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I received a call from the state of Minnesota the other day. A friendly voice asked if I'm ready for something big. I said, "I'm all in." Then, she followed by saying that Governor, Mark Dayton, would like to fish with me on the opener. I don't recall my exact response, but I think it was something like, "I think you have the wrong number!"
Seriously? How cool is that?!
I'm extremely humbled and grateful for this opportunity. There are so many anglers in my home town that are willing, able and deserving of this honor. Somehow I feel unworthy.
Growing up as a young fisherman, I remember thinking about how cool it would be to guide the Governor on the opener. I remember watching the news one year at the end of opening day. Al Lindner was talking to the camera about his adventure guiding the Governor. At the time, I remember thinking...some day I want that to be me.
By the grace of God, "some day," is now less than two weeks away. I'm at a loss for words. I still don't think it has hit me. On May 12, I will do my best to represent my hometown of Waconia, Minnesota. My good friend, guiding mentor and fishing partner, Matt Peters, will take the honor of guiding our Lieutenant Governor. Together, we hope to make our home town proud.
If I play my cards right, you'll be reading a story of how the Governor caught his walleye on opening day. That, and a picture of the big catch! In my years of guiding I've felt the pressure to perform many times. I think this time it will hit a whole new level. At the moment I'm still at peace about the big day. That may change.
I'm still in awe of how this whole thing has evolved. Four years ago I sat down with Kellie Sites, president of the Waconia Chamber. We talked about a plan to entice the Governor to our home town. We formed a team, then sent a proposal to Explore Minnesota Tourism. It took a few tries, but a year ago we got a call saying that we'd been chosen as the host community for 2012. I won't bore you with all of the details, but after 12 months of intense planning we now have a few hundred volunteers and several days of activities set in stone. I am proud to be a part of this team and I'm excited for everything to unfold. We have so much to be proud of. For myself, just being a part of this team would be enough. The chance to guide our Governor is like the icing on this incredible cake.
The Governor's Fishing Opener is a tradition in its 64th year. It is not about politics. It is about celebrating the tradition of fishing in Minnesota. This year, it's about celebrating Waconia and the people that call it home. It's only the second time it's been held in the metro. The event spans 3 days. It starts with a fishing host dinner on Thursday evening. Friday is basically an all day party. Then, Saturday we get down to the business of fishing. Some of the festivities are open to the public. If you want to attend, we'd love to have you. www.destinationwaconia.org will give you the details. (p.s. everything is FREE!)
Here's to the Governor catching a trophy! Until then, keep on Livin' the Dream!
Travis Frank - firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences-Upper Midwest Chapter is proud to recognize Ron Schara as a 2011 Silver Circle Honoree. Ron Schara was inducted at the 2011 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Gala on September 24th at the Historic State Theater in downtown Minneapolis, MN.
One of television's most pristigious awards, the Silver Circle is lifetime achievement award given to individuals that have made a significant contribution to the television industry well above and beyond that required by their job. It's an honor awarded for individual dedication and service to the industry, to NATAS, to the community and to people training for a career in the field.
Nominees answer to the highest standards of integrity and honor in all aspects of their personal and professional lives. Nominations are accepted from the performing, creative, technical or administrative roles within the industry or in peripheral areas directly related to television such as commercial production, journalism or education. The Gold & Silver Award Committee reviews all nominees past and present to make a recommendation to the NATAS-Upper Midwest Board of Governors. This year, our Governor's voted and approved Ron Schara/Ron Schara Productions.
Congratulations to Ron Schara and his lifetime committment to the outdoor world ad quality television production. Thank you for sharing your love of the outdoors for all to enjoy.
Make a long cast, grip the rod tight and work the bait erratic with an increase and decrease in speeds along the retrieve. Once boat side, lower your rod tip into the water and power into the first turn in a downward motion followed by a rising motion coming out of that turn. Sound familiar? Make another wide turn and bring the bait near the surface, then back down. Repeat over and over then cast over and do it all again. Don't stop this process for even a second or you won't catch anything today.
Ah yes, this is muskie fishing. A sport with so many rules that it seems painful to do. After nearly 4 hours of perfect form, flawless figure 8's and precise boat control on prime structure, I was about to give in to the muskie God's. I cranked the trolling motor on high and told the boys, "hang on, I am going to move us one last time for one more cast." Eric left his line hang out the back and I motored us across the area we just completed a solid 20 casts on. With my headlamp shining on Eric, I watched his rod bend over. "I think I have a fish," he said quietly. "No, it's just weeds, never mind...wait, yes, yes it is a fish." I started laughing and expected to see a bass or a clump of milfoil. To my surprise, the biggest muskie of Eric's life swam peacefully around the boat holding a bucktail in it's mouth. That was the moment chaos broke loose. But, it was already too late for that muskie. This scenario proves that I would much rather be lucky than good.
The following morning I meet a couple muskie junkies at the boat landing. The sun was still sleeping when I gave my usual muskie tutorial. With proper casting form completed we moved on to the hook set and battle scenario's. All things necessary to properly get started in muskie fishing. It was during this time that a muskie grabbed my clients bait and took him for a ride. If it wasn't the 6th cast of the day, it was his 7th. That was a good start and the first muskie of Mark's life. I can only chalk it up to luck!
That night I hooked up the boat and decided to fish the late shift. My "lucky charm," Matt Hennen was eager and the conditions looked prime. An hour into the wild goose chase, he hooked up on the figure 8. I quickly reeled up my line and grabbed the net. With pictures logged on my camera's SD card, we released the fish and head back for more. But, there's a problem. In a hurry, I failed to reel my bait completely into the boat. Hanging over the side, the hook grabbed a weed during the drift and pulled the entire rig overboard. Uh oh! Upset at myself for the stupid move, I started adding up the dollars. The Calcutta was only 5 days old, and counting up the rest of the rig just made me want to vomit.
I shined my headlamp into the wind driven waves in hopes of finding the needle in the endless hay stack. For 20 minutes we drug baits across the bottom hoping to snag something at all. I zoomed tight on my GPS trail and followed as close as possible. Then, out of nowhere I spotted it. The bait held tight to the milfoil, but the cork end floated upward giving a sparkle when my light flashed across the Calcutta gold. I almost wet my shorts with excitement. Still laughing about it all, Matt re-hooked his favorite lure and tossed it back out. In 5 short turns of the handle, he was hooked up again. If I wasn't there, I probably wouldn't have believed it. This proves again, that I'd rather be lucky than good. In the muskie fishing world, I'll take what I can get. This point marked the 7th consecutive trip with a fish in the boat and the first double. Maintaining a streak is something I am always proud of. Will it continue? Until the next muskie strikes keep on living your dream!
Travis Frank - email@example.com
Man, the rods are piled up in the boat at the moment. I've got wads of rods tangled with cranks tied, Lindys danglin', tube baits twisted, even a few bobber rigs bouncing around. It's 'cause I'm a bit mixed up, maybe, like the fish this year. We've had a cooooold, wet spring. The good news? Water levels in many parts of the Midwest are back up where they need to be. The bad news? Fish aren't quite in their timely patterns yet and last week, that would prove to be a good thing for the Sherck/Swendra team.....
Each June, I volunteer to guide a team of anglers as part of Camp Confidence's WONDERFUL Classic Tournament. This was the event's 28th strong year in existence. The tournament is a chance to raise big dough for the camp, which provides outdoor opportunities to literally thousands of people with developmental disabilities. This year, I had buddies in the boat. Rob Swendra and I always seems to talk about going fishing, but just never seem to get around to it. Rob anteed up for the event and brought along his wife, Karen (turns out she would be our ringer). We pulled a good number for the tournament, #7 and we were one of the first teams to blast off on Saturday morning and head out onto Gull Lake's expanse. Dead calm and heavy gray skies. Perfect. The tournament format is a fun one. Three fish limit in separate bass, walleye, northern and mixed bag categories. Rob and Karen hoped we'd find a few walleyes, so we took a fifteen minute trip to the north end of the lake and dropped a few Lindys over the side. In the first two hours, we found and landed a couple of small wallies and I mean tiny, like 12-14 inchers. Hmmmm. Not the way I like to start a tournament. We decided to move down the lake a ways and I noticed no one on another of my favorite spots. We threw a few small Northland fireballs tipped with redtails into the weedy spot and soon had a 23 incher in the livewell. "Good", I thought. We had one good fish and had 2 1/2 hours to find a few more. Walleye fishing on Gull can be a grind at times, so I decided to switch us up and head to a bass spot. *Bang!* Rob's wife put a nic e 3 pound fish in the boat right away. A couple casts later, *bang!* another nice bass. Suddenly, I wondered if we should ditch the walleyes and switch to the bass category. After all, we had two nice fish. Again, I decided to change things up. We threw a few Rapalas on trolling rods and slowly headed down along the edge of a fishy weedline and settled into a few sandwiches. Two bites in, Rob dropped his turkey and swiss and grabbed the #1 port-side rod. Moments later, we had a small pike in the boat. I don't think Karen was halfway through her roast beef and cheddar before her rod popped and suddenly she had a nice pike in the boat.
The next pike would be our keeper. Remember that Purpledecent Shad Rap I used to nab the big pike in Canada? Well, I'd tied that on and had it down about 8 feet when a nice fish grabbed it. Rob netted our pike and suddenly I smiled. "We're actually looking pretty good for the mixed bag tournament." "What do you guys want to do the last hour?" "I say we just fish for fun". "Cool..." We snuck over to another of my favorite areas and started throwing Rapala DTs and on Rob's first cast with the Crawdad Red, he put a 4+ pound largemouth in the boat! Rob! Way to go!
Suddenly we had a SOLID bag for the bass category. Good Lord! Well, we caught plenty of fish in that last hour and with roughly 10 minutes left, I put another 23+ inch walleye in the boat and decided we'd had an awfully good day of fishing. As we zipped back to the weigh-in, we decided to pick the mixed bag category and enter Rob's bass in the lunker contest.
Turns out, we would win the mixed bag tournament and Rob would also get the lunker award.
What a FUN day of fishing! Even my son got in on the action winning a new fishing pole after taking part in the kids casting clinic. Does he look excited or what?
All I can say is THANKS to the good people at Camp Confidence. They put on one heck of a tournament and run the best darn camp in Minnesota. PS: Did I mention that the Classic weekend raised $100,000 for campers. Amazing......