I guess I blinked because it seems August is halfway done. I already need to start thinking about my final fishing trip of the year and start getting ready to switch gears to hunting. But before I do that, August is my last month to put a few fish in the freezer for winter and enjoy our annual family vacation to Wisconsin. This is something we all look forward to every year. The week before vacation is always crazy trying to get the August Magazines on the shelves and get ready for the trip north. Normally I would start packing the week before and by the time Friday rolled around I would be ready to go. Not this year. It was Friday at 4:00pm and I hadn’t packed a thing. Not something I would recommend for those of you with OCD like me. We had our list and as we loaded the truck and the boat, we checked things off. After we loaded, we took one last look at the list and decided we were good to go. Well, that may not have been totally true. After we arrived, we realized oops no wash cloths, no big deal we will pick some up. We catch a few fish and I go to look for my fillet knives and no go. I realized they were sitting in my kitchen and I never put the bag in the tote. Of all things to forget my electric fillet knife was the worst. I didn’t want to go buy another, so I just used an old back up my buddy Al brought. Thank goodness. I don’t think I want to clean fish without an electric fillet knife anymore. As the week went on, we forgot several things but nothing we couldn’t deal with.
After we unloaded the boats and trucks, we decided we should go see if we could find some crappie. We were going to have the whole crew out on Sunday so we wanted to make sure the kids would be catching fish and not getting bored. To our surprise it didn’t take us but a couple of hours to find a hot spot where Leah, Al and I caught 15 crappies pretty quickly. Now that we found what we were looking for, it was time to get back to the cabin grab a bite to eat and get ready for the first full day of fishing. We woke up around 5am rounded up the kids and hit the water. It didn’t take long before we were catching fish. We were catching crappie from 8 ½ inches all the way to 12”. As usual we watched many other boats fishing near the bank with minnows or trolling for some crappie or walleye as we sat out in 15 – 20 foot of water catching suspended crappie in 10 to 12 feet of water. We never use minnows we just use jigs and our trusty nibblets. After the first day we pretty much had the pattern down. We were catching bigger crappie with our red and chartreuse sparkle jig and chartreuse sparkle nibblet. We were catching quite a few perch on the blue and chartreuse jig and blue sparkle nibblet and we had a few other colors that would produce a fish here and there as well. Usually it seems only one to two colors work for the jigs and only one color of nibblets but this year we had several colors working for us.
The second day rolled around and it was much of the same. We had a little more wind so that helped with the bit. It always seems the more waves you have the better the crappie fishing. When the crappie chop starts, you know you are in for a good day. We caught fish for several hours until it was time to go in for lunch. After cleaning the fish and grabbing some lunch Leah, Al and I decided it was time to go try something different. We decided to do a little bass and northern fishing to see what we could come up with. Just a little change of pace compared to the crappie fishing. As I loaded into the boat to set up some bass lures I realized once again the only poles I brought were for crappie fishing. I didn’t want to go the store to buy another rod, so we were going to give this a shot with one of my crappie rods. I know this isn’t going to end well but its better than sitting around doing nothing. I know relaxing is apart of vacation but if you have a friend like Al you just plan on fishing until dark. Clean fish and then sleep for a few hours and repeat. It’s definitely hard for most people to keep up with us but we are only there for a week and we love to fish. As Leah, Al and I headed out to do some bass and northern fishing I put on a Terminator top water frog that was sent to me as a sample. I didn’t throw but three casts and I had a hit. I had a little trouble hooking them with that crappie pole. I could get the backbone I needed to set the hook. Oh well let’s keep trying. Leah didn’t last long with a lure. She decided to put a bobber on with a hook and just add a nibblet. I thought well she will catch a few bluegills at best. We continued down the bank when all of the sudden I had a huge bass nail by top water frog. I let it take it for a second and when I set the hook the line snapped. I was not happy, but I knew there was a good chance of that happening. As I was sitting there mad about loosing that frog, Leah throws her nibblets out and BOOM! it takes off like a cannon. She sets the hook and I look over at the ultra-light she was using…it was doubled over. I grab the net and she fight this fish for a few minutes until I get the opportunity to get it in the net. Of course, she would catch a 3-pound bass off of a crappie nibblet. Sure, that happens every day! Needless to say, I did catch a couple of bass but nothing close to the size of Leah’s. This wouldn’t have been so bad but the first night out while fishing for crappie she caught a smallmouth bass as well. I was the one trying for bass, but she was the one catching them. Of course, it was something she could rub in all week and let me tell you she did. Actually, she brought it up again yesterday and they say us men are hard to live with. Let them catch a fish bigger than you and you think they had won the world series. (She wound up catching 3 bass all together that week! This is Leah !)
We spent plenty of time fishing, but we also found time to spend with my baby girl. Its crazy how fast she is growing. Two years ago, she was around 4 foot tall. Now my baby is 5’4” and not really a baby anymore. My wife and I are starting to realize that we have two kids out of the house and our baby is not going to be here forever. I guess it’s a part of getting older, but I hate to think about an empty nest. We had a great time making memories and if there is one thing all families should do is take vacations together. The time you spend together now creates a family bond that can’t be broken. My family didn’t take many vacations, so it has always been my goal to take at least one family vacation each year to make sure we have that quality time together. Our kids grow so quick and I want to provide them with as many life experiences as possible. So please make sure to take the time to spend with your kids whether its on the water, in the woods or anywhere else. I know we are doing the right thing when Ella looks at me and says this is her favorite trip of the year and someday, she will bring her family her to enjoy the same childhood she had.
A big shout out to Birch Lakes Resort in Birchwood Wisconsin. This has been our home away from home now for nine years. We enjoy every minute we get to spend there. Pete, Ron, Bev and Niki are great hosts. They have a pool on site, great food, drinks and entertainment! If your looking for a place to stay in Wisconsin give Birch Lakes Resort a call and tell them Andy at Adventure Sports Outdoors sent you. There number is 877-244-1914 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.birchlakesresort.com.
Until next month, May your sunrises and sunsets be magical!