Bald Eagles

We spent a relaxing weekend with friends in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin. Golf, great food, fine wine, nice company, the North Woods. And then there was fishing.  In my posts of June 28, 2012, and July 23, 2013, I talked about being up North and fishing for walleye with our guide Jim W.  Well, this time was no different.  Dan and I went out early with Jim – who is probably the best fishing guide in the Minocqua area. 

The fishing wasn’t as keen as in previous years (we did have enough “keepers” for dinner) but what made this outing special was seeing Bald Eagles.  In a veritable abundance.  I feel I need to capitalize the words of that species just because. . . . well, you know.  I have seen an occasional Bald Eagle in the past but our time on Lake Tomahawk on Saturday was amazing.  We probably saw half a dozen Bald Eagles.  Soaring above.  Diving for fish.   I felt very patriotic sharing space with these symbols of America.  And there were loons galore.  Having seen a fox at Minocqua Country Club the day before and several deer, I have to wonder what’s around the corner.  Maybe a donkey.  And an elephant?   Please spare me. . . . .

The One That Got Away . . . .

In my post of June 28, 2012, I spoke of fishing for (and cooking) “Walleyed Pike.”   And of going to Minocqua, Wisconsin, to visit my friend Dan.  We were just up in Minocqua again and as in the past Dan and I went fishing and had the best guide in the North Woods, Jim W.  After a day on Trout Lake, we had nearly caught our limit.  But that’s not the story. . . .

Dan and I each had one of those “aha” or “wow” moments while fishing (actually it was more like a “fasten your seatbelt” moment).   It was early afternoon.  Hot sun.  Cool wind.  Suddenly Dan’s line went taut and the pole bent in half.  For a good five minutes, it was reel, slack, reel, slack.  Dan had hooked a monster.  Jim stood ready with the net.  And then – as often happens – the line released.  The monster fish had gone free.   Obvious disappointment. 

Then it was my turn.  The boat was rocking gently.   I was close to dozing.  Thinking of dinner.  When there was this sharp tug on the line.  Eyes  snapped open.   I pulled and nothing happened.  Seaweed I thought.   And I relaxed.  And then the telltale pull.  Then a heavy tug.  And a steady drain of line.  A fish.  A big fish. . . .  And I yanked up the rod to set the hook and began reeling.  For a few minutes.  Reel, slack.  Reel, slack.  And then I saw it.  This huge leviathan rolled upside down.  White belly.   A yardstick away.   It looked to be about six feet long.  No seven.  Maybe. . . . Anyway, I stared at this giant rolling over and thought of the classic line of Roy Scheider as Chief Brody from the scene in Jaws where the big guy makes his first appearance.  He says to Quint “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.   I had seen Jaws.  Right under the boat.  And with that, Jaws reared up, ripped the lure off the line and descended into the deep.   Aha.  Wow!