Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cheesehead's Chasing the 'Eyes

Last Sunday I left home around 6:00 needing to meet my two clients at the baitshop before 8:00AM. I knew that they were a father/son combo (Bob/John) and Bob was looking forward to his 83rd birthday. John was looking for a unique experience on Mille Lacs for his dad yet wanted to make sure he was taken care of and was comfortable. I get really excited about these opportunties as anyone who wants to fish Mille Lacs at 82 deserves to be the star of the show. It did not take long before I learned that my guests where from Neilsville Wi, 40 miles from my home town of Eleva. Fellow Cheeseheads, the trip had started out perfect! The wind was pushing out of the Northwest so I decided to launch at the old Cashes Landing, north of the casino. It would offer better protection against the growing rollers. After John donned his Packer hat we headed for the first small flat off to the right. I rigged Bob with a crawler and John with a leech. I tie my own crawler rigs using TruTurn baitholder hooks. These hooks have the unique ability to do exactly what they advertise and the cam action really works. I find that especially with nightcrawlers, the hooks practically set themselves giving Bob the advantage. Well, 20 minutes and Bob was fighting his first fish. I could tell it was a big fish however the hook didn't have the bite it needed and the rod when straight. Still it was a good sign. Another drift and we decided to move to the next flat. The NW wind was tolerable and allowed us to drift the edges of the next 2 flats before we put our first walleye in the net. Those TruTurns came through. Another drift convinced us to bring out the planer boards and head to the next easterly flat. I am not a big fan of trolling across the waves but it gave us a nice needed rest. Running parallel to the edge of the next flat I really started marking fish, enough to say, pull in the boards. Just as I gave the word one of the boards started doing the dance. We landed a 25 incher and my mind went nuts. Continue trolling or rig through the marks on the screen. Well, I had to pull up the other line anyway so once in, I would make the decision. This line seemed to be wrapped around the trolling motor as it was coming in awfully odd. The line counter showed 10 feet left but it was really stuck now. I looked behind the motor and to my surprise, a 27 inch walleye was dangling on the end of the rainbow trout reef runner. My decision made we trolled another hour and picked up 2 more fish. Looking for a rest we decided to drift the marks. We ended with 2 more before heading back closer to the landing. Trying bobbers at our first stop and Bob caught this fish. The wind and the sun took it's toll and we headed back to the car with a total of 8 very nice fish released with the senior cheesehead pulling in 5 . Bob was 100% small town Wisconsin. A WWII vet, he entertained us with stories of his adventures, coming back home to eventually start a business and raise a family. He loves fishing and still has that sparkle in his eye when the fish finally hits the net. Bob could have easily been any one of the people that influenced my life as a young child in a small town. Unfortunately the Bob's of the world are fewer and further between. I hope that he enjoyed his trip as much as I did. Happy Birthday Bob.

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