I kept faithful to an outdoors tradition by going to the annual Northwest Sportshow, which opened Wednesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center and runs through Sunday.
Usually, I go with my Dad, but he was unable to attend this year due to recent surgery to remove his gall bladder. He’s recovering fine, but will need weeks to heal. So, this year, I flew solo.
I like cruising the aisles in search of new hunting and fishing products. It’s a good chance to talk to some experts, who are there to answers questions from folks like me.
A pleasant surprise came when I bumped into two guys that I had gotten to know back when I worked for Sun Newspapers in the western suburbs — Steve Carney and Tim Lesmeister. I’ve had the pleasure of going fishing and hunting with them a few times, and the chance meeting at the show reminded me how enjoyable those times were.
One outing, in particular, stands out. Carney was catching walleyes like crazy on Lake Mille Lacs one summer — and big ones. He called me up and invited me to go. I met him in Rogers in the wee hours and we headed northward on Highway 169. We got out on the water about 5:30 a.m., and only minutes into our trip, Steve discovered his GPS wasn’t working.
“Well, we’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way,” he bravely responded to the crisis at hand. He turned on his depth finder and we journeyed out a few miles to the lake’s famous mud flats. He marked some fish, we circled back and dropped our live-bait rigs down to what we hoped would be active walleyes.
Game on! Within minutes, we were catching fish and, before long, the big ones started hitting. I ended up catching two 27-inch walleyes, and he got a 25- and a 29-incher. And, we took home a limit of eaters.
On that trip and several others, I seemed to be good luck for Steve even when some things did go wrong. I’d love to get back in a fishing boat with him this summer. Lesmeister, meanwhile, made me a standing offer to go to Mille Lacs with him this summer. He, in turn, would come to Lake Calhoun with me to fish for bass. He has done well there and so have I.
I’ll store that information in my head for later. Right now, I’ve got turkey hunting on my brain. Unfortunately, I did not find my favorite sportshow booth — Ammocraft. It’s a small store that caters to waterfowl and turkey hunters. I don’t know if I inadvertently missed it, or if he’s not there this year.
Doesn’t matter. I know where the store is — Minnetonka — and I can stop in some other time. For more information on the show, visit http://www.northwestsportshow.com.