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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reminiscing About My Fishing Past

image credit  joedferg

Fishing opener has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Now with two little one’s, opener seeming to always fall on Mothers day here in Minnesota, and my recent obsession with Turkey hunting taking me away form the family. I don’t have much time for fishing on opener. I want to share with you some of my most memorable times on Minnesota’s fishing opener.

My first opener I was around the age of 11 or 12 my good friend Matt and his dad Art asked me to go up to Milacs Lake and have our bobbers hit the water at 12 AM opening morning. It sure did sound like a good idea at the time, so I tagged along.

I’ll make a long story short here. The wind was crazy and cold. I was all decked out in my winter gear making fishing very hard. White caps on the lake made for a very unstable ride. I think I caught one fish and got my gloves snarled on the hooks more then I would like to admit. Matt and I ended up sleeping on the floor of the boat while Art kept fishing.

On the ride home a bolt on the trailer snapped and the trailer, truck and all of us came to a screeching halt. It wasn’t a fun trip at the time, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything I learned a lot on that trip.


I was probably about 18 at this time my good buddy Luke and I went up to his Folks cabbing near Brainerd Minnesota. Neither of us had a boat and I think his dad was using his boat for another trip.

The two of us decided to rent a canoe at the resort. Great idea we fished for Walleyes for a few hours and I don’t think we ever even got one nibble. Since the lake was a great Pike Lake we decided to give them a shot. Sure enough we caught a few.

The best part was when we were fishing for the Northern Pikes and Luke caught a Monster bass, if I remember correctly it was pushing 22 ½ inches. Too bad for him bass fishing didn’t open for another two weeks and we didn’t have a camera.

Then out of no where the sun disappeared and the clouds moved in. Along with the clouds came the wind. Luke and I were on the opposite side of the Lake from where we needed to be. We had to paddle all the way back into the wind with white caps on the lake. Cold wet and windy, but it was a blast.


Last but not least It must have been about three years ago Luke and I challenged Luke’s Dad Lew and his pal John to a mini tournament on opening day. Where the losers had to clean and cook the fish along with cleaning up the mess. The key was to get the most inches of fish with in a legal limit and Walleyes were worth double inches.

The morning went well I landed my biggest fish ever something like a 32 or 33 inch Northern Pike. But we didn’t catch our limit. When we met up for lunch Luke and I were not even in the vicinity of total inches we needed to even keep close to Lew and John. We had only 3 fish in our boat and they had a full limit of Northerns plus a few other fish.

Needless to say after lunch Luke and I were off to catch the rest of our limit of Northern Pikes and did so with in about 45 minutes. Then we went to go catch a mess of pan fish. We found a nice little spot and were catching blue gills left and right. With a few Crappies sprinkled in.

We had a cretin we had to be back to the dock and it was roughly fifteen minutes away. We had a ten minute boat ride back to the dock we decide it was time to go so we each tossed our lines in the water one last time. I didn’t get anything but Luke caught a nice crappie around 14 inches. We loaded everything up and raced back to the dock.

We got back to the dock with one minute to spare. Now it was time to measure fish. The old guys went first because they were very confident that we didn’t land enough fish to catch them and it wasn’t looking so good for Luke and me. After they measured all their fish I had a bad feeling I would be cleaning fish.

Lucky for us fish after fish we crept closer to Lew and John’s total. Finally we had measured all of our fish but one and it just happened to be Luke’s Crappie. We added up our total and it was very close we were about 10 inches behind, and then Luke pulled the crappie out of the bucket and let’s simply say the fish tasted even better that night.

Ben G.

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JM said...

Great article! I'm always amazed at how big some of the fish I caught back in the day actually were. That might be why I still fish though :)


Openers are always exciting for sure!!

Greg said...

Isn't it amazing how vivid memories can be of past hunting and fishing outings. I can barely remember what happened at my wedding, but I have vivid memories of seining minnows and fishing with my grandfather as a kid. I think opening days of any season are so memorable because of the anticipation that leads up to it.

Pastor Kerry Mackey said...

Great article... Makes me think back through my years in the outdoors.... Memories for a life-time.

I especially enjoy how Luke is the hero. He will never for get that memory. I can see him one day passing on the legacy you are helping him create.

Thank you for investing in the next generation.

Ben G. said...

JM - Great point

TRD- Agreed 100%

Greg - Man it is just crazy how things happen that way but good point maybe it has to do with the lack of sleep we get too in anticipation. LOL

Pastor Kerry - Luke has been some what of a fishing mentor to me as well as a few others

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