Thursday, January 29, 2015

Taking the Weekend Off....Sort of

Lundeen's Tackle Castle
Pulling the Salem home from Red Lake is sort of anticlimactic as it means an end to those fishing adventures that proved to be so enjoyable.  Looking to do something more constructive I called my friend Bill Lundeen to see if he needed any help at the bait shop on Saturday morning. The Brainerd Ice Fishing Contest was Saturday and with only a few bait shops open anymore, he claimed it was going to be busy and could always use a warm body.  Having helped Bill in the past I know how crazy it can get so I got up at 5:00AM on Saturday and headed north.  Arriving by 7:00 they were already busy, I waited for the cue.  It's easy to bag minnows and rig fishing poles, it's a little more difficult to run the cash register and issue fishing licenses, but in due time I was getting pretty good at it.  One of Bill's customers came in with an auger he ended up hitting a bolt with somehow and needed blades replaced.  This is an easy job and working off the top of the freezer I managed to replace both blades with only one minor cut to my hand, not bad.  The guy was so grateful he paid for the blades and gave me a 4 dollar tip for helping him, that would come in handy later!  It took about an hour and soon I was back in the swing of things and ringing up sales like a pro.  One of the things I do like is talking to the clientele as most people that stop in are looking for 2 things, bait and where are they biting.  The bait is easy and the "where are they biting" is often relative to where they want to go and what skill level they have.  With Mille Lacs it's pretty easy, just say the flats and you'll never be wrong as there is plenty of them around the lake and with the lack of snow one can drive almost anywhere.  It's interesting as I see myself as a pretty honest guy and I hosed up with a customer.  He got a minnow bucket, a dozen fatheads and a dozen rainbows, some waxies and a bait. When I came to ring him up I always call out what I am charging for as I enter it into the till.  Starting out at a dozen rainbows, enter..a dozen fatheads, enter...2 boxes of waxies, enter...a rattle spoon, enter... comes to $14.59, out of $20, here's your change.  The minute he walked out the door I realized I didn't charge him for the $3.79 minnow bucket and I'm pretty sure he knew that.  Well, there went my $4.00 tip.  I would never do that as my values are worth more than that.  Bill immediately sensed my mistake and called me on it but by then I had already acknowledged the problem.  Beyond that I missed a $0.50 oxygen bag so it wasn't too bad.  It was still fun to help and I know Bill appreciated the assistance.

Wild Rice and Home Made Maple Syrup
Things slowed down around 1:00 so I figured it was a good time to head to Dewey's Mille Lacs Access and try a spot we call the Christmas Tree.  Dewey runs a road in Vineland Bay and it extends out past Indian Point and areas east of there.  The lake has quite a few heaves caused by the shifting ice as it warms an cools and this year it's pretty bad.  The best thing is to pay for a road access and usually they have a bridge across the bad spots that allow you to get out on the ice further.  Well I put my $10 in Dewey's pay box and headed east about 1 1/2 miles where there he was with another guy, in front of his bridge.  The warm weather had really pushed the ice up and he pulled his bridge until it was a bit safer to put it back in place.  It was about 2:30 when I stopped and he offered to refund my money but I simply decided to stay on the shore side of the crack and try my luck.  After BS'ing with those guys for a while I punched about 10 holes in 22 feet of water and started fishing but by then the wind was picking up and the bite was nonexistent.  Deciding to pack up I headed back to Bill's just in time for pizza and his homemade tortilla soup, a nice way to end the day.  It's fun to help out someone and I did get out on the lake for a couple hours anyway.  Bill and a friend of his harvests their own wild rice on the lakes around Onamia in the fall and as well in the spring he makes quite a bit of maple syrup so I picked up a couple of containers for my friends in Texas.  Feeling guilty for all the TX they sent, I'm sure they will enjoy the goodies from there up north friend.

Superbowl Sunday is at my neighbor Tim's again as it is every year and I'm looking forward to watching the game, even if the Packer's, who should be playing, are not.  The plan is to sneak out and maybe go look for some crappies on Saturday before the cold weather returns that evening, we'll see.


Anonymous said...

I love this blog, especially the care package. Your very lucky to have such great friends!

Shipping Jon

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

I could use a hand cleaning and packing fish this summer. I'll pay you what Bill pays you. We don't have a till so we're safe there.....