The Return of the Minutemen

Hello friends,

I did a six-year enlistment in the Wisconsin Air National Guard back in 1981 to ’87 and was a member of the 128th Tactical Fighter Wing out of Truax Field.

It has been 31-years since my enlistment ended, but each year about a dozen of us get together the weekend before Labor Day and have a friendly musky fishing outing.

I joined this party back in 2000, and slowly integrated many of my deer camp members and some of their good friends from the Poynette area.

This year 38 very fun people would join together to fish the Eagle River chain of lakes and most of us would stay at the Eagle River Inn.

Saturday, August 25th

High 72, low 48

The last few years we fished on the Chippewa flowage, where we also had lots of fun. I am almost embarrassed to say that until this trip I had never fished the Eagle River chain of lakes.

So last night many of us stayed up and had lots of fun, laughed a lot, and I have to admit that I was mildly intimidated when my 26-year-old nephew Trent Schuster asked me if I would like to have an any-species, longest-fish side bet for 5 bucks, I had to take the bet.

Later in the evening I was visiting with Trent and his dad, Dick Schuster and his brother Riley, my brother Mike and my stepson Joey Dushek. Trent was being disrespectful from his cot and somehow the next thing you know his cot was upside down and we all laughed.

So this morning most of our gang put in at a boat landing a ways a way from our motel but my partner Jeff Neitzel and I put in at a landing close to camp. A little history on Jeff and I, we were both bomb loaders. I was always trying to keep Jeff out of trouble, and oh by the way we really suck in this tournament.

So anyways, we are not fishing two minutes and Jeff “almost” catches a 22-inch northern pike. There is a side bet for gators that pays out to 3rd place but no worries for us as it has been years since Jeff and I caught a fish in this tournament.

Anyways, I saw a fish and Jeff had a musky experience. Next we started trolling up the river and I am dragging a Matlock which is a lure that imitates and is the same size as an 18-inch walleye. We were trolling maybe ten minutes and I hooked into a really big fish, that naturally got away.

Joey Dushek and Trent had some great success, at least Joey did when he caught a beautiful 43-inch musky and as we spent the day talking with our friends as we came across them a lot of people were catching musky, but very few people were catching northern pike.

An hour or so before dark Jeff and I went casting for gators and I caught a 26-incher, which is not big but would end up getting us 2nd place in the side bet.

I almost forgot that Trent caught NOTHING and paid me in front of all 38 of our gang.

Joey’s musky would take first place for Joey and Trent, and let me tell you I was so impressed with the Eagle River chain and the people on it that I kept thinking I might have to move here.

Against my advice several of the guys made me stay up late on the second night as well and I have to tell you The Minute Man Tournament for this group of guys is like deer camp, duck camp, and any other annual outdoor adventure, you just can’t miss it.

Always respect the military, without it you might be speaking German, Russian or Japanese!


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