My first trip in 2009 came with much trepidation. My friend Steve had asked a couple of times if I'd ever want to come up muskie fishing. I told him that I wasn't really into fishing for a single species with a high probability of not coming home with a picture of a fish. I'd seen a few of his pictures where he was dressed in a winter coat and hat holding a giant fish, and the appeal just seemed wane even more.
After a couple of rejections, I finally gave in to see what all the hype was about. We went up on a Thursday night in mid-October and gave it a go. On Friday, we had a gorgeous day, where we fished a favorite lake all day. It wasn't until about 4:00 when we'd just cracked a beer and were having a sandwich wrap when the "clicker" on the rod we were trolling with started clicking. Steve checked the line for tension and said, "Yeah, you might want to put down that beer and catch this fish."
It ended up being a small 34" fish, but suffice it to say that fish changed everything. After we'd photographed it and set it free, I still shook for 10 minutes afterward. The adrenaline rush that these fish incite in a fisherman is second to none.
I was hooked!
Needless to say I've been going up every year since. It's become a bit of an obsession with me. I've fished in rain, snow, sleet and high winds. The things you do for a minute long fight with a large fish. As for all my fears about the cold weather, well, it turns out you can dress for that! ;-)
Much of the trip involves a friendly, ongoing banter in the boat with my buddies, Steve and John. It helps pass the time, and the laughter is therapeutic. This is the place where I can let go of all the stress and routine of my life back in the cities. It is grounding and, I kid you not, this last fishing trip of the year is part of what gets me through the winter.
So, if I don't pick up my phone in the next 3 days, you'll know why. (Besides, the cell coverage up there is the worst!)
Going off the grid and,