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Red Sky at Night with JB Cornwell | A summer trip to LOTW for Musky
Article courtesy of JB Cornwell

July, 2009: A final three generation trip from The Hideout to Angle Outpost in the northwest angle of Minnesota. It had become a family tradition over the preceding 30 years to make a Summer excursion to the upper Midwest to fish for musky.

At first it was a trip to Big Sissabamaga Lake in Northern Wisconsin, then Leech Lake, MN and finally, in the early 90s, Lake Of The Woods, MN/Ont. By that time we were living in Texas and it took 30 hours to make the trip towing the Boston Whaler of the year. We made overnight stops in Minneapolis and Walker, MN.

The three generations were; Yours truly, in my 74th year, my son, John, in his 44th year, and his son, Daniel, 21.

It was Saturday afternoon when I steered Ole Blue, my Mercedes Benz ML430, down the dirt road to the lodge. We had reserved a cabin for a week.

We unloaded the car and boat and launched Sunshine III into the marina followed by the obligatory shopping in the lodge.

After dinner (hot dogs) we relaxed on the porch of our cabin with a dram of John's favorite single malt and cigars and enjoyed the symphony of a northern lake going to sleep.

Bright and early Sunday morning we launched SunshineIII and steered her Northeast for Canada.

I put on my favorite lure. Based on a Mepps #5 spinner, it had a gold spinner and double treble hooks, dressed with spinnerbait skirts in firetiger. I called it "Esox Doom". I had landed many esoxes on it , not to mention some outstanding smallies. John had on one of his favorites, a Mepps Musky Killer in black, and Daniel had an 18S floating Rapala to offer.

Right away John had a smallie on. He had cast his lure onto a rock bar in about 2' of water. It gave a fight typical of smallies; strong surges with jumps. It lasted about 60 seconds, though it seemed longer.

Daniel caught a "snake" next, about 30".

I was in a quandary. I had, in my box, a sure-fire smallie and walleye lure; a fire tiger Bagly DDKBII (Deep Diving Killer Bee, 2"). On a light rod it was my most successful walleye and smallie lure. I tied it onto my light rod. Right away I started catching walleyes, with the occasional smallie thrown in. The smallies were released, but the walleyes we kept for the dinner table. I was fortunate that I attracted no muskys to tear up my tackle.

No muskys on Sunday, but we had a week to go.

Monday John and Daniel both caught muskys while I was the food getter. There is nothing that swims that, filleted , coated with a mix of corn meal and spices, then fried in butter, beats walleye.

We fished from about 0800 'til 1700. Then returned to Angle Outpost, where we ate walleye, corn, wild rice and biscuits. The evenings were spent reliving the day's events on the porch and planning the morrow's excursions. It was then some intense male bonding took place.

Sometime during the week I also caught a musky but not the 50incher I was after. I t was not in my treasured memories with the rest of the trip, but it was in the photolog of the trip.

John caught some more muskys and lost a 50incher at boatside. The major catch of the week was made by Daniel, a 44' musky that gave him a ferocious fight.

I will miss going to LOTW, but I have so many treasured memories of that place and I dream of John and Daniel and Daniel's son, Austin going there in future years.

(JB Cornwell writes from "The Hideout" in Whitt, TX, and is also an expert moderator, instructor, and fountain-of-knowledge in the iboats.com Boating Forums, where he may occasionally share a yarn of his own.)

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