Our great friend and Sunline rep, John Gillman, took his nephew Mitchell Lupcke fishing over Memorial Day weekend and look what Mitchell caught! This huge musky was landed using a G. Loomis rod, Shimano Curado reel, and Sunline 80 lb braid. It was released just after this picture. Congrats to Mitchell on his very first musky!
There was this one time I sorta’ lost it. Well, actually I totally lost it. It was ugly……
I was so excited about our fishing trip that I kept checking and rechecking my gear, plans, flights, and everything else necessary to make sure this trip was all me and my fishing buddies expected. After all, we had landed a slot at a fly-in lake that was known for trophy muskie, record northern pike, and “too big to eat” walleye. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited?
About 3 weeks earlier we had received a call from Glen the fly-in camp owner who told us “a slot had opened up” at his far northern Ontario fly-in cabin. Now this cabin was a real special place and usually was booked 2 or more years in advance. It wasn’t unusual for fishermen to reserve the same date for 2 or 3 years in a row. The season was fairly short, running from early June through August and the cabin would only accommodate a total of 6 persons, one or two usually being guides.
But the fishing! My oh my, it was special. This was a large catch-and-release lake within a provincial park area that produced trophy fish every year. Best of all, the bite was fairly consistent and stories of slow action were rare if not non-existent. I had been trying to book a trip into this lake for several years, but for one reason or another any dates that opened up never seemed to fit into my schedule or the schedules of my buddies. Someone always had a conflict.
When I got the call about the opening I wasn’t that optimistic, but still placed calls to my three fishing pals on the odd chance that everything would gel and we could give a big “yes” in the 24 hours that Glen would hold the date for our answer. My first call was an emphatic “yes”! The next call wasn’t. My buddy had just returned from a 2 week trip overseas and didn’t see any way that his business nor his family would grant special dispensation for another trip this soon after his return. I pleaded with him to at least try, which he assured me he would do.
My last call was to my buddy who seemed to fish more than he worked. He was an unhesitating “absolutely” within a couple of seconds of my posing the question. Frankly, he knew this lake and its reputation so well that he had even offered to guide fishermen at no charge if they would just name him as one of their guides. Now he would have the opportunity to go as part of a fishing party with full rights and privileges!
I made two other calls to two of my friends who guided out of Nestor Falls, Ontario which I knew would almost be a “gimme” given the lake’s reputation. I was right and within a couple of hours had secured our entire party and guides save the one spot that was still up in the air. Knowing that time was short I called my unsure buddy again with some suggested arguments he could use to get his wife to yes. I’m not sure he fully appreciated my suggestions, but did agree to go for a “yes” or “no” by the end of the evening.
Right after Dixie and I finished dinner I got a call. My uncertain buddy was in! His wife actually felt it would be a great trip and good for his stress level as well as their business. Now all we needed to do was figure a way to get to Kenora, Ontario where we would board our bush plane for the camp and a fantastic week of fishing.
I’m typically an optimist, but finding 4 seats on a flight to Kenora at the busiest time in the summer vacation season was highly unlikely. But, I placed the call and held my breath. The agent left the phone and soon returned, a sad inflection in her voice.
“I am sorry, Mr. Ashby, but every flight is booked for that entire week into Kenora. Would there be any other destination that I could check for you?
“No, it really needed to be Kenora for our connection to the bush plane. Thanks”, I said with undisguised dejection.
I called Glen, the camp owner, to let him know it didn’t look good. He empathized with an unmistakable sincerity that just made the situation worse for me. I knew I would now have to call my buddies and give them the bad news. Bummer.
Just as I was about to pick up the phone to dial my first buddy it literally rang in my hand. Glen said he had an idea. What if we flew to Minneapolis and then took a charter flight to Kenora? He had a buddy who had a plane that would be there and would gladly fly us to Kenora for the price of fuel since he was there anyway. All we needed to do was get 4 seats to Minneapolis for that day and then return flights a week later. His buddy would be happy to fly us back to Minneapolis in one of his other planes which he was also having some work done on.
Within minutes I was on the phone and quickly confirmed 4 seats on the appropriate flights from Evansville to Minneapolis. I called my buddies and confirmed we were a “go” and to begin preparations. Reel maintenance, new line, lots of new tackle and, as is usually the case with me, some new rods and reels to handle those trophies!
The departure day arrived and I agreed to pick up my three buddies and leave my van at the airport. We would split the parking fees upon our return. We pulled up to the unloading zone at the airport (this was before TSA and the current security) and unloaded our gear. I distributed the plane tickets and hailed a porter to help us load all the gear onto a cart to make check-in easy.
About 4 hours later we arrived in Minneapolis and were met by our pilot in baggage claim. An hour later we were strapped in his DeHavilland Otter’s seats and watched the metroplex of Minneapolis disappear. Less than 3 hours later we landed in Kenora and checked into a hotel to prepare for our early morning departure the next day to our dream lake.
The next morning we joined our 2 guides and our pilot as well as Glen who I had known for many years. In short order the gear was loaded and we were on our way. By noon we had arrived at the camp, unloaded the gear, gassed the boats, and were ready to go after the first day’s trophies.
It would be an understatement to say the lake didn’t disappoint. It was better than we had imagined. If you have ever been told of a fishing trip where your hands got cramps because of catching so many fish this may well have been the lake! Every day we fished brought what seemed like bigger and bigger fish. Each one of us landed a “trophy” that we carefully measured and photographed before release so we could have a replica mount made when we returned home. It was an incredible week and confirmed why Glen’s customers rarely gave up their fishing slots and returned year after year. Simply put, this was fishing nirvana a la the northern Ontario shield.
Now you would think that anyone who had an experience like this would never want it to end, but I can assure you that fishing from dawn to dusk for 6 days on a like that produces so many fish that big will wear your butt out. And by the 6th day it would be safe to say that all of us (guides included) were beat. We had caught more fish in 6 days than we had ever thought possible. And these were big fish. We had told stories, cooked some great meals, and on more than one occasion emptied a bottle or two before bed. We were ready to go home.
The float plane showed up early that morning as we waited on the camp dock, our gear and memories fully accounted for. We loaded the plane and by the time we landed in Kenora had all had a nice morning nap. Glen greeted us with his usual big smile and just nodded as we related stories of monster fish and the inevitable fights that ensued before claiming our victory. I’m sure he had heard this every time a party returned. He just smiled with a twinkle in his eye.
In no time we bid our charter pilot goodbye and checked in at the Minneapolis terminal ready to be home. Our flights were shown as on time and soon we were headed back to the reality of Southern Indiana.
As we disembarked in Evansville I told the guys I would meet them in baggage claim after I retrieved my van from the parking lot. As I exited the terminal door I went blank. “Where the heck did I park my van?”
I simply couldn’t remember. No matter. I wandered out into the parking area, knowing a ¾ ton blue and silver Ford van surely wouldn’t be that hard to find. But it was. I looked and looked, but there was no van. “Damn”, I thought, “someone must have stolen it!”
I trudged back to the terminal and into the baggage claim area. My buddies and all our luggage and gear were now neatly stacked, ready to be loaded for the trip home. “Where’s the van”, my buddies said almost in unison.
“I dunno”, I said. “I can’t find it. I think someone stole it.”
By now I had found a security officer and suggested that perhaps airport security had allowed my van to be stolen. He stoically looked me in the eye and then radioed in to his command post while asking me for the van’s description, license plate number, and any other details I could provide.
“What date did you fly out, sir”
I gave him the date. He told us to wait and went into his command post, soon to return with a clipboard filled with lined lists and handwritten squiggles in various colored ink.
“Sir, your van wasn’t stolen. It was towed. You left it in front of the terminal and after 4 hours we had it towed. It was never in the parking lot. You left it in the passenger unloading zone. You can pick it up tomorrow at the towing service. Be sure you have $300 cash to cover the towing and storage.”
He walked away in his authoritarian gait with a smirkey smile on his face. “Not stolen. Forgotten. What an idiot” I’m sure he was thinking.
Crap! How could I have been that stupid. Must be getting old. Worse, I now have to call Dixie and explain I forgot to park the van and would she mind coming to the airport and picking all of us up. This is the same Dixie who I have shook my head about when she locked her keys in the car. The same Dixie who I have repeatedly wondered out loud why she can’t remember to take her cell phone with her when she leaves the house. The same Dixie who I have laughed at for forgetting the bread in the oven only to discover it “dark brown” after the meal is over. And now I have to call her about my van. Arrrgh!
It was a long ride home from the airport. My buddies didn’t say much. Neither did Dixie. But the immutable smirk she couldn’t seem to lose for the entire trip pretty much said it all:
“You forgot to park your van? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Dumb ass!”
I never did tell her about the $300. Never.
This newsletter has an unbelievable deal! We just got in less than 100 Daiwa Advantage-A Spinning reels model 1500A and these babies are fantastic at their normal $149.95. And on sale at 40% off – $89.97? What are we doing? See the details (quickly) below. We’re also announcing the addition of Outcast Inflatable float tubes and pontoon boats. Great products and something we are proud to add. Again, be sure to see all the details below.
Finally, we are having our Spring Into Summer Sale with discounts of between 20% and 50% on Selected Shimano, Daiwa, G. Loomis, and lots more. We’ve included abbreviated details below. You can also go to our web site home page for lots more info (www.americanlegacyfishing.com).
Thanks to each and every one of you for your friendship and patronage. All of us appreciate it and pledge to do all we can to make your dealings with American Legacy Fishing Company the most pleasant experience of your day.
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