J-Man’s 2014 Fall Muskie Trolling Report: Lake of the Woods; Sabaskong Bay & Area

A little earlier than last year, but still a little later than I would have liked to get it out….here is the 2014 Fall Trolling Report……..

Muskies Landed: 90
Days Fished: 22

Muskies Lost During Fight: 10 (OUCH!! The most lost fish ever by far, including 3 on the last day of fishing.)
Fish That Hit and Fell Off Right Away or Didn’t Hook Up: 27

We assume all fish that hit, but don’t hook-up and all fish that fall off during the fight are muskies because pike NEVER fall off!!

Pike Landed: 48 (Only measured a couple pike, one of which was a very slobbery 38” that we thought was way bigger due to its massive gut.)

Total Strikes: 175 confirmed
% of Muskies Landed of Total Strikes: 90/175 = 51.4%
% of Muskies Landed minus Confirmed Pike: 90/127 = 70.9%

Previous Years Totals
2013: 87 fish in 20 days
2012: 53 fish in 20 days
2011: 48 fish in 16 full days & 6 half days
2010: 57 fish in 14 full days & 5 half days
2009: 71 fish in 22 days

Thoughts on Numbers
Last fall, I said I was blown away by the 87 fish total. This year, I can only think about what we left out there. A few fish that felt really heavy. We didn’t get to see any of the 10 fish that we dumped.   All those rips and several that were hooked up for a few seconds and then gone kind of haunt you at the end of the year. However, proper perspective comes into focus quickly and I cannot be anything less than thrilled with the results. The sweet part of the 9-0 is that the total was 89 based on my quick scribbling after each set of days. After going back through the video, I “found” one that was forgotten to get to 90 for the fall. We thought we had left fish #90 out there 3 times that last day with fish that were half way to the boat and then just fell off.

Size Distribution Another great distribution among size classes. A few less smaller ones this year and several of those in the 38-39 range appear to be moving up into the low 40s. The 40-45” class had a significant increase in numbers this year.

Sub 30”: 4
30” – < 35”: 6
35” – < 40”: 15
40” – < 45”: 48
45” – < 48”: 7 (45”, 45”, 46”, 46”, 46”, 47”, 47.5”)

48” – < 50”: 4 (48.25”, 48.5”, 48.5”, 49.5”)

50”+: 6 (50-1/8”, 51”, 51-3/8”, 51.5”, 51.75”, 52”)

In the interest of full disclosure, please note I am not measuring each and every fish anymore. We will often dump them at boatside without netting or measuring in the interest of less time out of water or less time with our baits out of water when things are happening. We feel like we have enough experience to gauge whether a fish is within a 5” range. Anything that looks big enough to go 45” was put on the board for a quick verification of its size. Some smaller fish were measured as well, but not each and every fish.

Percentage of Fish 45+
2014: 17 of 90 = 18.9%
2013: 15 of 87 = 17.2%
2012: 8 of 53 = 15.1%
2011: 10 of 48 = 20.8%
2010: 13 of 57 = 22.8%
2009: 8 of 71 = 11.3%

Thoughts on Size
EPIC! AGAIN! So many tankers and min-tankers to go with the super-tankers again this year. Of the “Fiddies”, only the 50-1/8” was not super-tank class. While none of the beasts this year were super slobs, they were solid, thick brutes that often fooled me on length. Partly due to having a different (bigger, deeper) net, but also the girth holding all the way through to the tails made them a bit tough to judge. The 52” that I landed had a head that had both Deano and I thinking bigger numbers because it was a head similar to his 54” from two years prior. It is ridiculous to say you are disappointed to see a fish hit 52”, but we sure thought that one was going go bigger. I thought maybe I had a new personal best over my 53” from the previous year. It was not to be, but perhaps that was fitting considering the way I darn near caused that fish to end up unmeasured with an ill-timed pull towards the net while it was lassoed. The title of that Video Monday episode will be “EPIC SAVE”. Thanks, Brady!! EPIC!! Lures/Colours
10” Jakes: 29
9.5” Kraves: 12
13” Grandmas: 5
Custom X: 4
9” Grandmas: 2
Giant Flatstick: 2
14” Jakes: 1
Jointed Deep Slammer: 1
Live Target: 1

12” Headlocks: 8
10” Headlocks: 14
Matlock: 1

Wick Onez “Kingpinz”: 10 (2 baits)

Thoughts on Baits
I got to play with even more new/different baits this year and found a couple more that will be mainstays in the tackle box. Big fish sure like Supernatural Big Baits!!!   Out of the 10 from 48.25” to 52”, 7 of them fell to the erratic wobble of a Headlock or Matlock. The biggies and their bait selection broke down this way:

12” Headlocks – 51.75”, 48.25”
10” Headlocks – 51.5”, 51-3/8”, 51”, 48.5”
Matlock – 48.5” 10”
Jake – 52”
Wick Onez Kingpinz – 50-1/8”, 49.5” (these fish were caught consecutively, with the 49.5” first and the 50-1/8” about 30 mins later.)

With the large number of Supernaturals on board this year, we only doubled up on big fish with 1 bait (48.5”, 51”), but that only feeds my theory that colour matters a little less with that bait because of its incredible action. Both big fish on the Kingpinz were on the Walleye pattern. Blonde Bombshell was the snack of choice for the biggest fish (52”) we landed this fall. Headlocks proved their worth again this year. I cannot say enough about the way they walk/wobble. It is so unlike any other bait we run. The length of the bait doesn’t seem to matter one bit. The fish love them both and I wouldn’t want to troll without some Headlocks at the ready. I’m excited to get more colours to try and keep seeing if theory can be proven wrong. Though it is tougher now with so many to choose from because if one goes an hour without getting bit, we often give it the quick hook and throw another one down there.

Some Headlocks after their beatings
Some Headlocks after their beatings

The promising rookie in the Pooh Boat is the Wick Onez “Kingpinz”. Seeing the paint job on these baits when they arrived made me feel instantly guilty about the beating I was going to put on them, but they held up well and proved to be a solid choice. Both of these baits got bit within 15 mins of being in the water. Neither of them landed a muskie below 40”. Only a small pike made their record less than perfect when it came to landing the right flavour of fish.   Out of the 10 fish landed on the 2 baits, the sizes were: (42.5”, 45”, 40”, 49.5”, 50-1/8”, 46”, 43”, 42.5”, 44”, 44”). These baits are built tough and are very easy to pop off snags when you get them hung up. I’m looking forward to a smorgasboard of incredible custom colour choices for the fall of 2015!

The Wally and Perchie Kingpinz before
The Wally and Perchie Kingpinz before

The 10” Jake did its thing again this past fall. Nothing overly dramatic besides the season biggest 52”. It just quietly kept producing fish, as it always does. Multiple patterns did well. Including: Blonde Bombshell aka Blondie, Black & Gold Metallic aka Goldielocks, and Superman (both Holoform and original.)

The early morning 52" -  10" Jake
The early morning 52″ –
10″ Jake

The Krave was kind of left out in the cold this year a bit. That was until Brady put on a clinic with them in a single day. Big Fish Brady hung up a converted TD of 7 with 2 different Jailbait patterns and 1 squirrelly jailbait (which was barbless) in one day alone.

I have to say that I neglect the 9” Grandma badly. I know for certain this is one of the best baits in a couple of boats that catch more fish than I do based on daily averages. I’m not sure why I do this, but I expect it will continue. Do not hesitate to weld on a 9” Grandma and keep it in the water. You WILL catch fish if you put it in front of muskies.

I was very bummed that we couldn’t get a cool bait chomped this year. The P-Crank had one helluva wobble and we maybe didn’t get it enough rod time after we struggled a bit to start the Epic November run. Once fish starting eating, of course we were hesitant to get away from what was working. Next year, we will get some teeth marks on some P-Cranks!! Remember you heard it here when next fall’s report comes out.

Rod Position Related to Structure
Outside Rod: 33
Inside Rod: 37
Middle Rod: 20

Middle rod action was down a bit again this year. Especially later in the season for Deano again. He even opted out of the middle on the final day of the season, only to have Big Fish Brady pick up a couple quick ones over the middle and lose one, before Captain’s prerogative restored the usual line-up later in the final day. Deano ended the season with his 51” and a 43.5” over the middle.   The 52” hit the inside rod on a shoreline. The biggies played out like this:

Inside: 1 (52”)
Middle: 4 (49.5”, 50-1/8”, 48.5”, 51”)
Outside: 5 (51.5”, 48.25”, 51.75”, 51-3/8”, 48.5”

Nothing really new here for me. I’m still bombing along shorelines in that 8-10 foot range most of the time. Even without baitfish present, or maybe especially without baitfish present, it seems important to be close enough to shore to hit stuff that comes out from points and underwater tips, fingers, spines, etc. It seems that some fish will always relate to those structures. We are still catching a lot of fish on the edge of waypoints marked for me on GPS to aim for when moving along a shoreline. These waypoints typically mark a shallow spot that can be anywhere from 3 to 5 feet. We got several of the nice fish nearly right on waypoints this year. We did spend some time roaming open water over bait, but didn’t produce a single strike for the effort.

Waypoint that produced a low 40 inch fish
Waypoint that produced a low 40 inch fish

When baitfish is present, we did a lot more of the multiple passes again this year. This continued to be successful and should certainly be a part of your trolling routine, at least in waters similar to what we are fishing here on Lake of the Woods. I firmly believe baits may not get noticed with one or two passes if you are pulling through a lot of bait so keep working a spot if the bait is there. The fish will find your lure eventually.

WOW!!! Where to start with highlights? The obvious one for me is “The Double.” Being able to direct traffic while my two fishing partners fought muskies. The loudest moment of the fall was definitely the moment I slide the new Drifter XXL Predator net under Deano’s 44 and had 82 inches of muskie in the bottom of the bag together. I have had several muskie/pike doubles and a few pike/pike doubles, but only one other chance at muskie double back in 2007 or so. We did not land both fish that time and it has been a bucket list item or sorts for me ever since. Being net-boy was exactly the way I would have wanted it too so it turned out just perfect. We had talked about it a little bit with all the action we had been having for a couple days and we had a plan, which we were able to execute when it happened. The video turned out awesome with vantage points from J-Man Cam and Bow Cam and Net Cam. I’m looking forward to sharing that with everyone on a Video Monday very early in the New Year!

44" & 38"
44″ & 38″

The First Gibson Family 50! The Gibsons are long-time members of the Mylie’s Place Resort family and have registered 466 released muskies with the Muskies Inc Lunge Log between Mitch, his Mom & Dad (Glen & Rose), sister Regi and son Max. Daughter Maggie has some fish as well.   They had been snake bit on getting to that 50” mark all these years so it was an absolute THRILL to be on the net for what turned out to be a 51.75” fish that hit a 12” Headlock.   Mitch had pumped up 5 fish in a row (43” being the biggest) that day on 10” jakes. I finally bagged one on a Kingpinz that went 46”. Mitch declared he was going to finish out the day with a Headlock and then shortly after that put his rod in the holder for the first time all day so he could repair my Kingpinz. When he put the rod in the holder, I suggested he go ahead and change it to the Headlock right then since the action of a Headlock really doesn’t require much pumping. Less than 5 minutes after he set the rod back in the holder (and while still working on my bait), the big girl strikes and the fight is on! Video of that sequence is awesome as well. Sorry for tossing your chopper over the side of the boat, Mitch!! It did hit the gunnel first, but it never really had a chance to hold on. We didn’t realize where it ended up and that I was the culprit until video review later that night. We had a helluva laugh watching that one from multiple angles. Always bring a back-up sets of gloves/mitts when you fish with excitable types! Congratulations Mitch and the Gibson family. The ice is now broken and the biggies will start to come more frequently is my prediction. Great family of great anglers and a memory for me that will always rank right up there near the very top of the heap.

Mitch's 51.75" 12" Headlock
Mitch’s 51.75″
12″ Headlock

Tom’s personal best!!! Another long-time friend and resort family member that had been held short of the 50 mark. Tom had a 49 inch class fish or two on the board and a 49.5” for his boat that he netted, but the 50 inchers have either fallen off or not eaten. This one was super exciting, because it was much too close to call in the net. I had landed a 49.5” about 30 minutes prior and this one wasn’t quite as hefty so we sure didn’t call it 50 before it was on the board with the tail pinched. It was a no doubter on the board, getting a full 1/8” passed the 50” mark for his personal best!   We will celebrate that fish properly during my visit to Green Bay for Monday Night Football on December 8. Way to go, Tom!! RSCN2007 A new record for the Pooh boat! We had what would almost have to be considered the perfect day. The Dirty Dozen. 12 strikes. 12 fish landed. All muskies. No pike. Good size with most in the 40s, only a couple under 40 and the biggest a 48.5” hawg that ate Matlock to end the day. An interesting side-note was the record breaker, (fish #11) was caught by me on a Kingpinz Perch pattern. This bait was lost an hour after it caught its first fish the first day I used it. It was a situation where the line was caught in a crevice and snapped quickly before we could back up past it and try to pull it free. When this happens, you sometimes get the bait back, but after a couple more passes on the shoreline, we did not see it that day. A good week later, I was chatting with new guests Dave and Cale when they mentioned they found a bait in an area that I like to fish and asked if I had lost one. I said, “as a matter of fact”….it was easy to identify because it was not a common bait so we went down to the boat for a look-see. The guys happily donated my bait back to me and it was the bait that broke the previously daily record of 10 that afternoon. How cool is that? Cale and Dave have some super sweet karma coming their way for sure! I offered them a bait as a reward, but they refused. Great guys! That Perch Kingpinz went on to catch a couple more fish as well. I’m just plain lucky to have it in more ways than one!

Fish #11 on the Day of the Dirty Dozen.  The old record falls to a 43" on a Perch Kingpinz
Fish #11 on the Day of the Dirty Dozen. The old record falls to a 43″ on a Perch Kingpinz

The Day of the Dozen started a 3 day run that will be tough to duplicate. After going 12-12, we went 9-12 the following day and 11-12 the day after that. Those are days I’ve only heard of from some of the best anglers I’ve gotten to know during my time at the resort. It was in incredible run of reasonably stable weather and winds that didn’t force us away from the areas that were giving up fish. The 4th day of that week gave us an awful wind direction and velocity that made it unsafe to travel to, and fish, those areas and we came back to reality with a 1-5 day.

No skunks!! YESSSSS….for the first fall ever, I managed to get through the entire run without a skunk. We ended up with 5 days that were saved only by 1 single solitary muskie, but we caught at least 1 fish of the right flavour every single time out. One more thing I can scratch off the bucket list!

The Double Habanero Day!! A new tradition was started when we (ok, when I decided) that the package of Habanero beef sticks that Deano brought with would be opened up with any fish 4 feet or longer. Perhaps I should have raised the bar a little because when you have a label that saves “Not for Children” and the name they give to them is “Fire in the Hole”, eating a couple of them in a day is not the best for anyone with a sensitive stomach. The day before the Dirty Dozen, we landed 5 muskies…the first of which was my 52” first thing in the morning. So, we all had a Habanero stick about 7:45 after we got the fish released and baits back in the water. Later that day a little before 4, Big Fish Brady bagged his PB of 51-3/8” so we went into the cooler for Habanero sticks again. Yikes…wasn’t sure my stomach was going to survive the day before the pending daily moonset or moonrise that was set for near 3 pm. I was thinking a pitstop on shore was going to be needed, but managed to talk my system out of that and then it was rewarded with a second dose of “Fire in the Hole.” Well, we adjusted the rules a bit because we would have ended up out of Habaneros before the week was over this year and have since adjusted them for next year. Deano may need 2-3 packs just in case we hit the jackpot again. Let me just say, nobody is looking forward to celebrating a personal best during Epic November 2015. Any personal best for the Team Epic is a two sticker for the crew mates and a 3 sticker for the lucky angler. With PBs of 54” on weight and 54.5” on length for Deano, 53” for J-Man and 51-3/8” for Big Fish Brady, it will take a dandy that is worthy of breathing fire! Here’s to more Habanero fish during Epic November 2015. The bar still starts at 4 feet! None of this would have come about without former Team Epic member John Kennedy, who started the hot stick tradtion with a stick called the “Hawg’s Ass” that came from his local meat shop in IL back when he lived there. Watching Deano and Johnny eat those things was some of the best comedy of the fall those two years. We recorded most of our Habanero celebrations this fall. We might have to sneak some into the Video Monday highlights. Anyone want to see grown men cry?

Fire in the Hole!
Fire in the Hole!

Season bests for the Rabbi and J-Man. Spending time in the boat with exceptionally knowledgeable and accomplished anglers is always a treat. This year, I had 3 days with both the Godfather and the Rabbi. I was also able to help keep the Rabbi’s ridiculous streak of years with a 30 pound class fish going when he landed the 51.75” tank in October. Good times and memories for me. I firmly believe I lost the biggest fish of the year I had on in August, but that 52” the boys let me land in November was a great way to cap off another season in which I already considered a great success for me personally. It was nice to get in on the big fish action late in the season.

The Rabbi's 51.5"  10" Headlock
The Rabbi’s 51.5″
10″ Headlock

I caught a fish on a Headlock!   Out of 28 Headlock fish last year, I didn’t land a single one of them. This year, I welded on a Headlock the first day out and picked up a 47.5” for the first trolling fish of the year and my first ever on a Supernatural Big Bait. YES!!!

J-Man's 1st Headlock Fish! 47.5" - 12" HL
J-Man’s 1st Headlock Fish!
47.5″ – 12″ HL

The Big Fish Brady Show!! Sometimes we invoke the penalty box rule and spread the wealth around a bit, but often a new guy gets a little more leeway. Deano learned his lesson about calling the penalty box on me last year when he promptly got a sub 30” muskie on my rod for his effort. This year, we were treated to watching Brady reel in 9 fish during an 11 fish day. Deano finally got bit after Brady rattled off 5 in a row, but even then Brady couldn’t let him have the limelight. Burning his bait in after Deano hooked up, Brady got bit and we ended up landing #6 for Brady (38”) before Deano’s 44” completed the Double.

Pike-free streak!!! We went 21 fish in a row without a pike. Starting the afternoon of the Double Habanero Day through the next day with 12 and 6 more the following morning until another pike showed up. Gotta love a pike-free diet!!

I got to net a total of 4 personal bests this fall. With some pretty good anglers in the Pooh Boat, those PBs are getting harder to raise. The memories of being a part of someone’s biggest fish ever will never fade, even when they are replaced by a bigger fish. Also had a couple of best ever days for anglers in my boat, with Mitch’s 6 (including the 51.75”, which was #6) and Big Fish Brady’s aforementioned 9er.

Not So Cool Stuff
I parked Pooh on rocks more times this year than ever before. Must have been 5-6 total. Not one of the landings was soft either! UGH! Had to get the paddles out 3-4 times and had a few moments where I thought I might be crawling over the bow to lift and push to get him back floating. A couple spots that were new and one I hadn’t fished for a long time, but others were just “damnnnnn, I don’t remember that sticking out so far!” moments that add a little more excitement to the day than necessary.

Wind and cold! AGAIN! After a warming trend in mid-October, the water temp held steady and higher than average through to the end of the month. However, when the thermometer started to go south, it went south fast. We ended up with another bone chilling finish to the season on November 8. The bay was frozen solid completely less than a week later as we left for the winter.  That is easily the quickest end to the season I can remember. Water temps were prime for more good action the last day I was on the water, but daytime highs were in the 20s with overnight lows in the teens. Getting back out just wasn’t really possible with the closing-up chores I had left to do.

Split ring failures!! We had split rings fail on a 13” Grandma after a strong strike that felt heavy to Big Fish Brady. All of the sudden, the rod unloads and when he gets the bait back to the boat, we find the rear 7/0 hook and split ring is gone. I sure wish they would make the hook hangers big enough to accommodate triple split rings!!   Then, on a retrieve at the end of a run to prepare to move, Deano is bringing in my bait while I am up front pulling the bow mounted transducer and has a big wide-open mouth chomp the 10” Jake right at the back corner of the boat. Two head shakes and it was all over. We make a couple more passes with the hope there may be another fish in the area, or that this fish is feeding aggressively and might eat again. The rod loads up in the holder again, but this time is a pike. As I reach down with the long needle nose pliers, I notice the middle hook and triple split ring is missing. UGH! Not good for the fish and certainly a bummer for the anglers. Two heavy fish lost to equipment failure. We did inspect all Grandmas before deployment after that, but very hard to fathom a triple split ring failing.

We had multiple GoPros capturing the action this year. I had one mounted at the front of the boat to shoot towards the back and capture some strikes as well as one on the new Drifter XXL Predator net. Thanks to Andrew K for the idea to do a net-cam mount. I found the GoPro roll bar mount to be junk after it showed up damaged and was not at all built to take any beating. It lasted about 5 days. I found a Ram mount that attached to the net handle and that was very well-built. I would highly recommend that mount over the GoPro version. I got to play with a Hero 2 and Hero 3 as well as the Hero 960s I had myself. The higher quality HD with 60 FPS is really nice, but you sure go through batteries and SD cards. Of course, I missed a few good sequences getting used to the new models, but managed to capture most of the action with one camera or another. Hopefully, everyone enjoys Video Mondays this winter! I know I’m looking forward to putting some of the action together for people to see.

Ram mount Net Cam on the Drifter XXL Predator
Ram mount Net Cam on the Drifter XXL Predator

I added another Thorne Bros custom trolling rod to the arsenal. Because you can never have enough gear when you are stuck up in the wilderness! That 8’6” stick, paired with a Shimano Tekota LC, is absolutely the sweetest set-up I can imagine for trolling big cranks. Treat yourself to one of those combos if you spend any time at all trolling for muskies.

The Drifter XXL Predator net is BIG! It was nice to have the long handle and super wide hoop for the Double! Overall, being a Beckman fan, I had a tough time getting used to the weight of both the hoop and the deeper, thicker bag. I really did like attachment on the end of the handle that offered some better leverage when turning the hope one way or another mid-scoop. Overall, the Predator is a well-built piece of gear and any fans of that other brand can be pretty confident this one will meet all your needs!   The smaller mesh squares are much better for the fish than that other brand’s big mesh squares. We had very little blood in the boat from cut fins. Well done, Drifter. I can’t wait to get my hands on the lightweight series that will be similar to my Beckman. I will look for them during show season. 38-44double Other Observations
Another slow start, overall. The warm temps in October seemed to slow down the hot bite at times, but some of our guests catching fish regularly. The Pooh boat was having a tough time putting together back to back good days, despite some real nice fish in the mix early. I was very concerned about the inconsistency of the bite heading into Epic November 2014, but we got some stable weather with the temps coming down into the prime target area and things jumped off pretty good.

Pumping the rods seemed to make a difference this year. I had my crews doing a lot of pumping and many fish were caught while rods were in their hands. During one 7 fish day, Mitch pumped up 5 in a row.  Even when I confiscated his bait after the 4th consecutive fish on it, he picked up number 5 pumping a different bait. He had been both inside and outside to structure with 2 of us in the boat. When you combine the increased efficiency of less snags and being able to quickly pop stuck baits off the rocks, I think pumping is still the way to go as much as possible. I can’t think of many fish that hit and didn’t stay on while someone was holding the rod. Most of the rips and on-gones, were while rods were in holders. Only a few of the fish that fell off during the fight were hooked while rods being held and pumped. I have to try and add this to my data collection next fall to get more feedback on it.

The morning bite was hot often. Several days we had 2-3 fish before 8 and 9 am. Evening bite was disappointing. Not much going as the sun went down and we worked it hard a few times late in the year with the moonset/rise nearly matching up with sunset a few days in a row.

Special Thanks to: Some of these will be repeating year after year so humor me a bit……

Duffy Thury (Supernatural Big Baits) for keeping me in enough Headlocks that I did not hesitate to run them and beat then up from start to finish. If you don’t have a couple, you should. Thank you, Duff!! https://www.facebook.com/supernaturalbigbaits

John Dadson, for putting me in touch with Mike Blewett. Mike makes the Wick Onez line of baits and sent me 2 Kingpinz with a request to “beat the crap out of them.” After I lost one the first day, he quickly painted another and got that to me as well. Great baits that will get heard from more and more in the future. Thank you, Mike! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004960186963&fref=ts

Dick Moore (Moore’s Lures) — leaders and hooks. Dick got me set up with the tools to make my own leaders and got me started with a hook supply that turned out to be short. Next year I need to order 200, instead of 150. Even with Deano and Brady bringing some more 5/0s along, we had to ration the last few days. http://www.mooreslures.com

Bob Schmidt: Just Encase tackle boxes. I WILL NOT muskie fish without them! http://justencase.com/

Thorne Bros Custom Rod & Tackle: Proud to be a Thorne Bros Pro Staffer. Nearly all of my gear is available through Thorne! http://www.thornebros.com

Bill Schwartz from Slammer Tackle for letting me beat up a jointed deep running bait. Bagged a nice 43” on it too!

To the Godfather, Rabbi, Brad, Tink, Tom, Mark, Jordan, Mitch, Deano and Big Fish Brady for making the trip to Lake of the Woods and spending time in the Pooh boat. I had great crews all the way through. You get a lot more done on the water when everyone is on the top of their games.

Final Thoughts To be perfectly honest, I was not as excited about the Fall 2014 trolling season as I usually would have been. It had been a long, stressful season with the late spring and resulting problems associated with that to start things off and then the nearly record high water levels that were scary well into August. Couple that with some other things going on and a sinus infection……I was just looking forward to the end of the year. I hoped that would change once we got fishing and finding some fish. The people I fished with made it enjoyable to be on the water, whether we caught fish or not.   I was reminded again that the fish are a bonus. Even during some cold and wind and rain…you can enjoy the time on the water.

Life is good even before you get a bait in the water some days.
Life is good even before you get a bait in the water some days.

As of 2014, the resort will officially be my life’s work. I know where I will be every spring through the fall for many years to come. Now that the offseason is here, I can honestly say I will be looking forward to spring again in a couple of months, but for the time being…a lot of time is needed to rest, get back into my routine of eating better & exercising, and keeping tabs on all of my amazing friends out there.

Please feel free to follow along on Facebook if you’d like to keep track of my adventures this winter. I will be travelling across the lower 48 now that I am no longer a home-owner and need to find alternate places to hang my hat. This was a bit of a dream for me in the past, but something I hoped would be possible once I knew I would be in this business for life. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of my guests and friends that make it possible for me to do what I do. I’m blessed to live and work in a beautiful place.

I’m also blessed to be able to unplug and enjoy other things a few months of the year. . Most of all, thank you all for cheering us on as make our way through the resort season and for wishing us well during the offseason. My resort family means the world to me. If not for you all, none of this would be possible.

Watch for Video Mondays coming in the New Year!


J-Man 2.0

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