A Streak of Success!!!

As is the case most years during this time period, we are experiencing some spectacular muskie fishing yet again.  Is it the full moon, or the weather???  Whatever the case may be, it has been nothing short of great.  My escapades started up this past Saturday, and they have continued hot and heavy.  I like to take it from the top with most of my stories, so strap in and hang on for the ride!

Saturday morning I summoned up a great buddy of mine that I don't often get to fish with.  Jeremy has been out muskie fishing with me zero times since I have known him.  While we get to share many laughs at the expense of his fishing blunders in the ice house, I was very excited to teach him my ways with the toothy fellas.  We were also joined by my lovely lady which excites me every time she jumps in the boat.  My morning started out on the wrong foot as I forgot about unstrapping the boat, and as I backed into the water, the darn thing drifted away.  With the wind blowing the wrong direction, all I could do was laugh and watch it drift into the middle of the lake.  Luckily there was another fisherman that came about 15 minutes later and gave me a lift.  Thank you to whoever you were.  That was aweful nice of ya!  Once we got the boat back, we were on our way, and after a quick tutorial for Jeremy, we were flinging baits.  It only took about 4 or 5 casts, and I had a big girl screaming for my bait.  This was certainly a surprise to Jeremy, and I got to look like a stud for my sweetie!  We saw a few more before we headed in, however no more in da boat.

That afternoon I was killing time before heading to the bow stand for an evening hunt.  Wags called me up, and we headed to the lake for a quick hour or so on the water.  Wags had caught two muskies with me on Mille Lacs the last time we were out, but hasn't boated one since.  This makes it all the more sweet as I was able to net his new personal best.  This beauty measured in at 50.5 inches and now I am proud to introduce Jason Wagener to the 50 inch club.  Ada Boy!

Sunday morning I was back on the water again with Ray  for our Livin' the Dream trip as he likes to call it.  We had absolutely amazing fog rolling in for the morning, which made things very cool, and one of those mornings that you are really excited to get out of the bed for.  We had some action, and another great trip.  There is something to be said about waking up on a Sunday morning when everybody else is recovering from a hangover.  They are truly missing out, well at least that's my opinion.  The morning wasn't complete until we got a 48, and a 42 incher in the boat.  The camera battery didn't agree with the 48 incher, as it was dead, but somehow it worked on the 42.  Hmmm...whatever I guess.  As a side note to this story, Ray, I'm sorry you had to get out of the boat, I just knew that was going to happen.  

Monday morning I was joined by Tim and his workmate Jess.  Jess has fished in Wisconsin for most of his life, and hadn't boated a Minnesota Ski before.  Tim has had one while bass fishing a few years back, however he claimed it to be about 4 pounds.  So what do we do??? Try to get some ski's in the boat I guess.  Tim started out the adrenaline action as a brief low front was moving in.  I say brief, because it was only a handful of clouds in the clear blue sky.  I guess that was all we needed, because Tim will now have the memory of a giant going ballistic on his bait.  I would figure it to be about 52 - 53 inches.  He hooked it long enough to have it charge the boat and go airborn directly at him.  Sometimes you just cannot tame a wild beast like that, and this was no different.  Either way, our vibes were running high, and you could just feel it in the air.  A few minutes later, Jess was the proud recipient of his first Minnesota Muskie, and a beautiful 46 incher.  Not quite like the smaller Wisconsin muskies (sorry about the shot cheeseheads!!!!)

Today was just one of those days that shouldn't happen.  Our theory on why it did was simple.  Dean and Doc (also Cheeseheads) came over the border to see if last year was a fluke.  If you recall, Doc had never boated a muskie until he hopped in the boat last year.  In his two days, he landed his first at 50 inches, followed by a 49 and then a 48 incher.  He took his lucky lure back home with him, and wouldn't ya know, HE BROUGHT IT BACK TODAY!!!  Well, I don't know how else to put it other than...Mr. Lucky is still LUCKY!  On our first spot of the morning he was throwing it thinking that it wasn't running correctly, so I put it on my line.  Hmmm....That was a mistake, cuz it worked just fine for me, and we were soon taking pictures of a very nice 49 incher.  Needless to say, I put Mr. Lucky back on Doc's line.  We shuffled over to a new location, and good ol' Mr. Lucky had his charm working strong.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it, but that lucky guy and his lucky bait landed yet another 50 incher.  Absolutely incredible!  As we were joking about his fish and his luck, we headed to spot number 3.  I hadn't casted on the second spot, and I picked my rod up while the boys were casting at the usual location.  I tossed to the side of the boat and out of nowhere came another huge fish.  I almost got pulled out of the boat when not paying attention, and the battle was one that should not have ended up with pictures.  I managed to get wrapped around the trolling motor 3 times and made a rookie mistake.  Somehow...Some way, we got her in the net, but it was with my free hand pulling the line over to the net, and not the rod.  When things are going good, there isn't much else to say other than to laugh and shrug your shoulders.  She took off before I could measure her, but it was surely just under the 50 inch mark.  Spot number 4 gave Doc yet another chance, however we failed to take pictures of that fish.  What a morning!  All I have to say is that I feel bad for Dean having to watch 3 big ones last year, and 3 more giants again today.  Doc, if you read this, you are one lucky lucky man.  Don't ever take that lucky hat off, and never leave home without Mr. Lucky!  Until next time...Keep on Livin' the Dream!

Travis Frank -Livin the Dream


Muskie Mania...

I think the title is very fitting for what I'm about to describe, Muskie Mania 2008!  This update encompasses the past 6 days of my life, and boy what a stretch of days.  Just to give you a quick shake down of the events, muskies...muskies...muskies and more muskies!  Lets just say that there was very little sleep, a thousand miles on the truck, and many hours in the boat.  Chaos and excitement, a tournament, a new fish of a lifetime, and many laughs, plus lets just throw a wedding in the mix just to shake it up a little more than we already have.  Sheesh...Lets take it from the top!

Wednesday morning I jumped in the boat with Jim for the second time in a few weeks.  He brought along his brother-in-law from the East Coast named Brad.  We had a chilly start to the morning, but managed to spot a couple of nice fish.  As is always the case when Jim jumps aboard, we kept our streak in tact and boated a nice fish.  This muskie came the old school way, which I am proud to say.  Always fun to dig back into the old bag and bring back the original muskie lures.  Lets just say it took about 6 casts to get a boatside attack.  Awesome!

Thursday morning was a morning that certainly will be remembered forever for one lucky angler named Mitch!  It just never gets old to see such a huge smile on a fishermans face, and yep, we can add yet another lucky guy to my 50 inch club.  Absolute sweetness as Mitch and Jim enjoyed what my passion is all about.  For Mitch, this was his second muskie this season as he is taking this whole fishing passion to a new level.  I think we have been out 5 times now in the past 3 months, so when this big girl erupted on his bait, he knew just what to do.  In the words of Mitch "I'm glad I have been out a couple of times, because that fish is very rewarding, and I feel I earned it, however, I am totally spoiled!  Awesome!"  I feel bad for Kristin his wife, cuz I do believe Mitch is addicted for life!  After his catch, I believe he contacted everyone on his phone list.  That's really what it's all about.

After getting off the water, I purchased some new truck tires and headed up to the Muskie Mania tournament in the Walker and Bemidji area of Minnesota.  Les just say that this was the start of some incredible muskie action for about 700 guys.  The conditions were ripe, and the muskies responded.  Friday morning I met up with longtime friend Nick Von Holdt and we set out on his home waters of Lake Bemidji.  I had logged about 2 hours on this lake about 3 years ago, so I pretty much put myself at the mercy of Nick.  Friday was a short day for us, because of a wedding that I attended that afternoon, but we really learned a lot from each other and got dialed in on several nice fish.  Boy are they fat in that lake.  Before we left the water, we boated one muskie and saw another 15 or so.  Good stuff!

Saturday I skipped out on much needed rest, and left St. Cloud at about 3AM for Bemidji again.  Hit the water at about 6:30 and witnessed a very tough morning on the water.  The fish had lock-jaw from the bombardment from day one anglers.  We stuck with our game plan and kept working our fish over and over and over again.  Nick was beginning to think that I was nuts, however I told him that these fish will turn on and we will get bit.  We made a good call, cuz at 2:35 it all broke loose.  Nick started it off by boating the first fish, and I followed 3 casts later with another one.  20 more casts, and we raised 2 hot giants, and then I had about a 38 incher battle to the boat.  Not big enough, so it was back at it for the big girls.  We had encounters for the next hour which totally made our day.  It's all about waiting em out, and we had a hoot once they turned on. 

Sunday after some much needed rest, we hit the water for the last 5 hours of tournament fishing.  We weren't the only guys on fish, as many of the locals found their patterns to be on fire.  We were just happy to be in the running for the new truck raffle prize, and kept on our way.  Newly acwuired muskie addict Dave Bretschneider from Bernick's Beverages, jumped in our bait as a major sponsor of the tournament.  We shared many great laughs throughout the morning, and then on our last pass of the morning, we struck gold again.  Nick got hammered boatside, and the chaos was on.  Being a new muskie man, Dave yelled "what can I do!"  As the fish ran under the trolling motor, Nick's line got tangled around the reel, and the hecticness was on.  I yelled for Dave to grab the net, and I grabbed the line for a little one over one battle with his muskie.  With his reel not working, I pulled the line in while he maneuvered his rod accordingly.  It was total teamwork as the 3 of us landed Nick's fish.  What a way to land a fish at 11:39 when the tourney was done at 12.

The tournament itself was a huge success.  I was able to learn a new lake and we had some great success even during heavy pressure tournament situations.  The fish were literally on fire on Leech Lake, Cass Lake, Big Lake and Lake Bemidji.  I will give you a link to the full rundown of events as Ron Sanders the Tournament Director gets them to me.  As a quick update on the event, I think there was roughly 700 anglers on 21 different lakes.  over 150 fish were caught in the 3 days which is incredible, and a lucky angler from Bemidji won a new truck on the raffle.  To be entered into the raffle, you had to catch a muskie, so we had high hopes, but weren't dissapointed.

Just an insane stretch of days that pushed my body to the limits.  Great fishing, and the streak of consecutive muskie trips on the water is now up to 6 days.  Lets keep it going as I will obviously be back on the water at some point this week after a little R & R and a visit back to my comfy office desk.  Thanks to all that participated in my life the past week.  It is just amazing how great it can be.  That's what I call Livin The Dream!


Muskie Mania Tournament 2008

This coming Friday through Sunday marks the dates for the refurbished Muskie Mania Tournament held in the reaches of northern Minnesota.  Labelled the Frank Schneider, Jr Memorial Muskie Tournament, "this event is the largest muskie tournament in the world says" the tournament director Ron Sanders.  This muskie event will be slightly different than the cash payout style of tournaments that most fisherman are accustomed to.  There will be awards as usual, however this tournament will encompass 21 different lakes in the Walker, Cass Lake and Bemidji areas.  It is more focused to the families, and there is a junior division and a womans division as well.  For each muskie over 40 inches caught during fishing hours over the 3 days, that individual, or teammate if chosen so, will be entered into the final drawing for a $30,000 vehicle package at Lupient GMC.  There will also be several other awards given out for the lucky anglers who land themselves a whopper. 

There is planned to be in upwards of 600 + individuals casting their lures, and many more in attendance.  Our very own Ron Schara is the Honorary Grand Marshall and MC of this event, and Bill Scherk and I will also be in attendance as special guests.  This is sure to be a great weekend of muskie fishing for everyone involved.  If you haven't heard about this event and you are interested, it isn't too late to join in on the fun.  Click here for more information on this weekends Muskie Mania Event!  See you on the water!

Travis Frank ~ Livin The Dream


Oh Brother....

One of the greatest enjoyments I get in my fishing life is to see the big smile on the face of a happy fisherman.  Fortunately I am able to do that with quite regularity, and it is one of the main reasons I love what I do.  While any smile is a great smile, some of my favorites are spent fishing with my close buddies, my dad, and especially my brother.

There is a bond shared between brothers that just goes without saying.  We don't need to talk about it, but we know its there.  While my brother Adam and I don't often have much time on the water together, it is always time well spent.  A couple years back he decided he wanted to "give it a go" with the mighty muskellunge.  I, of course, was all for this adventure, and at the end of our trip, we had ourselves many great laughs and Adam's first muskie.  He gave it the official ruling and said it was  44 and a lil' more.  A highlight for me no doubt.

So a few nights ago our busy schedules finally allowed us to toss the big baits again for the big girls.  His excitement to tangle with another ski got me excited, and I could just feel that we were going to have one.  About an hour into the trip, darkenss started to settle and our anticipation grew with every cast.  As I worked my bait up to a spot that I had seen a 50 incher earlier in the day, my heart started to beat faster and faster.  We were both aiming for the same area when the bottom dropped out on my lure.  I paused for a brief second to make sure my topwater was taken, and set the hook with all that I had.  I had the big one, the 50 incher that I had seen and drooled over earlier in the day was on my line.  My rod bent in half and I couldn't move the beast.  Two head shakes later, and a half a second gone by, I was reeling my bait back in with nothing attached.  It all happened so quickly that my brother didn't even know what had happened.  I had to tell the story again, because he had no idea that it had happened. 

As we were laughing about how he missed everything that had just happened, the water erupted on his bait and his second muskie was now on the other end.  Jumping, slashing, pulling with extreme feirceness got my bro excited and all he could scream was "Get The Net! Hurry!  Get The Net!"  It was awesome, and the ride was short lived.  He grabbed his prize for the picture, and I had a smile from ear to ear.  As we watched the fish swim away, we did a couple of fist pumps and high fives.  It wasn't the 50 incher, but some days it doesn't have to be.  My oh my was it a great night on the water.  An evening that us brothers will never soon forget.  Now that's why I call it "Livin The Dream!"

Travis Frank ~ Livin The Dream


Mitch Wins Gold...

No, I'm not talking about the gold medals everyone is watching on tv right now, but gold in the form of a first muskie!  While this fish wasn't the largest guy I've ever seen in the boat, I will take nothing away from the experience and the perserverence that Mitch put in to catch it.  For heavens sake, he woke up at 3 o'clock on a sunday morning to fish for an hour and a half, and head back home before his family got out of bed.  Now that's determination!  He has had a few close calls in our previous couple outings (all boatside attacks that have left him sleepless at night), he's seen a giant 51.5 incher come in the boat, and learned many tricks for success.  When that muskie grabbed his bait 3 feet from the boat in the darkness of a Sunday morning sky, he was ready for battle.  The funny thing about it all was that when the fish hit, it smacked so hard that it set the hook on itself causing a backlash in Mitch's reel, which basically left him helplessly holding onto the rod and an angry muskie.  He had the right steps figured out, however he wasn't able to use any of them during the intense battle.  That's exactly the type of fish that a guy needs to break the ice and get that first time muskie slime!  This muskie was in the low 30's, but will forever be a trophy for that lucky Mitch Petrie!  To top everything else off, a few minutes later we watched a spectacular sunrise that just never gets old.  What a morning!

Travis Frank ~ Livin the Dream!