Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our 3rd Annual MTT for Eric Applen

Catching in the rain

Last Saturday my friend Mark Applen and I competed in our third annual MTT walleye circuit tournament on Mille Lacs Lake.   The people who run the Minnesota Tournament Trail happen to be Mark's neighbors at Fisherman's Wharf on the east side of Mille Lacs and graciously donate a tournament position each year.  Mark and I assure that their donation is fully utilized to it full extent by purchasing at the stated value, a great excuse to spend a day together on the lake.  It has not been without it's rewards as the first year we entered landed us in 3rd place, good enough to raise $1046 for Mark's passion, the Eric Nicole Applen fund.  The story has been told many times yet the work is as important as ever, supporting those families affected by cancer.  Last month my cousin Mark Anderson from Anchorage sent me an e-mail asking for help.  A co-worker and obviously someone special to him had a 7 year old daughter that learned she had a rare form of leukemia.  A quick diagnosis in Anchorage determined that her best hope was in Portland Oregon, a decision that needed no discussion.  She was transported by air ambulance immediately to Portland and the family could only sit back and watch.  Understanding that families are thrust into these situations without fully understanding the impact on their day to day lives, the ENA fund sent a significant grant to help them deal with their situation.  No, we cannot fix the problem but we can try to take a little stress away.  I'm never sure but really it's only important that we try.  If you are interested in helping make a difference please go to  and donate whatever you feel is appropriate.  Our big fund raiser, the ENA golf tournament is on June 14th and to date we have raised over $250,000 for helping families simply cope.  As far as this year, well we finished 40th out of 73 teams.  It's easy to look back at our strategy and for me 
Dinged prop
we left a hot bit to look for that elusive 18 - 20 inch slot.  After catching a 19.875" keeper on our first spot, another 23 incher and it went dead.  With the late ice out we decided to fish shallow yet the weeds hadn't even emerged with put a wrench in our strategy.  The next stop was a 20 foot offshore hump about 3 miles out.  I started to mark fish immediately however they tended to be tight to the bottom.  As the wind picked up we decided to drift and within 5 minutes something slammed my nightcrawler.  3 minutes later we netted a 20.5 inch walleye, a tad too big.  As the wind continued to build, we drifted a pattern ending up with 4 fish up to 26 inches in less than an hour.  It was raining like crazy and as you see the pictures we got included raindrops on the lens.  Getting beat up we decided to move back to the shallower area where we missed a nice walleye and landed an 18 inch smallmouth bass.  Our weigh in was at 3:30 so we headed north to get closer to Hunter's Point Resort, the host of the MTT, and did a drift across Lakeside Reef.  There was a lot of fish yet we only ended up with a keeper smallie.  Heading in to make sure we qualified, I dropped off Mark at the dock with our fish then moved out.  Because the wind was blowing into the resort and the troughs of the waves were substantial, as I backed up at idle speed my prop hit something and it wasn't good.  Immediately the motor started to vibrate as I knew this wasn't going to be cheap!  After getting back to the dock and loading the boat, the skag was bent to the left and one blade had been altered a bit.  I'm pretty sure the shaft is good but we'll see as I bring it in on Monday to get fixed.  This whole thing got me thinking about my planned trip to Lake Oahe in July and what would I do if I hit something.  A quick check of Craigslist found a 14 x 20P Suzuki propeller for about 1/2 price of a new one..............I'll take it!  A good deal, it's probably a good idea to have a spare, especially for my trip out to Lake Oahe in July.

World Class Apple Wine
 This week has been anything but normal.  Saturday was our MTT, Sunday was an effort of get a few things done around the house then head to Hillsdale, Wisconsin for a graduation of an old friend's grand daughter.  On Tuesday my wife and I spent the afternoon/evening taking wedding pictures for our dear friends Bill and Kathy Lundeen's daughter Amanda and her new husband Tom.  With Bill's bait shop facing the peak time for his business, any distraction would have an impact on his success for the year so a mid week wedding was perfect.  Luckily Bill's friend Mike Meleen (who I worked with a couple weeks ago) decided to help by manning the shop.  On Wednesday night Lory Brasel and I spent time bottling our homemade apple wine.  It actually turned out fabulous as we bottled 25 750ml bottles of the wine.  The apple wine was made from cider that Lory and I pressed in 2011 from my orchard and included 5 different varieties; Haralson, Honeygold, Honeycrisp, Fireside, and Wolf River.  Apple wine starts out very dry so it needs to be sweetened to make it drinkable.  After doing a little taste testing I believe we got a winner and proceeded to bottle.  Lory commented that he would like to enter the wine at the Minnesota State Fair and I agreed.  We have rhubarb wine in the  fermenter and may actually get another batch of apple going.  It's pretty good stuff!

This weekend is again crazy.  We are driving to Madison to attend a funeral, my nephew Alex graduates, and my gut feel is that the walleye bite on Mille Lacs is hot.  I cannot get my motor in to get the skag and propeller fixed until Monday so I might have to use my new "used" prop.  My plan is to switch the prop, maybe head to Mille Lacs on Sunday, and let the chips fall where they may.  With the constant rain the garden is starting to weed up, the grass is growing like mad, and work is absolutely nuts!

1 comment:

Jeff King said...

Oh man, hitting in reverse is the worst. I hope the shaft is OK for you, it takes alot to bend that stainless.