by Mark Walters
Bluegill/Volunteers and Old Timers!
So this is one of those deals where I really do not know what I was doing and once I reached my destination, I just had to wing it! In other words, I would be living my life as I have for the last 30-years.
Wayne Whitemarsh is a highly respected gentleman that has been in the sporting good business in the Sauk City area for the last million years. A couple of years ago, Wayne talked the good folks at McFarlane’s True Value in Sauk City into putting a sporting goods department into their building, which literally has full sized tractors in it.
Last year, Wayne and his co-workers at McFarlane’s teamed up with several volunteers and the management at Crystal Lake Campground and RV Park to provide a fun day for fishermen that are in that stage of life where they would rather have someone take them fishing then pull, launch and operate a boat.
This event is held on Chrystal Lake, which is a 526-acre panfish factory.
Saturday, May 21st
High 77, low 37
So the Chevy is hooked up to the War Eagle and I am heading down to Chrystal Lake where I am going to pre-fish and sleep in my boat the day before the event, so when I get my fishermen on Saturday morning I have a clue what is going on.
That plan took a hit when Fire started putting out pups and I knew that I could not leave her alone. Fire had four pups, three girls and a boy. She was a bit short on numbers but Selina, Travis, Monie/Kenny and the Chandler grandchildren all will very happy with their bundles of “gold”.
So now it is 4 a.m. on Saturday, I am heading south, the air temp is chilly and I want to pre-fish for a couple of hours before I pick up my new buddies.
My first observation is that Chrystal Lake Campground is huge and looks like a very cool place to spend time whether you are 4 or 94.
I launch the War Eagle and begin to do what I am paid to do and that is fish. The panfish bite was slow and I was sure that was due to the overnight low. No problem, they started biting right before myself and ten other boat/pontoon boat operators picked up our fisher people.
So here are my buddies! Jeff Parish used to own Heating and Cooling Services and then cancer entered his life beat him but has not knocked him down. Jeff loves to fish, is in a lot of pain and gained a ton of respect from me.
The “Old Timer” and “Fish Slayer” in the boat would be Jack Haselwander. Jack owned and operated Sauk Prairie Lanes, which he took over from his parents long before the TV show, The Flintstones, was ever created.
Our foursome, which was completed with Larry Pakyz, who is/was a dentist in the area and was the former owner of Village Family Dental Associates. As I found out today and afterwards, after selling his business Larry has been a regular volunteer for over a decade at the “Free Clinic” which I think was in Sauk City.
So we start watching bobbers, all of these guys have been reading this column for a long time and there is an excellent connection between four guys that I never met until they got in the War Eagle.
Jack does not say much at first! I try to teach these guys that my real name is Master Guide Extraordinaire, the guys at deer camp and The Canada Gang insist on calling me that. Jeff is scientific or should I say like a technician when it comes to fishing and Larry is an all around helper and fun guy.
We observe some very skilled locals catching a few crappie in the 8-12 inch range and then just like that the sun heated the water to 65-degrees and we started filling the livewell.
I had Gatorade, water and Leinenkugels in the cooler and the “quality” Wisconsin brew was the most popular choice.
At noon, we hit shore where Wayne Whitemarsh and Joe Whipperfurth were/did clean over 200-panfish! Volunteers and staff at Crystal Lake Campground cooked up our catch and my friends let me tell you, events like this could be held in every part of this region of the world!
This year’s event was dedicated to Bob Block, a local veterinarian/outdoorsman and all around good guy who is in Bluegill Heaven where every gill is a slab and even Master Guide Extraordinaire admits that Bob is a better fisherman.
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative