Friday, March 30, 2018

Sportshow Time

Dan Gapen and I
One of the things I cannot get enough of is the Minneapolis Northwest Sportsman's Show at the Convention Center in downtown Minneapolis.  It is the largest event of this type and pretty much features everything one experiences in the course of a summer of fishing and enjoying the great outdoors.  Most years I have the opportunity to attend twice and this year was no exception.  Last Thursday I had the pleasure of having Bruce Wiley accompany me.  Thursday is senior day and those 62 and older get a $3 discount, one might as well take advantage of this.  Most people know that I like to talk a lot and at these shows it's no exception.  With everything form my boat dealer, Frankie's to the electronics on my boat, to all of the things I use and like, they are usually represented at the show and increasing one's knowledge of these products and changes is always good.  New technologies are often presented at the show and it's a great place to get caught up with the industry.  Also it's a great place to meet all of the friends you've made over the years and see those that read this blog regularly.  Bruce commented that geez Anderson, I can't take you anywhere where you don't know someone!  Of special surprise was stopping by Showalters Flyin Service, I met Denny a few years back at JR's on Red Lake while waiting to get out on the lake,  he exclaimed that JR was at the show.  I quickly texted him and made sure that we would not leave without seeing each other, which towards the end, we met him in the very first row.  He was with his Airplane sales guy and Bruce and him hit it off very well.  It is always nice to see JR outside of the zoo he operates at Red Lake and Bruce and I promised we'd fly up sometime and have lunch.  JR even threatened to fly over to our camp on Lac Seul and fish with me for a day.  I am going to try and make that happen sometime.  Sunday found me heading back to the show to follow up on the things I did not get to do on Thursday, take advantage of the deals that are posted on the last day, as they'd rather sell it then pack it up.  One of the booths I ran across was Dan Gapen's booth, and he was it it!  Dan Gapen is probably the most famous river fisherman there ever was (OK, my friend Kevin is pretty good as well!) and has written books on River fishing as well has his own bait company and is the inventor of the Ugly Bug jig.  I stopped to shake his hand and to tell him I just bought his River Walleye Fishing book on Amazon and they were surprised.  We talked about his days fishing the Nipigon River, he knew exactly where my buddy Jim Tollefson and I fished when we were in our late teems, at the old loggers camp by what Dan called Victoria Falls, the outlet of Lake Nipigon.  I ended up buying a book from him and he personally endorsed it for me, signing a nice greeting and his name.  He was still pretty sharp and I am anxious to try some of the techniques we discussed when fishing the Mississippi River this summer.  On Thursday, a new RS landing net, the Green Bay model, found it's way into my hands.  I got the bright Lime Green model, it will be easier to see when I need it.  Sunday was a little more expensive, ending up with a new storage box fro under the back seat of my truck, Reeds had 25% off of their Simms clothing so a light hooded shirt found it's way into my bag.  Leaving fully satisfied with my visits and about $200 dollars poorer, I headed home.

Last fish through the ice, of the year?
Saturday was our almost annual fishing trip with my wife's uncles Bernie and Andy, and their sons Jason and Jake.  A couple of years ago we fished at Jason's in-laws place on Chetac Lake in Birchwood, Wisconsin.  This year we headed back to Wapogasset Lake, just east of St. Croix Falls.  Fishing on the north side we could not drive on by the resort access but a mile down the lake was another access not affected by the sun, it was good enough to get on.  We headed north to fish in about 12 feet of water yet the fishing wasn't very good.  Andrew and I got a nice 10 inch perch each, but that was about it.  It was a long time between fish so at at about 3:00 we headed north to Balsam Lake, one of Andy's hot spots.  Finally figuring out where to get on the lake we drove out only to drill holes in 5 feet of water.  My Navionics App with the lake map was not working because of poor cell service.  Heading to the center of the bay we eventually found 11 feet of water.  Later it was discovered that 11 feet was about it.  Being in the basin should have been a good place to fish however the only thing that bit was this small pound and a half largemouth bass.  It put up a great fight on the 3# test line but it certainly wasn't a crappie that we were looking for.  By the end of the day this was the only fish we got on Balsam Lake, the debate about leaving Wapogasset started but what's done is done!  Either way it was my first trip to Balsam Lake and although the fishing wasn't that great it was a beautiful lake, one worth coming back to sometime.  It was just like being 200 miles north of home, I was quite impressed.  We finished the day at a local bar and grill having a great hamburger before heading home. 

There is a lot of work to do before opener.  The boat is still in storage however the front step needs welding, the depth finders need to be reinstalled and updated.  All of my equipment is at home and have been working on changing line, cleaning the reels, getting the tackle boxes reorganized.  The trip last month to Texas has changed my attitude about bass fishing and I'm getting organized to do more of bass fishing this summer.  It's Easter Weekend and we have a while before the ice goes out as the ice was at least 32 inched thick last weekend.

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