2012 was a rough year, trapped between a recession and a hard place. At Thunderstik Lodge, renowned for its walleye fishing and overlooking the Missouri River, you wouldn’t even know.
The best way to wind down after a stressful Christmas season is to set your sights and look forward to a 2013 season on the Missouri River and later that fall to the sounds of pheasants off in the distance.
We had kicked around the idea of a televised “Cast & Blast” TV show option for our customers. The idea became reality after a 2012 ice-fishing trip where I met Bill Sherck from Ron Schara Productions of Minneapolis.
Bill – known as “The Man about the Woods” – is a five time Emmy award winning outdoor reporter and show host, and while up on Lake of the Woods, and after a few late night conversations about the cast & blast concept – as well as solving the world’s problems – we decided to move forward.
Our trip dates were Nov. 5-8 2012. Bill’s guests for the show were Brian Kelvington and Erick Carlson from ATK Sporting of Anoka MN, home to Federal Premium Ammunition. Erick is responsible for developing the Prairie Storm shotgun shell – one of the premier loads ever invented. Also among the crew was Ron Johnson, cinematographer and video chief from Ron Schara Productions.
The crew spent the first two days filming pheasant hunting and habitats with our Thunderstik guests. On November 8th, it was time to hit the water. Bill hauled his boat from Minnesota, and just a few miles from the lodge, we put in on the Missouri for a half day of jigging the river for walleye and sauger. Conditions were tough, temperatures in the mid 40’s, with wind gusts between 30- 35 miles per hour. Still, it’s not bad for November!
Using tips from the Thunderstik guides, we headed toward pylons in the river left over from the old bridge that connected Chamberlain to Oacoma. Being seasoned anglers, we had to agree on our betting rules. We quickly decided that the first fish was going to bring in $1 as well as the biggest fish for the same amount. There was big money on the line.
Standard walleye fishing techniques applied – jig and minnow, head for the bottom and pull up just a bit off the mud. Within minutes, both Bill and I had fish on, but lost them both. Right away Brian gets a hit, and hauls in the first fish, netting him $3. OK, no more mister nice guy, it was time to get serious.
We spent the next few hours catching walleye’s – no lunkers, but plenty of fish in the 12-18 inch range. In the few hours battling the wind, we headed back to shore after totaling about 35 fish.
Did I mention Brian and his $3 first fish? It turned out to be a hogger kind of day for Brian. He also ended up with the biggest fish at 21 ½ inches. I wonder how he plans to spend his winnings...