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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 9-3-2014

by Mark Walters

Minuteman Musky Outing

Hello friends, 

Two very important parts of my life are my deer camp and my military service. Though my six-year enlistment in the Wisconsin Air National Guard has been over since ’87, I have literally dozens of good friends from that era of my life.

My deer camp (The Red Brush Gang) has about 25 members and deer camp is very important to all of us.

Back in the early ’90s I started fishing in a musky tournament with several of my comrades from Truax Field, and met several present members of the WI ANG. I have not missed this tournament and have steadily “infused” members of The Red Brush Gang into it as well.

This year we created our own outing and relocated to Sawyer Counties, Chippewa Flowage and parked our boats at Deer Foot Lodge where 38 of us spent the weekend and had just about as much fun you can have in 48 hours.

Saturday, August 23rd
High 75, low 53

I will be all over the map with this story as there is so much to write. First, Matt Symons, who still loads weapons at Truax Field, put this outing together and did a whole bunch of the work for our annual fish fry tonight. Three hundred and seventy fillets were fried!

Second, Deerfoot Lodge is a beautiful place and its staff is a hoot. Third, last night about 38 of us had a very “important” meeting in the Lodge that went into the next day and it was a blast.

Fourth, my 23-year-old stepson Travis Dushek is my partner, and 20-year-old Joey is teamed up with my nephew, Trent Schuster. This helps prove what I have always said. Hang out with your kids in the outdoors while they are growing up and they will hang out with you in the outdoors when they leave the nest.

Fifth, before our third cast Travis is making fun of my spinning rod and bragging about his brand new bait caster. Sixth, an hour after starting my work day I decide a short nap is do. Travis casts while we drift across Pete’s Bar, I attempt to sleep on the back of my boat for a 20-minute power nap.

Seventh, Travis is casting with his extra rod, I am kinda sleeping, I hear a crashing sound, followed by obscenities. While using his ten-dollar rod, Travis has hooked his $150.00 rig and thrown it in 20 feet of water. I have Travis drop his only remaining rod, which has a top water lure on it over board as a marker. We attempt to retrieve Travs rod, no luck, there is quiet in the front of the boat for a couple of hours.

Though I have been on the “Big Chip” before, everyone that we talk to is amazed at how beautiful it is. In the entire day, we only saw one cabin, besides the resort that we are staying at.

Eight, the days fishing is from 6 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Fish are not hungry but Trav does see one good musky that misses his lure.

Nine, Trav and I are by Weiner Island and I am tossing a Top Raider! I make a super long cast and the Top Raider ends up in a birch tree a good 40-yards away. I do a quick yank and the Raider is free and heading at me at break neck speed. Contact with my body is guaranteed. As the Top Raider hits, just inches from my manhood I do a quick spin move.

Ten, I fall in the Big Chip and my pole goes with me. I am out of the water just about as quick as I was in. For ten minutes there is uncontrollable laughter by Trav and myself.

Eleven, Amanda Wilson and her staff at Deerfoot put out a dinner for our gang. I plan on going to bed at ten; I was up till 3:00.

Twelve, Trav and I are on the water the next day, musky do not like us. Craig Cottington is fishing with his dad Keith. Craig catches a 35-inch northern pike, which takes first place in our gator side bet.

Thirteenth, Jeremy Peck of Waunakee wins the musky end of this party, I mean outing and I can now say that like deer camp and my days as a “Munitions Mutt” at Truax, I love this place/job/way of life!

Watch out for flying lures!  Sunset