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Lure of perfection
Of the hundreds of muskies Kleinschmidt has caught, he’s never intentionally killed one.
But a muskie almost killed him.
“I was on Leech Lake, alone,’’ he said. “A storm was coming. But I knew a bay where there was a good fish, and I wanted to see if I could get her to take a bait.
“But I couldn’t, and as I headed back across the lake, I hit a big wave wrong and my boat came to the top of it standing straight up, vertical. Looking over my shoulder, I could see my outboard was completely underwater. I thought, ‘This is it, I’m dead. The boat’s going to flip over on me.’ ’’
But the boat righted itself, and is afloat today.
As is Musky Safari, Kleinschmidt’s 11-year-strong lure business — which, he says, never will outsource its production to Mexico or China.
Instead, he’ll continue to build each lure by hand, one at a time.
To do otherwise, he said, invites the possibility of constructing baits that wobble when they should wiggle, and dive when they should stay on the surface.
“I’m not trying to be the biggest lure maker,’’ he said. “I’d rather make 10 baits and make them perfect, or as perfect as I can make them, than make 100 and have 90 not swim the same.’’
This year, Kleinschmidt will bend over his workbench some 300 days, building about 4,000 lures.
After which, on some nights, he’ll lie in bed and review in his mind’s eye each lure as it parades before him.
Woodwork. Check. Painting. Check. Hardware strong enough to withstand the most vicious attacks. Check.
“I want my baits to catch fish and to swim the same way every time,’’ he said.
“When someone looks at one of my baits, I want them to smile.’’
Dennis Anderson • 612-673-4424
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Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?