by Mark Walters
Have you ever truly needed a vacation? This past week I was flown into Shultz Lake by Chimo Lodge and Outposts (www.chimolodge&outposts.com) . Where I have been spending a week each year since 1982. My comrades on this adventure would be my brother, Tom Walters, who flew up from Baton Rouge, La. My brother, Mike and his 14-year-old son, Dylan and my life long buddy Jeff Moll and his 27-year-old son, Ryan Moll and of course my 14-year-old daughter, Selina who would be on her 13th fly in.
In answer to my own question, in the months leading up to this trip I beat myself to a pulp mentally and physically with a schedule that never stops and this would be a major recharge of the batteries.
Saturday, June 13th
High 71, low 49
The Dehaviland turbo otter landed on Shultz Lake at 6:00 this morning and a crew from Randolph, WI left Shultz and we owned it for the next seven days. Back at Chimo Air, I had spoke with groups from Portage and Mauston that were flying into other outposts.
Everyone in our crew was truly exhausted, as each of us (other then Dylan and Selina) had slept very few hours in the last 60.
Back in the days when my dad was alive and the straw boss, we cooked a quick meal while rigging our poles and then hit the water until dark. Times have changed and now the majority of us take a quick nap and thus the vacation has truly begun.
Today, Mike and Dylan would fish together, Jeff and Ryan and my boat would have Tom, Selina and myself.
I had an idea to head over to a portage lake that is a short walk, which has a few lake trout and a very nice size average on its walleye. Unfortunately, I was hit by some kind of flu bug about two hours earlier, which Dylan had for a while on the trip up. I really lucked out when I shed it after just a couple of hours.
So we make the hike through a couple of casts and then begin trolling for walleye. The gold standard for this captain is a 1.25 ounce bottom bouncer, a 24 inch, 12 pound fluorocarbon leader, tie a 4-inch 27, pound wire leader to that, hook on a florescent “glow” floating jig with a stinger hook and tip it with not a whole but a half a crawler. The half crawler helps slow down short bites and the stinger hook will add 1/3 more fish to your weekly catch.
We had been trolling maybe 1 minute when Selina is getting a bite and then sets the hook. Shortly after that she lands a 23-inch walleye and folks the action never stopped.
The floating jig was incredible and the real the joke of the day was that in my worn out, flu ridden brain I had only carried in a rain top. About midday rain began falling and I was pummeled for my mistake. Brother Tom had one of those 99 cent ponchos that tore when I pulled it over my head, but I did not care “too much” cuz I was constantly catching fish.
Supper was served at 1:15 a.m. by Tommy, who made one of his Louisiana dishes Coubia or something like that, and late in the evening Tom and I were the last soldiers standing.
Sunday, June 14th
High 61, low 44
The woodstove is always burning, we fish a lot and eat very well, sometimes we take two naps a day, and sometimes we don’t take any.
Today’s laugh of the day was created by the rain soaked team of Captain Jeff Moll, his son, Ryan and Mike Walters.
The guys headed over to Trout Lake, where no one had ever caught a trout from this gang, but Selina and I since 1982. The bugs were bad so the guys pushed the boat out and rigged their poles on the lake and away from the bush.
Jeff Moll put a “Muskie” Red Eye on, dropped it down deep and then began rigging up his walleye pole. When all their work was done they had drifted out to deep water and Jeff began reeling in the Red Eye to start their day of fishing. Something hit, and low and behold after 3 decades of trying Mr. Moll landed his first lake trout.
The real laugh came when they tied the trout to a tree and at days end when they went to pick it up an eagle was eating it. The meat eater did not get much and tonight we ate what was left and before we knew it, the sun was up.
This vacation is gonna kill me or cure me! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative