An Outdoorsman’s Journal Operation Musky 2023
Hello friends, From 1981 to 1987 I did an enlistment for the Wisconsin Air National Guard at Truax Field, and I was a weapons loader on the A-10 aircraft. Back in 2000, I participated in a fun musky outing with several of my buddies from WANG for the first time and I have not missed since that year.
As the years passed our guardsmen numbers declined and many of my friends and family deer camp were allowed to join this group. For the last six years we have held this outing on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes. This year we had 37 people in our very fun group that stays at the Hiawatha Motel.
Saturday, Aug. 26 High 71, Low 44
My partner is Jeff Moll and we would be fishing in his Lund Alaskan. Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing together all of our lives and, in this particular outing, we seem to be incapable of catching a northern pike for the side bet or a muskie. Today we put 12 hours on the water and came in well after dark, caught nothing and had a blast. Our day included no hard hits on a Shallow Raider and a whole lot of laughs along with our usual good food in the boat. This weekend’s meals were bacon, snacks and barbecued ribs.
Due to the fact that I know I am a failure at catching fish on this annual adventure, I have an entirely different perspective than your typical tournament fishermen and that is how I will finish with this column. First, throughout the day I saw fathers and either one or two children that were not part of our group, fishing in simple 14-foot boats and it was obvious that they were enjoying themselves immensely. These experiences kept reminding me of raising Selina and three stepsons, one of which is in this outing, and the simple boats we had, how much we used them and how much fun we had.
On this particular outing, one of our members has a bad case of cancer and the future is not good. There was no mention of this and both father and his adult son spent the weekend together and made as many positive memories as the adventure would allow.
The highlight of my memories, and probably for most people, was when my boss from the days back in the guard, Gary Jensen, hooked into a big muskie while fishing with his son Brian. His grandson Kenneth caught a 47.25-inch fish, which was the largest ever in this outing’s 30 year history. Kenneth Jensen, I believe, was the youngest person to ever fish this event and it took him and dad to net grandpa’s fish as Brian has an arm injury that does not make netting a 20-some pound muskie an easy job.
This three-generation team was so concerned with getting the big fish back in the water that their picture did not turn out real well but it still tells the story.
The story behind this story is that, last year, the Jensens lost their wife, mom grandma to a long illness and my guess is that Linda helped get that big fish in the net and was smiling just as much as her three favorite fishermen. I might add that Kenneth who is like 13 (a guess) was a huge help all weekend and a very positive new person to the gang.
Mr. Moll and I were up early on Sunday and fishing in a dense fog. We ate some good chow and,as usual, did not register a fish for the group board.
All’s well that ends well! Sunset