A photo sent round the world Saturday, or at least “round Minnesota,” indicates our fair state is in pretty good shape, after all.
The image showed Gov. Mark Dayton concluding a morning’s fishing outing on Lake Vermilion — an image that at the very least validates Minnesota as first among states when ranked by recreational choices of its political kingpins.
As a bonus, the governor is depicted fist-bumping his guide, Buck Lescarbeau — a down-home fishing guide’s name if there ever were one — while Dayton’s fishing partners, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, look on enthusiastically.
The photo also is noteworthy for its lack of commercialism. None of the three appears to be wearing fancy, new clothing branded by big-name manufacturers or retailers.
Instead, like the vast majority of the estimated 500,000 anglers on the water Saturday, Bakk looks like he just stepped from a duck blind, Daudt from a fish-cleaning house and Dayton from a Goodwill store.
And each is smiling. For good reason: They boated 35 walleyes in a short morning’s work. Dayton caught the first and last (nine in all), while Bakk hooked 14 and Daudt 12.
This is history-making stuff.
Not that long ago, two-termer Arne Carlson nearly went zero for his governorship on fishing openers. And the northern pike that Wendell Anderson held on the cover of Time magazine in 1973? He didn’t catch it. The guy in the background — Jerry Bibeau, a part-time guide, full-time Ely barber — boated that famous fish.
Minnesota also sets itself apart in this age of political correctness by showing the state’s three leaders, along with their guide, with lit cigars, either in their hands or in their mouths.
Some might frown on such a crude display of ignoble camaraderie, or what non-angler critics might decry as cheap fishing machismo.
But a long-held Minnesota tradition dating to the voyageur days of pre-settlement holds that when more than five walleyes (one at a governor’s opener) are caught in a day, fishermen (or fisherwomen) responsible must fire up stogies, one and all.
The governor’s press guy, Matt Swenson, said Saturday was the first time he’s seen Dayton with a cigar.
So, good for him.
With luck, next year at the Governor’s Opener on Big Sandy near McGregor, he will light up another.