This is this year's musky fishing story, unless I go fishing again.
The thing is, if you want to read about a guy catching a musky, this isn't the story to read.
In fact, this story is way too embarrassing to tell anyone.
First off, the drive to Minocqua, WI was hours of pure soaking hell.
Thick rain like frosted shower glass.
I just kept going the same speed and prayed the road didn't go anywhere.
This is only important because stress obviously had something to do with my being an idiot later.
We check in at the lodge. They say, "Go pick out a boat - they're over on the dry dock".
Usually they're already tied up at your cabin's dock but whatever.
In the back of the car is the motor I rented in town.
We just have to put it on the back of the boat.
So my son Wyatt and I pick out a boat, put it in the water, and Wyatt's going to row it over to this other dock where I can back the car right down next to it - much easier with the stupid motor.
Here's a map of it, sort of:
Now Wyatt's by the other dock in the boat and he says, "Hey there's something wrong!"
Why yes there is, son.
THE BOAT IS FILLING WITH FREAKING WATER!
My dad has a boat and I've put the plug in that thing before - it goes in that little hole in the bottom. Our plug is laying in the bottom of the boat and I insert the plug from the back, and we bail it out.
Put the motor in, start it up, do a little test run around the bay.
It is time to go fishin'.
I tie up at our cabin's dock and run up to get my stuff.
I have a new pole, a new net, my tackle box, some Point Special Lagers on ice...it's like I'm in 5th grade about to kiss Pammy Forrest on the field trip bus to Busch Gardens.
I walk out onto the dock and OH MY GOD THE BOAT IS ALMOST FULL OF WATER!
But I just put the plug... it was in the... but the plug was... it must go in from the inside of the boat.
I put it in from the outside, so it must have fallen out during my little test run.
Whatever, I'm watching water go up inside the boat and if it sinks, I'll be that IDIOT WHO SUNK HIS BOAT RIGHT NEXT TO HIS OWN DOCK IN 3 FEET OF WATER.
I have to go steal a plug from one of the other boats RIGHT NOW, but...see the lodge over there?
Look at the map.
There's a bunch of people with kids all over the beach there.
So I run all the way around it and thru the trees as quietly as I can because I'm about to be a criminal.
I go over to the boats and act like I'm...just walking around. In case someone is watching from behind a tree or something. I'm humming. La di daaah. The lake is sure beautiful. Don't notice me I'm just doing nothing here... Oh! There's something interesting in that boat! I'll just get a closer look.
I nick the plug.
Saunter for a couple steps, then sprint like a bastard thru the woods again.
Now I'm back at the dock and put the plug in and start bailing but realize this: the repetition of the bucket going in the water in the boat and then dumping into the lake is making a noticeable racket.
Not only that - I'm kind of in plain view.
I untie the boat and pull it up close to shore behind some weeds there.
I bail slowly but quietly for 45 minutes.
It was HORRIBLE, this whole experience.
I've had nightmares where giant praying mantises ate my shins that were more fun than this.
Finally there's about 4" of water in the bottom of the boat which I'll bail tomorrow morning at sunrise when I finally go fishing.
I grab all my stuff and go back to the cabin.
We barbecue and life is back to normal.
I wake up at about 4:30.
Fill a thermos with hot joe and get my stuff again.
Walk down to the dock...
Of COURSE it isn't there, Tim.
You untied it to hide in the weeds and then forgot to
tie it back up.
Tie it back up.
Tie it back up.
Tie it back up...
No one would see if I cried.
OR I could get out my filet knife and carve myself a face tattoo...
Don't do that.
I go over to the lodge where they have all these kayaks, and just calmly row about and find the missing boat.
I go out to the middle of the lake and... there's my boat way over there by those trees.
I go get it, tie the kayak to the back and give it a tow back.
Lucky for me, it was still only 5:30 and no one was awake.
In fact, I'm sure nobody even knows this happened.
So keep it to yourself, okay?
Later, the Cubs were still 15 games out and I didn't catch the musky.
In fact, I don't even know if it's spelled "musky" or "muskie".