Last week was the 24th annual disabled veteran deer hunt at Camp Ripley. Although the deer herd at camp is following the rest of the state with its low numbers, this didn't stop 60 hunters from hitting the woods. At a hunt like this you really see what a small part the deer play. For many, it's about an early morning deer camp breakfast; for others, it's getting to spend a couple of days in the woods and just being in nature. And for the volunteers, it is a chance to give back and show their appreciation for the veterans who sacrificed so much for them.
The cool mornings we are starting to see usually mean fall is in the air. Most years that would mean I would be getting the itch for some early goose hunting or grouse hunting. But not yet. You see last weekend was the Frank Schneider Musky Tournament. This year I would be fishing with good friend Tim Milo who I met a few years ago at a veterans' hunt. Since then we have gone on a few adventures, whether it be hunting or fishing it's always a good time.
The summer seems to be flying by and last weekend was the annual Fishing Has No Boundaries event held at Camp Confidence. This year everything to seemed to fall into place. The weather was perfect and the fish were biting so that set the stage for a record-breaking year for attendance. The biggest anywhere, ever, actually. This year we had three guys in our boat who all were pretty excited about getting on the water and catching some fish. We spent the morning on Sylvan Lake catching some panfish, but once we started catching some bass the sunnies were soon forgotten.
Even though it is only mid August it only takes a couple of days of cool temps to make people think fall is in the air. Early goose season is in full swing and the hunters that are getting out are finding good numbers of birds. So far this year I haven't got the hunting itch yet, but that will change pretty soon I'm guessing. This week once again we got to take out the NHRA drivers and their crew chiefs. I know I've probably said it before but for me a day catching fish and talking about racing is a dream day. In my boat was Tommy Johnson Jr. and his crew chief.
New developments happen every day to improve our odds of catching fish. From electronics that show you everything underneath your boat to ultra sensitive graphite fishing rods. So what if you took away some of these new tools we have? What if you had to fish a tournament with a Snoopy or Barbie rod? That's what took place last weekend on the Mississippi River at Lum Park. We put on our first W.I.N.K. Superhero Rod Tournament.
This week I was offered the opportunity to be a captain for the Bass Federation Minnesota Jr. Championship. Not only did I say yes, I consider it an honor to be asked. The winner of this event will be going to the Forrest Wood cup to fish and would have a chance to win some scholarship money. So you could say there was a lot on the line. The lake we would be fishing was Lake Alexander, a lake I have only been to chasing muskies. So my only spots were places I have caught bass by mistake. Well between myself and my anglers we found some nice fish.
When the weather starts to heat up, usually the bite for most species of fish slows down but that is not the case for muskies. Now I am not a seasoned musky pro by any means but I do enjoy chasing them - although I don't get a lot of time to do it. Most people think it is too costly to get into chasing these toothy fish. That really is not true. But once you get hooked, you will probably go overboard with lures. You really only need a few things to get started. If you already have a good heavy pike rod, that will work.
Last weekend it was time again to fish the Midwest Outdoors Unlimited tournament to raise money for disabled veteran programs. Andre Schaum and I along with angler Cody Wicks would team up again to see if we could back up our win last year. With storms rolling through all day we were hoping the storms didn't upset the fishing and we wouldn't have to run from any lightning. Cody did end up catching some pike, enough for sixth place but we couldn't pull off a win this year. We had to come in an hour early because the radar was looking pretty bad.
You could sure tell it was Independence Day in the lakes area. With the traffic in town being bumper to bumper, there was no way I wanted to try to fish. It was a weekend to give the lakes to the pleasure boaters and jet skiers. With a lot of walleye anglers from the area going to Leech Lake, that kind of shows how the bite has been around Brainerd. Which brings me back to my quest to find out what's up with Gull Lake. I hear the tourism in the area is above average, which we can tell by how busy town is. But after days of fishing and no fish, are they coming back?
I was never really into sports when I was in school. But we never had a fishing team. How cool would that have been? That is what I was thinking when I was asked to take out two anglers on Sunday for the Brainerd Warrior Fishing Team. We were instructed that we could not change lures or get out tangles. We were allowed to drive the boat and net fish. And let me tell you it is pretty hard not fishing and just driving the boat. There was a total of 62 anglers and 31 guides that volunteered for this event.