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Thread: Fishing gurus, experts, or just hacks like me???

  1. #176
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    Yes but most of that was due to a missing chunk of tail this last catch-and release.Speaks volumes about catch and careful release.

  2. #177
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    Guess this thread won't die so may add a few things in the process of cleaning out some computer space.
    Primarily an old Article or 2 from Esox Angler or elsewhere.Some REAL old so....getting what you paid for most likely)

    BE IT RESOLVED,�����..

    Hi Folks.Well its that time again,time to think about and set my goals for the upcoming season.What follows are some resolutions I intend to pursue this year and hopefully you�ll find something informative and helpful here.
    First I�m definitely going to fish some new water.That used to be my thing but recently I�ve let the �business�of muskie fishing deter me from scouting new waters and that will now end.It isn�t just that I like to see whats over the next hill,or that I may find a new big fish nirvana,its that fishing new waters is a challenge that tests your skills and knowledge.I�m a person that tends to do the �same old,same old� if I�m not challenged so its clearly time to get back on the road.Where?Lots of options out there.Eastern Canada?New lakes in the States?Maybe the Great Lakes-now there�s some serious new water to explore.
    Mainly though,my resolutions deal with new presentations.The more I experiment with presentations the more I realize the only rule when it comes to muskies is that there are no rules!The last couple of seasons have been amazing.Whether its high speed short line trolling of 5oz Grinders in heavy weeds or pausing(totally stopping)surface baits for extended periods of time,most anything seems to work if given a fair chance.Couple that with ever increasing pressure,pressure utilizing largely traditional presentations, and the idea of trying new things makes great sense.
    Given that I hope to be on new water quite often this year-therefore having to efficiently cover lots of water-many of my resolutions have to do with trolling.Here are a few of them:
    1.High speed surface baiting.Trolling surface baits has been going on for a long time-heck some friends from Thorne Bros Tackle in the Twin Cities have been doing it at pretty good speeds as well for years-but that�s not what I�m talking about.I�m talking about really high speeds-with strange lures.
    This idea first occurred to me many years ago on Leech Lake in northern Minnesota after observing schools of muskies chasing schools of tulibees on the surface.The tulies dancing, darting and leaping out of the water,the muskies chasing.High speed chasing.Just like bass and shad or sailfish or marlin chasing those squid type lures on TV.(I�ll digress here with a bit of history.I think this is likely how the �walk the dog�thing-�crackpotting�if you will- got started with respect to muskies.I think it was this chasing of tulibees by muskies on Leech that led a respected guide,Dick Pence,to develop what I believe was the first �crackpot�lure designed for muskies.)Regardless, I intend to pursue it with salt water high speed lures or modified existing lures such as weighted Docs or Lee Lures,unweighted Sledges,Hell Hounds,etc.
    I know.I know,I�m crazy because even if they chase them,hooking them will be a different story.Perhaps but tulibees get eaten,squid lures get nailed,so�One thing for sure,I believe they�ll chase them like crazy-especially out over open water-and then at least I�ll know where they are.We can all agree that�s not a bad thing.
    2.Use of trollings aids/devices/trinkets/attractants/whatever you call them.
    My friends at Cat�s Tails Tackle have convinced me to try bucktails trolled behind Dipsy Divers(52 inchers will do that to me)but what about other lures?I just have to try jerk baits such as Hell Hounds and Suicks.
    What about using attractants in front of or around our lures?Remember Cowbells-that leader full of flashing beads and blades in front of your lure?Or Dodgers,most often used for salmon or trout?Talk about flash,vibes,appeal to lateral lines!Years ago I went there and after only a couple of hours of trolling I remember that big muskie flying out with the Cowbells,not my lure,in its mouth.I gave up the idea shortly after that.Hello???If I�d given up on every lure or idea I lost a muskie on I�d have run out of ammo and had to quit long ago.Nope I suspect it was my dislike for trolling in those days that caused me to give up what I believe is a solid idea for attracting and catching muskies.I�ll be trying them again this year.(Please,will someone start producing muskie size,muskie quality versions of these attractants?)
    Finally,this year I�ll also be trying planer boards coupled with surface baits along walls,windswept shorelines and over shallow reefs and rock flats.Running them in and across areas my boat can�t get to under the conditions.
    3.Now my favorite resolution.One I�m sure will put big fish in my boat-or yours.I�ll call it �rattling up�a muskie since the idea came to me while in a bow stand �banging bones�(I know,technically its antlers)trying to attract a trophy whitetail.
    In the past I�ve written and talked about my trolling experiences.How I�ve gotten pretty effective trolling,even in open water situations,but that nearly all of my big fish caught trolling have been on or near traditional structure,often striking right after lure contact with that structure.(the tactic does not seem to work early in the season however,possibly because the big girls simply aren�t there or aren�t in the aggressive feeding mode due to spawning.)
    I consider rattling for deer an aggressive tactic and it occurred to me that at times maybe I�m not aggressive enough when I�m hunting for big muskies.I started thinking why don�t I get more aggressive toward big muskies by banging structure instead of horns.Its a proven tactic that I�ve really never thought through and likely have underutilized.Sure I�ll purposely bang a point or the tip of a reef a few times,probably at different depths,and sure I�ll occasionally dip in toward a structure break and bang something,but why not get really serious,really aggressive,and bang structure a lot?Why not make banging structure the rule rather than the exception at times,make it the primary trolling goal-bang as much structure,at various depths(never below the twilight zone,the zone within which photosynthesis takes place,however.)as possible?Pass after pass,structure after structure,over and back,across,down the sides,repeatedly.
    Good questions.Ones I suspect should have been asked before.This year I will and bet the number of big fish I catch increases substantially.
    4.Finally,I resolve to ask myself more often;Why do I fish?Why do I fish muskies?
    This past year I run to Mille Lacs lake and see 20 boats fishing the area I�d planned to fish and I ask,as I depart, why?What enjoyment could they be getting out of that?
    Or I arrive at a favorite spot on million acre Lake of The Woods and see 2 or 3 boats already there and think the same thoughts as I again depart.
    Or I read about a muskie tournament with 50(or more) boats and think why would anyone want to try catch this elusive fish with that many others(often others with tremendous skills)on the body of water at the same time?
    In both instances I think,don�t they get it?Good god where�s the solitude,peacefulness,�mystique�of muskie fishing in that?Man that�s not for me!
    Then I realize that�s the point,it isn�t for me.Now.And further,I�m being hypocritical to think that way as I reflect back on my muskie fishing history and recall days in the 70s when I�d fish the weed beds in Portage Bay of Leech Lake with 20 other boats nearby doing the same thing,or reflect back to when I occasionally fished tournaments or relished the �competition�of catching and reporting �numbers�in other contests.Then that kind of fishing obviously was for me.
    So whats my point you ask?More than one really.With age I�ve learned that satisfaction varies from person to person and that most will change their reasons for fishing,and for fishing muskies specifically,as they motor through life.But most importantly,with age,I�ve learned that asking these questions of myself,and answering them honestly,leads me to focus on where,when what and how I want to fish which in turn,assuming I follow the course that dictates,leads to satisfaction at the end of each season regardless of the number or size of fish caught and released.
    Resolve to try it.Ask yourself these 2 questions,be honest with yourself and maybe you�ll have clearer goals and more satisfaction each season.
    Have a great season folks!
    Remember:thinking is just being thoughtful.
    See you next issue.
    Dick

  3. #178
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    Another oldie.

    A FISH STORY-AND A BIT MORE

    Hi Folks.How about a fish story?Ive sure got one for you and while some may question it(I would have if not there),its true.
    First let me set the scene.Its July and prime casting time on Lake Of The Woods.Prime surface bait time.Im staying and fishing with my good friend Barry who had just built a new cabin on an island.His dad and brother-in-law were there as well and were doing some finishing work on the cabin while we fished.Fishing was good and topwater activity was picking up as our week progressed.
    About noon one day we pull up to a large reef we know quite well but one that,with most water conditions,is hard and hazardous to fish thoroughly.A complex spot with numerous shallow rocks,deeper holes,fingers,etc.
    Since its relatively calm I decide to get right up on it and pick it apart.Im throwing a Topraider,one of my favorite surface baits.As we work the reef, I take a cast into very shallow water near a couple of large boulders and am rewarded with a follow by a monster-the likes of which I hadnt seen in years.After quickly swinging the boat away from the spot,I turn and Zing,in goes Toppie and pop,pop,pophere it comes back-right through the gap between the boulders.As Toppie clears the gap the seas part into a black hole type swirl and the she monster emerges with my leader in her mouth and Bull Frog Toppie swinging futiley free on the far side. My computer quickly spits out that my only hope is to reset once she opens her mouth during her repeated,almost slow motion like,headshakes.Of course,she opens,I set-and dang near knock Barry out of the boat with the returning Toppie.Anger,embarrassment,sick stomach,appologies to Mr Toppie,you know,the usual,describes my reaction afterwards but, being an expert on this type thing,I eventually recover.Sort of.
    Well no surprise but we beat the spot to near death day and night for a day or two to no avail.Shes gone- forever we think.Now we come to the last evening of the trip. Barrys dad and bro-in-law have been working hard all week and we decide we should take them out that evening.Its decided Barrys dad,Jim(an accomplished multi-species fishermen)will go with me and its agreed we get the reef at dark.As we are about to depart the dock,Barry walks over and hands his dad his scarred and well used Baby Loon Topraider with a precautionary statement,Dad,dont lose this,Ive caught many muskies on it,including three 50s.
    Fast forward now to dusk,the bewitching hour.The wind is upand for the last hour or so Ive been debating where our last stop will be.Wind or not,I decide it better be the reef.As we head that way I explain to Jim it will be difficult to fish-especially the spot where itwas,but that Ill be able to slide into a gap upwind of the spot,hold the boat,and let him cast to it.(Honestly,had I thought there was even the remotest chance of itbeing there,I wouldnt have handled it this way,at least until I made 10 casts there myself.)
    We do just that,Jim makes the perfect cast and Toppie starts pop,poppinhis way home.After it clears the boulders uninjured,I glance away to verify our position and to start extricating us from the spot-just in time to miss the seas parting again,but even in the wind and all the commotion going on,there was no missing the loud whoosh of that sucking chest wound type sound some big fish make when striking a bait on the surface.I turn and see her,the she monster,slowing shaking her head-with Baby Loon nicely stuck in her huge mouth.Instinctively I holler,set again,and Jim,an ex-marine-a very big ex-marine- does.Perfect I think momentarily.Only momentarily because a split second later Baby Loon was sailing past my head.Oh no,I said,not again.Yes again.The she monster was gone-again.
    I m looking away,unsure what to say,wishing Id never said set again,when Jim says Dick,look at this.Hes holding Toppie and it takes me a second or two to realize something is wrong.Then it takes a few more seconds to comprehend precisely what is wrong.Only the top half of Toppie is still there!The bottom half is gone!Missing!AWOL!
    What the heck I say as he swings it to me.And there it is,top half only,the through wire looking cleanly snipped off.By teeth?Impossible,right?Bottom line is we spend a long time that night and in subsequent days replaying,studying and thinking about this.There is only one plausible explanation.I have caught many muskies,big muskies,on Topraiders,as has half the western world.Its always been indestructible.Ive always thought(still do think)its an engineering marvel with the straight tail and tank like construction.so whats the only plausible explanation?Fatigue,plain and simple.Numerous muskie,including many big ones.Numerous pike,including many big ones.Thousands of casts.A big fish thats unmoveable,with leverage,coupled with braided line and a big ex-marine hookset=she monster escaping.A freak incident but true-not a fish story.Honest.
    Barry is upset about Baby Loon of course,but his dad didnt lose the bait-at least not the entire bait-so he has no recourse.Of course,we rename the reef.Its now called Top Half.


    *sidebar: Is this criticism of Topraiders?Absolutely not.The opposite in fact,an endorsement.I never leave the dock without a couple of Toppies in my boat.The message here is simple and basic,everything fatigues with use and time.Heck,I verify that every morning when I look in the mirror.The solution,whether dealing with gear or your body,is to recognize the fact and deal with it.

    A BIT MORE
    The she monsterin the story above was in a foot of water or less all three times she was seen.Super shallow.Whats with that?Is it normal?Unusual?Was it the weather?The stained,fairly dirty water?Was she feeding?Digesting?Global warming?
    You know what?Despite being intrigued by it,and despite writing a lot about it in recent years(recall my articles about the twi-lite and photosynthesis zones,a muskies temperature comfort zone,and a host of other reasons I think they are shallow 99% of the time),I really dont carewhy anymore.Muskies are the top of the food chain.They go where they want,when they want.More and more Im seeing they want shallow water.Very shallow.Very often.Under varying conditions.They are there and Ill be there more often myself.Even on Trout or very clear waters, although so far my very shallow success there has been limited absent wind or current.
    The reality Im afraid,is that I havent gone shallow enough in years past and have misseda lot of big fish as a result.I pass this on,for what its worth.

    Remember:Thinking is just being thoughtful.See you next issue.
    Good fishing!
    Dick

  4. #179
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    Thinking of toppies... besides Alexandra Daddario

    There was a time, back before the big double blade age, when you could throw a topraider all day long, or pretty much all week long, and be quite productive. Does anyone still do this, or have times changed too much? It's still one of the best lures to put on the line of newb, of which I have two in my group this year. I'm referring more to the general style of tail prop bait, than the specific brand.

  5. #180
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    Ryan since the last movie I went to was 'Sands Of Iwo Jima' starring John Wayne and my monochrome TV has tired cathode ray tubes you got me with the Alexandra Daddario thing.Had to google her-thanks,not a waste of time.
    As to 'Toppies' I always have comments.Still one of the greatest baits ever.AND,if you've ever worked trying to design a reliable,tough and consistent surface bait,you quickly realize it's an engineering marvel and design as well.Genius actually.
    Have to say though my success with them the last few years has dropped considerably.IMO one can't put one on and just 'go' anymore.Not sure why but it's incredible success itself has been a partial reason I'm sure.'Conditioning' plays a role.Prime weather and time cures a lot though-and don't leave the dock without one.
    Others?Lot's of 'props' out there now and some with significantly different sound signatures that can,i think,make a difference.No harm in trying higher or lower pitched sounds-or louder.As mentioned in another response,I've spent lotsa $ on new ones.Consider,among many others,lures from Lake X(can you not like a lure named 'Fat Bastard'?);Big Mama and the newer plastic Pacemakers from Drifter Tackle.Gonna be trying a number of others but no experience with them yet but maybe know more by the time you arrive.
    Travel safe.

  6. #181
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    Ryan,before coming up,grab a couple Suick Nite Walkers.

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    Not sure why this went here.
    Last edited by fish_wizard; 06-21-2016 at 09:43 PM. Reason: Wrong spot

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    I do have some nite walkers in my collection and will definitely bring them.

    Maybe it's just revisionist history, but I do think that, in general, the top water bite has gone down in the past few years. Granted my trips and time on the water is a sad reflection of what it once was. Maybe it's just the reduced number of reports that are posted these days? Just don't hear about as many jackpot, creeper, or even hawg wobbler fish.

    Am I off base?

    Ryan

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    Nope Ryan your right top water has gone way down in the last 10 years I bet in the last 5 years caught 3 fish on top water?? And it's thrown a lot Carol loves the Top Raider !
    Darren

  10. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by fish_wizard View Post
    I do have some nite walkers in my collection and will definitely bring them.

    Maybe it's just revisionist history, but I do think that, in general, the top water bite has gone down in the past few years. Granted my trips and time on the water is a sad reflection of what it once was. Maybe it's just the reduced number of reports that are posted these days? Just don't hear about as many jackpot, creeper, or even hawg wobbler fish.

    Am I off base?

    Ryan
    I've had good luck on 10" weagles the past few years out of the back of my buddy's boat. Had a few musky strikes on Topraiders, one hooked. I've only been going up to LOTW since 2009, though, so no info before that.

    By the way, when I logged in about 95% of this thread disappeared...not sure what the deal is there. Great forum, love all the info from everyone. I'll be up June 30-July 5, hopefully will have a positive report!

    Chris

  11. #186
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    Fish or 2 here/there on surface.Heard of a 43 yesterday on a Whopper Plopper.Know a guy in(or near)Camp that has 4 on a Crackpot so far.

  12. #187
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    Hey Ryan,couple of the fish I caught today were on Mr Toppie.Sweet.Will send you a pic or 2.One did the fabulous strike n tail walk like you captured on the video.Only thing missing was the 'Dick,Dick,Dick Dick'.

  13. #188
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    Here you go Ryan Carol's Top Water !! https://youtu.be/AFWpJRjyDvw

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    Speaking of prop baits,most new ones nowadays are big and 'loud'.All good but not always the answer.Some may recall the old Rumbler designed by friend Don Schwartz.The protos and those made by Don himself were outstanding with a subtle,quieter yet high pitched popping sound.Incredible BIG fish catchers!!!Well last week I took out my last 'new' proto of Dons.A pretty green orange combo-at least it was then.Not so much now.4 nice fish in the last 2 days.Sound matters.

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    And while on the subject and to confirm prior claims that the Rumbler was great for biggies,I can state that Frankies new Operation Muskie hand made Rumbler scored a BIG today.Happily I can state I was throwing it however.
    It got hurt pretty bad in the process though.

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    So a couple days, or at least parts of days, on this last trip I was fishing third out of the back behind bucktails and was getting fish to follow to the boat on a shallow invader using a pull/pause retrieve. These fish looked like they were trying to lick the bait. I tried other lures after the second or third nice fish that did this but nothing else got them to move. Anyone run into a similar situation and found a lure they'd eat?

    I tried Topwater, gliders, burning blades and other cranks.

  17. #192
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    I've seen Maina n others do it with Tubes or some rubber ducky type deal but,for me,it' a suick.
    Fish nutso today,broomhandle would work.

  18. #193
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    A few current thoughts on current.This year has been a current guys dream,sometimes nightmare,because of the large volume of water going through the system and the fairly relentless winds from often rapidly changing directions.Often overwhelming to deal with and exploit meaningfully even for an old 'current guy' like me.It might be on a point,a large saddle or even an extended reef but often if observant,one will see distinctly different flows and directions -with often multiple eddies on the same piece of structure you are working.
    Clearly frustrating -especially for control freaks like me that want to 'handle' the situation properly.At such times here's a proposed remedy to consider.When in this situation,just let the boat go.You heard me right,take the foot off the pedal and let the current take you.I suggest what you will find,often enough to convince me,is exactly what you are looking for.Fish.
    As I'm being dragged along,sometimes even against a substantial wind,I just fan cast to likely spots but almost invariably end up in an eddy edge or place that the fish do as well.Often a place that will surprise you.Did it with success again today and met face to face with a fattie.
    Worth a shot IMO.

  19. #194
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    Weed issues,pressure,but most importantly weather,has me concerned.Where can an internet dinasaur find temp and average wind speed info for say the last 10 yrs?
    Comments,concerns and thoughts of all welcome.

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    I'm talking Lake Of The Woods area only.Thanks to a friend for pointing out my lack of specificity.

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    weather underground had a history search where you can select the dates you want history and averages.

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    nevermind weather underground only lets you see history in 2 year increments.

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    Wow,thanks Jerry.Tons of historical data there at least back to 1997.Now if I can figure out how to use it.

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    There are literally hundreds of 'studies' of oceans and some of freshwater dealing with 'climate change' but has anyone seen ANY that pertain to the lakes and waters of traditional muskie regions?
    Glittering generalities are all I can find.
    http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazine...ater-Fish.aspx

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    Quick note.Look out for the InFish 2017 Pike/Musky guide.Few people who show up on this site now n then,may talk about surface baits.

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    Somewhere in this maze of misinformation I seem to recall a discussion of the sad and still developing weed situation on LOTWs but too busy to track it down now.(truly and ironically cause I'm heading out to spray weeds)
    If anyone has seen any info on this situation or has any thoughts on it,please post up.

  27. #202

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    Posted for Dick due to some technical issue:



    Bit of an update:
    Haven't found much on the weed situation so just chatted with friend and In Fish writer,Gord Pyzer.
    Gord has lived in Kenora for most of his life and at one time was OMNR District manager there.He is VERY well versed on and in tune with Lake Of The Woods.
    Gord indicated Rusties have indeed decimated the weeds.The OMNR
    Lake Assessment Unit has been tracking them via traps and they are now as far north as they can go and near as far to the west as they can go.(heading into Clearwater Bay now.)
    He indicated at some point,'exotics' like Rusty crawfish usually reach a state of equilibrium or steadiness but did not feel they are there yet due to the still massive numbers existing and,even when they do,there is no guarantee the weeds will come back.Time will tell I guess.
    So,wait and see it is.
    Sadly there is another and more recent complication I guess.Spiny waterfleas are invading the lake and apparently decimating native zooplankton-yet are doing so without eating the algae that crates the dreaded 'bloom' we often see in later summer and fall.Damn!Stay tuned on that.
    Walsh's Bay Store Camp
    Frank Walsh

    Web Site: http://www.baystorecamp.com

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    Thanks Frank.Surprising I would have a tech issue.Anyway appears it's been resolved.

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    A ray of hope.Over the last few years I've monitored the weed situation in many bays and other places.When they disappeared the weeds have remained absent in the vast majority of places.In some 'junk' weeds and what I call big leaf tobacco cabbage has appeared and they hold some fish but now I am finding a few spots where the original cabbage appears to be starting to return.Not many spots and not much cabbage but some.Today I went to one of my old favs,I check it every year,and there,in one corner was a half boat sized spot of 'good' cabbage.Yeh!!!!!!

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    What was the name of that bay again 😉 lol

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    Behemoth Bay.

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    So I travel to New Mexico to chase the mighty Wapiti and what do I run into?Muskie addicts.
    They have one lake with Tigers but they have the 'bug'.Bad.Spent too much time talking baits,not bugles.

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    My wife takes people out horse riding round Windsor Great Park, which surrounds Windsor Castle. A couple of months ago she had a couple of Americans out and it turned out the guy was into musky fishing. She had to tell him that her husband spent the first half of their honeymoon on LOTW a thousand miles away from her. Poor Gilda, she's used to me now.

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    A disease Tim,one that is spreading.

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    50,000 views!!!!!!!
    Walsh's Bay Store Camp
    Frank Walsh

    Web Site: http://www.baystorecamp.com

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