For the record, it is spelled “Steven” however, as I have said many times before, I won’t tease you unless I like you. Steve has spent enough time in my boat to know this. As has Cousin Kev, Brian, and my dad.

Steve told me that I would have to do the write up on this trip as I do a better job at telling the story. Really there wasn’t much of a story. Unless of course you count the constant ribbing, storytelling, name calling, and jokes that came out. 98% of which cannot be shared on this family friendly forum! Don’t worry Judy, it was Brian and I telling the story whilst young Steven was forced to listen in awe, amazement, or sheer terror! For the record, the conversation was no different than any other time Brian and I are in the boat. Military guys have a history of picking on each other. The more we like each other, the worse it becomes. Almost like a rite of passage. Sure, we pick on other branches but, out of respect, we don’t go full bore simply because we have not been through the same things that they have. Brian and I however were both Marines so the gloves are always off.

Steve arrived at exactly 5:00am. Right on time. Which, according to Marine standards is actually late! Brian and I had already loaded the coolers, done the morning rituals, and were standing in the garage waiting. It was a cool 52 degrees. I had on a sweat shirt and warm weather pants (as did Brian). Steve on the other hand had on shorts and a T-shirt! He was ribbed before we even got in the truck. He did however look at his phone and mention that it was calling for 72 degrees by the time we hit the water. His words not mine.

As we got close to the launch at Sunset, I took the liberty of telling him the weather. I nice balmy 51 degrees! He wasn’t impressed.

Sunset is under new ownership. As a result, parking is now a free for all. I would dare say they get 40 less vehicles in the lot when done this way. Heck, we used to even get a ride from the truck to the boat! The guy drove by and waved while on the mule. That was it. In normal tournament fashion, we launched and waited in the channel so others could launch. I wish more people would figure out how to do this.

While waiting, a big fiberglass boat was pulling in another, bigger fiberglass boat. At the same time, a tiny aluminum boat was running full tilt (in a no wake area). My thought was confirmed when he yelled “We left the plug out”! I advised the towing vessel to come up alongside of the boat to steer them to the dock. They didn’t listen and tried to use momentum to pull them to the dock. In the end, I pulled alongside as Steve held on to the boat. We were able to put them on the dock without as much as a rub! Just the way I would have done it.

We started in the area that dad and I fished on Tuesday with similar baits. After one pass, Brian had given up on running crawler harnesses and switched to all cranks. I let her ride one more pass before I did the same. We managed one fish on meat. I did watch Stephen swing and miss on what was probably a state record and possibly a new world record walleye with the net. And, as luck would have it, it was gone. He seemed way angrier at himself than we did! Neither of us really care that much. Of course, after conveying that message, you are still going to get ribbed a little. OR A LOT! I did tell him that it is no big deal right up until you are on the last fish of the day and say “We could have been done by now if Stephen wouldn’t have missed that fish”. Oh there would be more. Brian was towing in what could only be described as a wet sock. I thought it was a big flat head but when it finally broke the surface behind the boat, we saw it was a big walleye. About this time, the fish was no longer impressed with being drug from the depths of Davey Jones locker, gave us the middle fin, and he was gone. Steve had the same thing happen to him which caused a crank bait to fly over my head like Tom Cruise requesting permission to buzz the tower in Top Gun. I also had a release of a really nice fish at the surface. Although it was more than 50 feet behind the boat, I still blamed Stephen on his net skills. What goes around comes around.

And so the day went on like this. Five or six fish per pass. Every single time the guys would say “what are we at, 12 now”. I was the one with the counter. We switched baits, caught fish, switched baits, and caught more fish. Once we found out that Stephen was color blind, Brian couldn’t let that go. It was funny asking him to pick out a purple bait. Or a pink one. Or any one for that matter.

When they finally did ask how many fish we had, we were at 23. ONE shy of our limit. Of course, guess who was blamed for us having to go another 5 minutes before catching that last fish? I’ve been known to purposely lose a fish or two just to keep fishing when I am having fun. But I wasn’t the one reeling in the fish.

We had good snacks, cold drinks, fun banter, story time, and even some teachable moments. In the end we left with 24 fish (a three person limit for the bay). When speaking to the DNR fisheries creel survey guy at the dock, he had not checked another boat that had double digit numbers. I guess no body listened to me on Tuesday when I reported to move to deeper water and fish with crank baits at slightly higher speeds. You can lead a horse to water…

We cleaned fish and sent Steve home with 24 fish worth of fillets. Normally, when I fish with someone, I like to send them home with all the fillets. The next time, we send someone else home with them. 8 fish isn’t enough when you don’t get the opportunity to go all the time.

Below are some rare photographs that were actually taken of me.

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