a Water Wolf Camera, which I used last year to get some great shots of the trout hitting my lure.  It is heavy and bulky, maybe that made all the difference.  I don't know but again, not complaining.  Looking at the first picture, one get's the idea of how peaceful and beautiful it was on Friday!  By the end of the day we headed home with a nice bag of rainbow trout.  Not terribly big, maybe 10 - 13" they are excellent on the grill.  Although planted in the lake, by fall their flesh has turned a light pink color and are just delicious wrapped in foil and thrown on the grill.  It is surprising how well these fish fight and the first one on the line almost pulled my pole out of my arms.  It was a great day on the water with my good friend Bill.  Admittedly the canoe is getting more precarious as I get older and may have to tackle that problem in the future!  Maybe we will start looking for a more flat bottom boat to make fishing a little easier.  We'll see as there are plenty of them on Craigslist and I don't think it would be that bad to haul it around.  That will be a great discussion for the ice house!

New Snowflap System
The other item that has taken a bunch of time is getting a new set of receiver mounted snowflaps ready for this years ice fishing season.  These flaps are necessary to help keep the snow from accumulating on the front of the wheel house as it's pulled down the road.  They do work pretty good however last year I was determined to get a new pair that will give even better protection to my wheel house.  Having basically assembled them, it became evident that my receiver ball mount would not work as the snowflap assembly was too thick to allow the mount to get far enough back in the receiver to get the hitch pin through.  Figuring the weather is changing fast, I'd better get going on getting this taken care of.  Really all that needed to be done was to get an extended ball mount then cut the actual flaps to the right height, securing all the bolts and do the final adjustments.  Well, try to find and extended ball mount, it's not that easy as Northern Tool has a lot of stuff, just not one with a 3 inch rise.  The guy at Northern was very nice and suggested I go back to U-haul up the road.  They had just what I needed and with a few measurements and actually hooking up the ice house gave me the drop created by the tongue weight, whether the rise was adequate, and the final adjustments needed to get that perfect fit.  Cutting off the bottom of the flaps with an ever handy utility knife, tightening everything up.  The last task is to attach a 2 5/16" ball to the mount and everything should be good to go.  These new flaps extend out about 4 inches from the bumper and hopefully will give me better coverage.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Getting Things Buttoned Up

4 Series 32 AGM's and the charger
After all the electrical work on the boat prior to going to Canada, in the end it didn't make a hill of beans difference in the performance of my electronics.  Almost everytime we were done fishing an area I had to turn the master switch to the jump position to get the outboard motor started.  Of course hindsight is 20/20 and admittedl I was probably too smart for my own good!  Thinking I could solve all of my problems with some rewiring and a boost circuit, along with the assumption that the AC voltage at the docks could be bad, like they were at Fisherman's Cove, I was loaded for bear!  As you might have read, I rewired the power to the console area, added a new power distribution methodology, cleaned up my boost converter, yet still it was like I did nothing.  In the boat I added a USB charging port for charging things such as cell phones, my Ipod, and other things.  It has a  built in volt meter so I can easily monitor the battery voltage at the power distribution center, and there is where my first clue appeared.  Normally battery voltage should stay above 12 volts however the voltmeter showed 11.6 and it was falling.  In about an hour it was down to 10.5, low enough to cause major problems.  I even brought a special AC voltage booster for the power at the docks but the plug in voltage at the docks was adequate to assure a good charge.  Even so after about 4 hours, I was in trouble.  Add that to the fact that power went out the night before our last day and therefore it was really a problem as the low battery from the day before didn't even have a chance to charge fully.  On top of this, I had to keep the power on to run the baitwell pumps to keep our minnows alive.  Well I made it through the trip, inconvenienced but still got back to the landing.  The discussions started centering around whether or not my main "house" battery was starting to get a weak cell as it sure acted like it.  Once home I charged everything up then removed the house battery and took it to Pete's and had him load test it.  Yep, it is weak for sure.  Well this would explain everything that was going on for the last 2 months.  So I run series 31 AGM's as they are truly maintenance free and because they are in the floor do not require any maintenance on the electrolyte. In addition, I always keep my onboard charger plugged in as it has a maintenance mode to keep the batteries healthy.  I called my dealer as these batteries are about 39 months old, they have a 36 month free replacement and I assumed a pro-rated formula after that.  NOPE, 36 months, that's it.  I explained this issue has been going on a while, I guess if I would have checked in May it would have not cost me anything.  Frankie's stated they would talk to the Interstate Battery rep and we will see what they can do.  In the mean time I needed a good battery so I bought a replacement ...... $360 ... ouch!! I trust Frankie's will do everything they can for me as they always do, but a warranty date is a warranty date.  Interesting as I put in the new battery and connected it the positive cable sparked when it touched the terminal, that's not necessarily good.  I found the source of the current draw and put a switch in to shut off certain parts of my electronics without affecting my pumps and other safety features.  All the stuff I did a month ago is still a great idea, but honestly, may have not been necessary.

Getting the pig going!
We go home on Friday night, September 21st and on the next day, our neighbor Tim had his annual pig roast.  He gets about a 230 pound whole hog and has a specially made pig roasted where he first brines the whole carcass before putting it in the smoker and pouring the smoke to it.  It takes a good 12 to 18 hours to completely cook it however it is quite delicious, especially with his own homemade barbeque sauce.  This year along with the food, he had entertainment, our old neighbor Bots and his band called Blues Driver.  They are pretty good but admittedly I really didn't know many of the songs as I am not much of a blues fan!  I still appreciate good music and they did an outstanding job for sure.  This weekend will be getting caught up around the house as we had our first freeze a week ago so everything is changing quick.  I need to replace the vacuum system on my new lawn tractor as I am not raking nothing!  The boat still needs to be put together and the lawn needs fertilizing, sprinkler system blown out, trees trimmed and the average high is only in the low 50's.  I have talked to Bill and it looks like we have a trout fishing date set for the 12th.  I am hoping to get back on the river this weekend but we'll have to see.  Last weekend was my good friend Big Dave's son's wedding in Alma.  We drove home that night and I got my first speeding ticket ever.....damn.  Oh well not much one can do about it.  I am also trying to get my new mud flaps to fit my truck, getting ready to pull the ice shack.  My 45th class reunion is on the 13, no rest for the wicked, as they say!!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Lac Seul, Last Trip of the Year.

Sunset at Chamberlain Narrows
Monday September 17th was the start of the last trip of the year to Lac Seul Outpost.  After a year's absence, our good fried Dan Sadler was graciously able to join us again on our fall trip to Chamberlain Narrows.  Dan was even gracious enough and offered to pull my boat up, which was very nice of him.  Arriving at the pole shed at 5:30 we had everything loaded and ready to go in 15 minutes.  Besides gas the next stop was T. Pattenn Cafe in Orr, Minnesota to meet Bruce, Wayne and the new guy, Barry Blazevic for breakfast.  After our fill of a good homemade breakfast next stop was the Holiday in International Falls to fill up the vehicles and boats for the long trek to Sioux Lookout.  Dan decided to stop at the Duty Free store to stock up on some Crown Royal before we went over the border.  Unfortunately when asked what he had, he wasn't quite accurate with our counts so I corrected him as I had it written down.  the customs officer saw I had it written down so she asked for the paper, which we obliged.  I have a theory on border crossings and alcoholic beverages.  I think that if you answer the questions directly, they really don't have that much time to add it all up in their head, this time it was written down so for only the second time since 2013, we had to pay duty.  Not that it's a big deal, as we have been over our legal limit many times yet I find it interesting that this time was different and I attribute it to having wrote it down, oh well.  Next stop was Sioux Lookout to get some large minnows then off to Deception to launch the boats and head north to the cabins, a 34.5 mile ride across the water.  This time of year the weather was often cooler and it was no exception.  Arriving at the landing around 5:30 that gave us just enough time to get into camp before sunset, which we did.  As you can see Sunsets are beautiful and I just happened to catch this one from our deck.  A great way to end an evening.

So fishing was good but not the best we have seen over the years.  Our first day was spent in Tuk
A day's worth of keepers, most for supper, some in the Freezer.
Bay, just south of camp.  It is one of my favorite areas but the fish seemed to be awfully scattered this season.  I am not sure if it was the late spring, the hot summer, low water, what ever, we had to look hard for our fish.  Once we found them it was game on for a while before we had to move again.  I was surprised at the amount of boats in Tuk, I am sure we saw at least 10, which can get crowded.  Never the less we did pretty good by the Island and a place I call Pete's point. We weren't getting a lot of slot fish (16 - 17-3/4 inches) but we did get quite a few in that 18 to 22 inch range.  Needing to get enough for our fish fry we headed to what we now call Craig's Corner, on the north edge of Chamberlain Narrows, it is usually good for some action, we accomplished our goals for the day and headed back to camp.  As stated before I tend to clean all of the fish in camp after my first trip there seeing a guy hack their walleyes.  Well Barry was interested in helping me which was fine however I told him I was fussy.  After watching him clean his first 2 fish I told him he would be better at skinning them and as he states, I fired him.  We had fun and by the end of the trip he was getting pretty good.  It was nice to have someone to talk to while filleting the fish. 

Next post I will have some pictures of the guys and their walleyes, unfortunately I only had a few fish large enough to warrant pictures. As well, I have to wait till the guys send the ones of me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The 29th Annual Kramer Open

Wild Marsh Sporting Clays Course.
Saturday was the 29th Annual Kramer Open hosted by a good friend, Dave Kramer.  Dave originally started the Kramer Open as a means to raise money for the family of a good friend who passed away, Doug Leu.  Dave has done this now for 29 years and over that time Doug's wife had passed away leaving their children.  My involvement began a number of years ago when my great and late friend, Tom Emmons invited me to shoot the Kramer.  Although a lot of the players have changed over the years, it is still fun to get out on the first Saturday after Labor Day and shoot 100 birds at Wild Marsh Sporting Clays, I used to shoot a league there a number of years ago and it was a lot of fun.  It was a 500 bird league with the requirement to shoot 100 birds a month for April, May, June, July, and August.  You could basically shoot it anytime within the designated time for the month so there was zero pressure to show up every week and shoot, which was nice.  Of course time always flies by quickly and it would seem as though we would barely get in our 100 birds before the next month started.  The Kramer is alot of fun as I do not shoot a sporting clays league there anymore however I really enjoy the shooting and the challenges of hitting the clay targets in the configurations that they set up.  Usually the courses are set up like a golf course.  At the Wild Marsh they have the Green Course, Blue Course and Red Course.  In previous shoots there would be 9 stations per course, 50 targets sort of like a golf course.  This year's setup was 16 stations on the Green Course, 14 with 6 targets and 2 with 8 to make a total of 100.  It certainly made for a fast course completion as the stations were fairly close together, I think it only took about 3.5 hours, about an hour faster than usual.  So out of 41 guys I finished in 7th place with 82 out of 100 targets hit, right behind my friend and co-worker, Mike Scheunke, who was on my team along with Lory Brasel and 2 new guys, Tim and Dan.  Mike shoots quite often in a league and hit 3 more than myself with a score of 85.  These are not bad scores at all considering how rusty one gets after a year of not shooting.  Anyway it was fun and afterwards we all gathered at Dave's house for some refreshments, a Taco dinner, and the infamous Junk auction where Dave raises money for the Leu family.  All in good fun, I bought some obscure garden tools for $1.00 and did donate some extra funds to get a set of seven In-Fisherman how to DVD's a pretty nice set and will come in handy for ice fishing entertainment.  Dave had a nice new in the box Browning A-Bolt .308 rifle on the auction but they did not call my number on that one, which was OK.  All in All it was a fun time, something that I look forward to every year as it is always on the weekend after Labor Day.  Not that I need any excuse but it also serves as a great memory of my times with my late friend Tom Emmons.

New Power Center Distribution Terminals
Last week I had updated my progress on rewiring the boat to fix a number of electrical issues I have been seeing when I fish Canada.  One of the things that is probably causing my issues could be low voltage at the docks where I plug in at night, preventing the batteries from fully charging overnight.  This has an accumulative effect as the batteries are not at their peak of charge and performance.  There are 2 things that I have done.  First is to significantly beef up the electrical circuits that feed the console power.  Although I am not sure what the original configurations were, I bypassed it and as stated last week, ran #6 ga from the batteries in the floor to the console.  This is more than enough to assure good power to my electronics.  I finally received the terminal blocks and mounted them where my electronics hookup area is and started from there.  In the past I had discussed using a boost circuit to help however when I reconfigured it, the circuit kept blowing the automatic circuit breakers that are standard with my Ranger.  For sure I could run the converter straight off the battery via the distribution terminal without issues so I put a 20 Amp fuse in line for protection and reconfigured all of my power connections so all of my add on electronics such as the Lowrance HDS Carbons, SonicHub 2, Structure Scan 3D and other electronics would now have a boost voltage of 14.6VDC assuring trouble free operation.  In addition I replaced my USB power socket with a new one that has a red LED voltage readout on it (much easier to see in the sunlight than my previous blue LED) then tied it directly to the distribution terminals.  Now I can monitor the battery voltage from the console, it is pretty slick.  One of the other things is building a boost transformer for the low dock voltage in Canada.  At the Fisherman's Cove where I was last month the voltage at the end of my extension cord was 92VAC.  I suspect that it may be similar at the Lac Seul Outposts, where I am going on Monday.  If so maybe I can fix the problem from both ends, increase the dock voltage that powers my on board battery chargers to assure a full charge over night, and fix the internal power inside the boat so if there is an issue, it is minor.  Time will tell!  Either way I am fishing next Monday through Friday so my next post could be a week late. Hopefully it will be worth it. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

It's Never Too Late...Sometimes It Is

Leon and His Granddaughter, That's my Leon!
There are often times when you wait to do something and after doing it people say, Well it's better late than never......or It's never too late.  Unfortunately that is not always the case.  On Friday night I was tying up some snells for catfishing on the river.  Using turned eye circle hooks, snelling them was a great way to assure the proper hook set for these types of hooks.  There are many ways to tie a snelled hook and the method I use was taught to me by my friend Leon Lambert.  Leon was a purchasing agent for one of my customers in Pueblo, Colorado and we often talked on the phone.  One thing lead to another and it was soon discovered that we enjoyed fishing alot.  So much that one time in the early 90's he had to travel to the corporate offices in La Crosse, Wisconsin for meetings so I arranged to meet him and we both went fishing in my boat below the dam in Alma, Wisconsin for walleyes.  It was the first part of April and luckily turned out to be great day to fish, few boats on the river, the water wasn't too high or fast, we had a great time.  We did catch a few fish, it was a little early in the season but it really turned out to be a blind date as Leon or I had never met, we just met and went fishing.  Well that date cemented what turned out to be a life long friendship.  That friendship included a few trips fishing in Colorado, once on the Arkansas River, west of Pueblo.  Action wasn't fast or furious but never the less it was an adventure.  One winter's day we had a conference at our facility in Fort Collins.  I brought our UL guy, Rick Barthel with me and we arrived on a Saturday, destined to fish the weekend before heading to the plant on Monday.  Our destination was DeWeese Reservoir, about 50 miles West of Pueblo, near Westcliffe, Colorado.  The plan was to ice fish for trout in the morning then head to Eleven Mile Reservoir and maybe catch some larger fish.  DeWeese is at 7700 feet of elevation and the ice was pretty thick.  Leon didn't have much for ice fishing except a hand auger and some older equipment.  In the meantime, being from Minnesota, Rick and I were well equipped as we brought our made for ice fishing poles, tackle, and we even brought a depth finder, my Vexilar FL8.  There were a few people on the ice however by the time we got set up, we were the stars of the show.  Everyone was fishing with short casting rods and spin cast reels while we were finesse fishing with our equipment, and quite successful I might add.  After catching a number of trout we packed up and headed to another of Leon's spots, Eleven Mile.  Unlike DeWesse, and even though it was at a higher elevation, there was no snow on the ice, it was bare, wind sweeped, and treacherous.  Of course our fishing destination was across from our landing and about halfway there Leon slipped and fell on his wrist.  In quite a bit of pain we turned around and brought him home.  That evening we had learned Leon had broke his wrist and had it in a cast.  The good news is that he learned quite a bit about finesse ice fishing and eventually bought the electronics to improve his game.  Leon retired about 11 years ago in 2007, we stayed in touch but as it goes, time flies fast enough.  Well tying those snells made me think of Leon so I decided that it's been too long, and dialed his number.  Being around 9:40 it might have been a little late as he did not answer the phone.  Well at least his voice mail worked so I left a pointed message and figured I'd call in the morning.  My phone rang at 7:30 and by the time I got to it, too late.   Well I'll call later, which I did and his wife Carol answered.  The first thing to come out of my mouth was...Where's that husband of yours?  I sensed from her tone that it wasn't going to be something I wanted to hear and I was right as she told me that Leon had passed away 10 days ago on August 20th of a heart attack.  At that point one is speechless.  I suppose it had been 2 years or so since I had spoken to Leon, it was now too late.  Leon was one of those guys who fit the saying....Friends are like stars, you might not always see them but you know they are always there.  Well Leon, you are always in my heart, God Bless you and hopefully I will head in the same direction that I know you are.  See you my friend.  If one is ambitious simply go to the left hand side and you can click on Leon's name and see the other posts about him!

21 inch Smallmouth Bass, a Trophy
So what would Leon expect me to do, sit around and moan or go fishing and enjoy life.  So with a heavy heart and a head spinning, we did what I am sure would have made Leon happy and went out on the River for a few hours on Saturday night with my neighbor Todd, the catfish king!  The plan was simple, 4 miles up river and cast for smallies till about 7:30 then head to below the island and fish for whatever is eating night crawlers.  Although Todd professed to understand how to cast a levelwind, admittedly it was painful to watch.  Our strategy was to cast crankbaits into the shore and reel them so they either came straight back to the boat or slightly downstream (Last weeks post dealt with that!).  About a half mile down from our stopping point where there was some rip rap along the shore with about 10 feet of calmer water before the current break was, a huge fish hit my lure and right away one knew it was nice.  It was in the same area that a large smallie took a swipe at my bait last week, this one was solidly hooked.  With some coaxing Todd finally got the net in place, head first, and he successfully netting this beautiful 21 inch smallmouth, my personal best.  We let her go after taking a few pictures, she was a beast for sure.  We did manage a few more fish even as Todd spent at least half his time undoing bird's nests in the reel.  He finally got the hang of it somewhat just as we approached 7:30 so we put everything away and headed downstream.  Anchoring just below Cloquet Island we did manage a few smaller catfish, another rock bass yet I don't really think that is correct and am doing some more research.  Todd caught another Redhorse before it got too late and we had to go.  The motor on the jon boat is still acting up somewhat as it seems to flood very easily.  The float is probably bad in the carburetor,  another project on the list.  Using the trolling motor to go back to the landing, that was working for a while but one last try on the Mercury and it started.

Beautiful ending to a evening on the River.
It was a long day for sure but an evening on the river is magical.  While anchored and looking upriver I took this picture of the sunset.  It was like Leon was smiling down on us and congratulating us on the good evening of fishing, like I know he would.  In the meantime there has been a lot of work done on the Ranger.  Having electrical problems from the last trip to Lac Seul, my goal is to have all of it fixed by the time we leave back to Chamberlain Narrows on September 17th.  It hasn't been that easy as Ranger's have these internal electronic circuit breakers that really work well but have their limitations.  The best thing was to run a separate power circuit from the battery to the front console then use that as a strong source for your electronics power needs, separate from the standard boat accessories.  Although not done, I have the 6 gauge cable ran, the ring terminals crimped, and awaiting my Amazon ordered power distribution terminal strips to make sure that the job is done professionally.  Hopefully it will all be done by the weekend as I need to also update my electronics before I go.  Lowrance's new upgrade allows one to now make your own maps as a previous update did using Sonar Charts Live.  The difference is one no longer needs to have the latest Navionic's Chip that has the current $99/year subscription attached to it.  The mapping option, down to .5 feet resolution is now a free option on Lowrance HDS Carbon's and Gen 3's.   The only thing one needs to do is download the software on a MicroSD card, insert it into the card slots on the device and turn it on.  The software will need a blank 32 gigabyte or less card to record the maps it creates. That's easy as you can now buy quality 32 gigabyte MicroSD for about $10 these days.  Amazing as when I started digital photography memory cards were $1 per megabyte, now it's less than $0.00032 per megabyte.