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7/16/2019
Kevin Wallenfang and his tournament winning, 46-inch musky just prior to release Fishing has been as hot as the weather for our circle of family and friends, and anglers participating in the 16th Annual Bob Ellis Row Trolling Classic. The Classic was started in 2003 by fishing guide Patricia Strutz to memorialize Bob Ellis, a legendary northern Wisconsin row troller inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 2008 for his im...
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Predicaments: Fish Fry

For years we stayed for a week’s vacation with three other couples at a resort on Lake Minocqua. The Minocqua area in Wisconsin is a good choice because it can accommodate the 4-wheelers, the golfers, the shoppers, the restaurant connoisseurs, and the fishermen of our crew. The women plan this trip for an entire year, fine-tuning almost every detail including meals and activities. Some even plan what they will wear on every day of the week. We guys know not to challenge the plan, instead just stick to it.

The plan for Thursday was for me to do a fish fry for the entire crew. Strangely, the women decided they wanted to catch the fish for this fish fry.

Before our vacation and in preparation for this fish fry, I rigged several poles for the ladies to use for catching pan fish. I also stayed up late at night during rainstorms to pick the nightcrawlers. I consulted with several fishing friends to discover good spots to catch pan fish on our lake as I rarely fish for bluegills. I wrote up a few fishing maps and plugged some spots into my GPS my friends told me about.

When packing for the trip the guys brought up the big propane fryer, the heavy-duty kettles, the special seasoning, and the expensive cooking oil. The first day of our vacation I went scouting on the lake to check out all the fishing spots my friends had told me about. We needed to make sure we found the right spot, because if we did not catch fish Thursday we would not be following the plan.

I spent a few hours and went pre-fishing to check out several of the spots. Fortunately, one spot was loaded with blue gills. Unfortunately, I found the fish deeper in the water than I had hoped and therefore I had to rerig all the pan fish poles with slip bobbers. This slip bobber fishing is a real time-consuming pain to rig up but a good way to get the ladies fishing deep enough to catch those scrappy eaters.

The day finally came for the big fishing outing and fish fry. I got all the women on a pontoon boat and we set out on our journey. We tossed in the anchor by our hot spot and the fish cooperated. Some women would touch fish, but not worms.  Some would touch worms, but not fish. Some, my wife as an example, would not touch anything related to fishing except a pole, which included a weed that might be stuck on a hook. After a couple hours of untangling lines, baiting hooks, and taking fish off the hook, we had enough fish for the fish fry.

Somehow it was now my job to spend a considerable amount of time cleaning all these fish, even though some fish were on the small side. Finally, after working up an appetite, the guys were hungry. The plan was frying fish.

I spent a large amount of time preparing for this fish fry. However, after rigging the poles, staying up late at night in the rain getting the nightcrawlers, tapping all my friends for information on where to catch pan fish in this lake, packing all the cooking supplies, scouting the lake to find the fish, rerigging all the poles, untangling a hundred fishing lines, the women decided that rather than fry the fish, everyone would go out for pizza.  Would we men give in to this untimely and absurd request? This was not the plan. We should stand our ground just once. I know what you’re thinking, ”Good luck with that.”

Their pizza place of choice was the jam-packed pizza joint that always has at least an hour wait. Well, this night it turned out that the wait was unusually long. The women stayed there and sent me to find another pizza place and get a reservation.  I drove all over, found another place to eat and got us a couple tables. I went back to the original pizza place to get them but then they decided they wanted to stay where they were and waited another hour or so. I went back to cancel the reservations. We waited there at least another hour and then I quietly ate the delicious pepperoni and onion pizza. No anchovies though, as some fish can leave a funny taste.

Want to read more stories like this? Predicaments: Mostly True Hunting and Fishing Stories can be purchased at www.amazon.com , print and digital editions are available. Print copies can also be purchased at Johnny’s shop of Bait in New London WI.

Randy Williams lives in New London, WI. He has a degree in conservation, is a fishing guide, and a taxidermist. He has won over 40 fishing tournaments and spent 5 years as a co-host on an outdoor TV fishing and hunting show called No Excuses Outdoors. He has been an outdoor columnist for the Waupaca county Post and recently published a book called Predicaments:Mostly True Hunting and Fishing Stories. He now enjoys hunting and fishing full time after retiring from teaching. To watch videos of his adventures visit www.wilfish.com