As I alluded to in my previous post, I spent the holiday weekend at the cabin in Mercer, WI. Most of my family from Minnesota arrived earlier in the week, but we've taken to just making it a long weekend.
The weekend was phenomenal in so many ways. It's impossible to cover them all in a single blog post, so I'll cover the "big story" and then some of the other highlights.
We arrived there on Thursday afternoon hoping to get an early morning fishing start on Friday. Early Friday morning, Steve and I went out to our favorite musky lake and started fishing. We tried all the usual spots and had no luck. Unlike our fall trips, we weren't trolling at all, just casting lures. I'll be frank in saying that I had my doubts about catching anything. Most of my muskies have been caught on suckers.
After about 3 hours of nothing we tried a quiet bay. Steve was intent on getting some bass fishing in and the area looked prime. Being calm, I switched to a surface lure that my brother Paul gave me for Christmas probably 10 years years ago. Again, I had my doubts. I have never caught much of anything on any surface lure, let alone a musky.
About four casts into it, I heard a huge splash and felt a vicious tug on my line. Instinct kicked in and I set the hook with authority. I started reeling it in frantically and shouted "get the net!" to Steve. The fish fought near the surface the whole time, creating quite a spectacle on the water. It's my fifth musky and while the fight wasn't the hardest I've had, it was the funnest. There's something about catching one of these beautiful fish on a lure as opposed to live bait. It was a wild ride!
Soon after I hooked him, Steve had him in the net. We measured it at 40", took a couple of pictures and released him back healthy.
Now I know I've written many of my fishing stories and tied a lot of them into my family, brothers, friends, etc. I don't mean to belabor the point, but there's more to this story.
For starters, I caught it on August 30th, which happens to be the date two years ago that my brother Rob passed away. Coincidence? Maybe, but it gets better. As I mentioned, I caught it on the lure that Paul gave me when he first got hooked on musky fishing. He gave the same lure in different colors to Tom, Rob and I. So it happens to be the same style lure that Rob caught his musky on in 2005. The weird thing is, I must have tried 9 or 10 different lures that morning, and nothing bit until that one. Again, coincidence? Maybe...or maybe not.
Now I'm not superstitious and I don't mean to infer anything to far out, but I sure do think it's cool that all of these circumstances aligned this way. Maybe it's my way of working out how I miss him. Maybe it's God's way of playing with my mind. All I know is, whatever it is, it sure is fun.
Other cool stuff of the weekend:
- My brother Paul also caught a musky, albeit a small one, the next day. Two muskies in any trip, of any size is a cool thing.
- I watched my as my nieces and nephews surrounded their cousin who struggles with Asperger's and included her in everything she was willing to do. They are growing up, and they know the power of loving family.
- I had the chance to talk with my sisters and Mom at great length on the first night we arrived. It's one of the beauties of the cabin, casual conversation for extended periods of time.
- Good times with 4 friends who were first timer's to Pine Forest. We laughed our heads off about stupid stuff...for hours.
- Got to have quality time in the boat with Sarah and Alison catching pan fish. These are two cool teenage girls who love to fish
- Also had a chance to show Sarah and Ben the ropes on how to fish for musky. No fish, but some really good conversation, which is sometimes better than a good fish.
- Saw the sparkle of love between my niece and her fiance' and it reminded me of those days long ago when I was engaged.
- Watched the teens drive to town for ice cream. They went in my van, with Sarah at the wheel. Nerve wracking worrying about them, but realizing how much they need to do those kinds of things that we did as teenagers when we went on vacation with our parents.
- Got a good look at and a running history of the lodge next door that Al Capone hung out at in his heyday. Fascinating stuff.
There were tons of other cool moments. I can only say that it's about 360 days until we leave for Pine Forest again.
And I can't wait.