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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 9-11-2013

by Mark Walters

Musky Mania 2013

Hello friends,

As most of you know, my main job is to have a good time while participating in outdoor experiences, and then write about it so that the 60 papers that run my column can have an outdoor section, and in turn, send me a check so I can keep having fun.

 About ten years ago I started fishing in the Musky Mania tournament that is held on the Round/Pike chain of lakes and sponsored by Moose Jaw Resort.

Originally, I was in this 50-boat tournament with a bunch of my pals from my days when I was in the Wisconsin Air National Guard. Next, I began inviting friends and family and our gang has blossomed to about 15 of the boats in this tournament.

Friday, August 23rd

High 81, low 49

Moose Jaw Resort has new owners and their names are Beth Schroeder and Ed Gartner. Lucky for my pals and I that we were booked to stay in their brand new cabin and life is good!

This year, my brother Mike would be my partner as my usual partner, Jeff Neitzel and several of the rest of the gang had guard drill.

All told, we generally occupy four cabins here at Moose Jaw and this year it was The Red Brush Gang “us” that was holding the annual fish fry, which pretty much is a lot of work but also a very nice party for a whole bunch of fun guys.

Generally speaking we stay up late and get up early!

Saturday, August 24th

High 76, Low 51

Brother Mike and I walked by a couple of the Moose Jaw guys this morning that were roasting a whole pig over a campfire, as we made our way to the pier where my 16-foot boat was docked. That pig would be our dinner after 11-hours of throwing lures.

This chain of lakes is beautiful and quiet. Generally speaking everyone in this tournament makes it an annual event and so, after ten years, even though I do not know most peoples names, we talk when we are drifting or trolling by each other with our electric motors.

There are fishermen and women that are very serious and those that are not so serious. There are $50.000 boats and there are $800.00 rigs. Today, Mikey and I were sucking hind u know what the entire day. We caught 3 northern pike early in the day that were all in the extra small range and then, did not have another hit.

There were some musky caught, including a 41-incher by my pal Dan Kieffer and netted by his partner Joe Potter.

Back in my days as a weapon loader on OA-37 and A-10 aircraft, the boss of my three-man crew was Tommy Gilbertson and Gary Jensen was his boss. These guys are both retired and love to fish musky so it was kind of cool to motor by them today just as they were releasing a 35-incher!

Another really cool story this weekend was Jeff Luek, who is from Janesville, and his son, Anthony and his wife Sarah.

First what impresses me is, that these guys appear to be what I am, and that is simple folks with small boats that love to fish and camp. I believe that Anthony and Donna fish out of a 14-foot Aluma Craft.

Today Jeff Luek caught a 39-inch northern pike, which would easily win the big northern, side bet for the weekend. On a side note, my nephew Trent Schuster caught a 24-incher that would get him third place.

What is really cool is that Donna, who is only in her second year of musky fishing, caught a 41-inch musky and her husband Anthony caught a 44.

That my friends would earn this family first place in both the musky and northern pike bets.

I have been out of the Wisconsin Air National Guard for 26 years. I have traveled the world on my own ever since (at least my version of the world). I look at my buddies and think of all the crazy stuff we did back then, think about how good we were at the jobs we had and look forward to the next time we all get together and fish musky again.

Thankful for all the positive experiences! Sunset