More great people, more great fish, and more great memories were made over the past weekend as our open water season is winding down in a hurry. Friday was spent on the water with two heroes as part of the Wounded Warriors In Action “Bayfield County Cast & Blast”. This is the second year of the event organized by Chris Diesing from Brookfield, WI. Last year was a huge success, and Chris was kind enough to invite Dave Brown and myself back to spend a day on the water with these brave soldiers who have sacrificed so much for all of us. My crew consisted of Cpt. Larry Roszell from Wheeler, WI who received his Purple Hearts in 1967 – 68 as a Navy Corpsman in Vietnam and Ssgt. Tony Gower from Sardis, OH who served as a Marine in Iraq and received his Purple Heart in 2005. Dave fished with Sgt. Eric Shaffer from Beaufort, SC who received his Purple Heart as a Marine in Iraq in 2004. Chris Diesing, and Paul Smith from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel were also along with Dave and Eric. After a great breakfast at The Delta Diner, we headed out into some incredibly nasty weather with gusty north winds and rain throughout the day. However these guys are the definition of “tough”, and a little bad weather wasn’t going to keep them off the lake. We worked hard but caught some very nice fish that included smallmouth up to 19″, walleyes up to 19″, and a 40″ pike landed by Tony. It was Tony’s largest fish ever caught and definitely the highlight of our day that included lots of laughs and lots of great stories. All of our fish were caught on jigs and minnows in 15′ – 24′ of water with water temps holding at 50 degrees throughout the day. Success was had in Dave’s boat as well with two muskies landed by Eric that included a fat 41″ fish. Spending a day on the water with these guys is one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m extremely honored to have shared the boat with them. A big thanks goes out to Chris Diesing and WWIA for organizing this event as well as local businesses The Delta Diner, Scenic Drive Resort, Flying Eagle Resort, and Dairyland Fence Company along with the many individuals who donated their personal time and resources to make this event possible. Thank you Tony, Larry, and Eric for your sacrifices, and thank you to all of our Veterans who have served this country past and present. Larry, let me know when you get rid of those prune pits!!!
Saturday brought some nicer weather and a little change of pace. My brother in law Joe Weiss from Maple Grove, MN joined me for some crappie fishing. After driving through snow showers on the way to the landing, we were prepared to deal with some chilly conditions. Good fortune found us however, and the nasty cold front we’d been dealing with moved on just as we got the boat in the water. The winds laid down and the sun came out to give us a gorgeous day for fishing. Some cooperative crappies made it even better as we had steady action throughout our trip with many nice fish up to 12″. Everything was caught on jigs and plastics in 20′ – 25′ of water, and water temperatures continued to hold at 50 degrees. Joe overcame the “Double Whammy” of being a Viking Fan as well as an “In Law” to put a very good day together and a few fillets to take back to Minnesota. Hey, this is proof that we can all get along… just as long as we agree that the better team wears green and gold!!! Thanks for the great day Joe. As always, it was a blast!!!
My neighbors Mike and Lucas Masterson, from Iron River, WI had a day of fishing coming as payment for all of their hard work and help over the past year, and we spent Sunday chasing crappies with a twist. Cloudy and cool conditions with gusty winds seem to have been the norm for us over the past month, and this day was no different. We also experienced a little tougher bite with action turning on and shutting off throughout our trip. We were still able to put plenty of fish in the boat up to 12″, however a serious bend in the rod late in the morning gave us all the excitement we needed. Mike did a wonderful job of playing out a fish that gave him all he could handle on light tackle with 6 lb. test and a 1/32 oz. jig. After several minutes of back and forth, he put his largest musky ever in the net. It was a beautiful 36″ fish with great color and markings. Mike deserves a ton of credit for landing that fish as he was incredibly patient and did everything he needed to put it in the boat. When it was all said and done, Team Masterson put one heck of a day together. They deserve it! All of our fish were caught in 20′ – 25′ of water on jigs and plastics. Water temperatures ranged from 48′ – 50′. Thanks to Mike and Lucas for all of your hard work, and Good luck to Lucas and the Northwestern Tigers in their playoff game this week. Go get em Lucas!