Reality set in yesterday. I finally cleaned out the boats and started to prep for ice fishing. With phone calls and e-mails regarding fish house rentals starting to pour in due to the recent cold snap and the creation of crisp clean ice--the winter ice fishing season has officially started. As I removed dozens of trusty fishing rods from the boat, I began to reflect on the fish each had fishing rod had caught and the hundreds of great people I had been fortunate enough to have in the boat throughout the summer that used the same fishing rods to create their own memories for themselves and their families.
How about the little kid who wanted to catch his first northern pike--his dad too. They show up dressed to the hilt in northern pike t-shirts and cant wait to give it a whirl. They start out with stories of the week long family trips with not a bite or the only one that got away. And now in 4 hours thats all going to change. 30 Northern Pike later--and smiles from a kid and his dad I will never forget. -- And how about the teen pagent queen from Tennessee who is scared to touch a fish but promised that she would hold whatever she catches. Twenty minutes into the trip and with walleyes already in the boat --the big one grabs her bait and doesnt stop!! I knew what it was--this area had a knack fro spitting out 20lb plus carp and she caught one. I have never witnessed a 17 yr old girl "hug" a giant fish with so much pride on all my life. Ya thought I was watching a 5 yr old with her first fish ever. WOW, I gotta find that picture and put in on the website.
How about the 2 German exchange students from a tiny town in the "Black Forest" area of Germany. And the names of these two guys who couldn't speak hardly four words of English--Hans and Sven. They had an awsome time pulling in Bass from a 30ft weedline. I just couldn't stop thinking of the old Saturday Night Live skits with Hans and Frans the weight lifter guys--funny as heck. What about the 2 NASA employess--one of whom is the right hand person for the launch guy for the space shuttle--on a trip to Minnesota to find themselves fishing in the coldest rainiest day of the summer--didnt miss a beat and took walleye home to Florida. Two weeks later I get a pass in the mail to sit in the observation room and watch a launch. And then I get a call from some liberal Amish guys one day. Yep, me and 5 "Abe Lincolns" in the boat--black hats and suspenders in August. Wonderful people with a great way of life--that's for sure. What about a self proclaimed chef who works for Universal Studios in charge of moving "sets" for a variety of sitcoms--trust me, his stories about Charlie Sheen are too good for the tabloids! He had some good earth quake stories too. I learned how to marinate steak using whiskey that day, yum.
Rescue stories? I have a few. The best one though of the summer is we are out on a large lake one day --one of the windiest days of the summer--40 knots sustained with gusts that were higher. Off in the distance I see what looks like a over turned sail boat in the middle of the lake, We boat over to investigate and here it is a small floatilla of teenage girls that had been blown away from the public swimming beach miles out to sea ( on their floating mattresses) with no hope of paddleing back into the wind. Nice job life guard watching this all unfold! Anyway, after towing them back to shore for 45 minutes they were greeted by the entire fire/resue squad standing on the dock like a scene from "Jaws" --they wre so embarrassed you could feel it in the boat. By the way they had declined getting aboard the boat when asked--smart?, Not sure yet. How many boats a summer do I tow to shore you ask? On the average about 6. How many people cant load a pontoon onto a trailer in a cross wind -90%. Have you ever been in a Turkish prison? How many times have I been towed to shore in 25 yrs? Twice.
The memories are endless. The rewards are endless. The experiences gained and learned are endless. The challenges are endless. Now it's time to make ice fishing memories once again. Good luck, Capt. Josh www.minnesotaguideservice.com