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Location: Not too far from Windy

Post Posted: 08:14pm - Sep 29,09 
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I have these dreams at night;
Dreams of being locked to my hammer, always working and never ever getting to go nowhere.
Poor me I say, with little tears a dripping down my cheeks.


It was late evening, the 10th of September.
I was sitting at the drawing table, searching, searching for a key that had been missing for many months.
Finally, here it was, right here in front of me.
I grasp the key between my thumb and index finger and then inserted it into the ironwear, which had shackled me for oh so long.
It fit,
I turned the key and ….
And the ball and chain was thankfully now released.

Hmm…..
Now what I wondered?

I recalled a local fishing guide, Jeff Sundin, from Minnesota’s Deer River area, telling me not long ago, that if it was “quality” panfish I was after, as well as numbers of walleyes, yellow perch and northern pike, I should look to Sand Lake to fill my creel and all of my desires.
Sand Lake is a 33,000 acre body of wondrous water that lies just to the northeast of Minnesota’s Lake Winnibigoshish. Sand is part of the Bowstring chain of lakes;
A series of lakes connected by the Bowstring River and all part of the Artic Ocean’s watershed, for the waters of these lakes start the drain to the north from our continent’s divide.

Hmm…..
Jeff Sundin also told of nice place for Mrs. Luc and I to quarter ourselves while enjoying the wonders of these scantly people populated north woods. Driftwood Resort was the name of the place he mentioned. Driftwood, he told, is owned and operated by a very pleasing and accommodating couple, Chris and Stacy Olson.

I picked up the phone and jeez, within a matter of only a few minutes, was once again locked in, only, this time I was locked in to a much needed vacation, a fishing vacation by gosh, good and far from the hustle and bustle of our beloved Windy.
It was the “off season” and Chris offered us a deal on the lodging. I said, “Thank You Chris!” I took the deal and immediately took to the gathering and stacking for the packing.

Just a week and a day later, Mrs. Luc and I were being greeted by our personable hosts, Stacy and Chris.
That local guide, Jeff Sundin;
He was all about being truthful.
Driftwood Resort and its cabins are as neat and quiet as described and the second cabin of six was absolutely perfectly comfortable for the two of us.
I would show ya photos of the interior of our cabin but I didn’t take any. Mrs. Luc did but not before we took up residence and believe me, you really don’t want to see those photos. Those pics are full of stuff; fishing gear stuff, craft gear stuff, food stuff, clothing gear stuff and then too, just the plain ole stuff of stuff itself.
Comfortably accommodating these cabins are.

The lake;
The lake is slightly amber colored as one might expect, has a clarity range of two to three meters or so and gets its name from its mostly sand bottom, which I thought was pretty nice when not losing so many jigs all the day long in rock piles but if ya like rocks, Sand has them too. Weed growth is good, comprised of bulrush in the shallows and then coontail and some cabbage growing out to about the ten foot line and then it comes to an abrupt edge.
Sand Lake’s water quality is reported by the MNDNR as being of excellent quality and I kinda liked reading that when making through my choosings.

The fish;
The lake is full of em.
Full of all kinds and again, this fact weighed heavily on our decision making in choosing a lake and an area that was entirely new to us.

A couple things were important to me;
First, I needed a diverse fishery for Mrs. Luc’s sake. She is not one to climb out of a warm sack at daybreak on a cool morning in the northwoods just to take part in a fish bite when she knows darn well that there are fish that will bite during the late morning and early afternoon just as well as some do at or just before daybreak.
So, of course, we needed pike and panfish water to compliment those all so beautiful golden sided low light biters.
Can ya imagine?

Too;
It being just her and I, I looked to a place that wasn’t too far from civilization so as if she needed one of those fixes, like shaahhpping ya know, then civilization wasn’t out of the question too far away.

Oh, the fish.
Walleyes absolutely galore.
Jumbo yellow perch.
Bullheads, and I know what closet bullheaders each of you secretly are.
My momma didn’t raise no dummies.
Holdouts!
How bout northern pike? Like em?
There’s so many pike in Sand that the DNR has set a nine fish limit on them just to get rid of a bunch. Lots of hammer handles there are, for picklers and soupers and chowder lovers, fun catching those wild crazy things I say.
Crappies are in there and some real nice ones I’m told but I couldn’t find the biters.
Sunnies, oh yeah, sunnies like you and I only wish we had growing around here. You will see Mrs. Luc’s in the slide show that beat the heck out of any bluegill I have ever seen before. She always does that stuff to me; out fishes me so bad she makes me look just like I should take up another obsession.
I guess when it comes to fish in Sand Lake, it’s got em!

So how did we do and how did we do it?
Well, sad to say, we didn’t get any of those wonderful bullheads that a couple other aged anglers were nailing in their walleye hole one day.
We didn’t get any crappie either but I didn’t spend all that much time in the hunt for them, mainly, I guess, because they seem to like to feed at the same time those pretty golden sided fish like to feed.
The golden sided fish? Everywhere and everywhere they were. During the low light hours and on the windy cloudy days, they were up on top the humps. During the bright of day, we caught them from off the edges of the structure and hanging low to the lakes bottom. Many of the fish had already moved to the onshore weed cover though and we caught em along the weed edges just as well.
We pulled cranks, we pulled rigs, we drifted with crawler harness and drifted with minnows hook up on Roach rigs. We pulled Big Ole Mamma Jamma Hootchie Momma rigs strung through crawler noses and yes, they caught walleyes.
We jigged a whole bunch cause that’s just flat out fun in deeper water and boy did we ever have the fun with them. Jigs were all tipped with minnows, just plain ole big flathead minnows, nothing fancy.
I think we were in the in between on the seasonal preferences by getting our fish both on crawlers and on minnows and both from offshore structure and from the weeds.
Just Luc-y I think maybe.

The panfishing was a hoot.
It’s hard to not concentrate on just the pannies when they come of such nice size and extraordinary beauty. Pumkinseeds are primary in these waters but boy did we ever get into some nice bluegills.
Did I tell ya about that one bluegill that Mrs. Luc caught that’s in our freezer now waiting for a trip to the fish stuffer’s shop?
Oh MY!
We caught panfish on things under slips and by means of dragging jig-n-plastics. We tipped with stuff sometimes and sometimes we didn’t. We cast mini-cranks and we trolled them at times. Most everything worked.

Pike were along the weed edges eating our things all the time and they were hanging along the bottom of offshore humps to eat our walleye offerings as well. We didn’t target pike, there was no need; they were going to bite no matter.
Pike came in bunches, mostly hammer handles but I had the thrill of doing great battle on light line with one mid thirty incher that took me for a ride for a good long while and did the run under and around the boat stuff a few times before coming to hand.
Had one of those big gators make a swipe at one my golden walleyes just as I was about to hand land it. Whew!

Ok, enough;
The tree's colors were on the change with the maples and birch leading the way on the color front; maples in all shades of red and the birch complimenting the pallet with golden yellows.
The weather was so so nice; I just wish you could have been there too.

Well,
Somehow I know I have kept you too long.
Thank you for your time.
Any


A Couple photos:

http://www.chitown-angler.com/2fish/displayimage.php?album=1734&pid=30291&slideshow=5000

Please have a gander at Chris and Stacy's
Driftwood Resort:

http://www.driftwoodresort.net/

Thank you Jeff Sundin:

http://www.jeffsundin.com/

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Last edited by Any Luc on 08:38pm - Sep 29,09, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: 08:34pm - Sep 29,09 
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:shock: Simply AMAZING!! Bill, your pictures are breath taking to say the least! I've seen the sign for Sand on the way to Bemidgi with DWF, but never knew it was that big of a body of water.

Quality fish & sunrise/falls like you had are the things dreams are made of. 8)~ Thanks for sharing!

P.S... "Pike were along the weed edges eating our things all the time and they were hanging along the bottom of offshore humps to eat out stuff too. We didn’t target pike, there was no need; they were going to bite no matter."

That's why we like to refer to them as..."Pure Gangsters"! :lol:

Chas

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Last edited by Chas E. on 08:39pm - Sep 29,09, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Posted: 08:37pm - Sep 29,09 
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Wow!!! Great post and pics Bill.

Looks like you and Mrs.Luc had a wonderful time.
That gill is a mounter for sure.

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Post Posted: 01:46am - Sep 30,09 
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Well, I gotta say I knew it was gonna be good before you left but not that good. Almost to the point of being spoiled. :P
Any estimate on how many gold pieces you and Mrs. caught?
You never get to go, but when you do, everything lines up for an unforgettable time.
Great tale.

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Post Posted: 04:26am - Sep 30,09 
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We were working the weedline the first couple days and getting fish but that can be some work trying to keep right on that edge without fouling the cranks or rigs.
A couple days in we took to working wind blown points and would each pick up fish on pretty much every pass. Then about Wednesday morning I happened across the mother load on offshore humps and from then on it was jig-a-jig-jig with Northland Fireballs on top in 13 and along the base edges in 18 to 20'. From that point on we never left our fish to go find fish. I don't know how many we caught. It took some time to get the wait after the tick count down and that was mostly a count of 11. At 11, we could close the bail, take up the slack, feel their weight and then snatch their snoots.
Oh man,
that feels good even now just to relive it.
Mrs. Luc had it all down pat. She's a good jigger gal.
We didn't get any real big fish and only kept our limit on the final day for freezing but many, many locked the rod on the hookset and that's a good feeling anytime ya get it.

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Location: Not quite over the hill, but has a breathtaking view from the lofty perch.

Post Posted: 04:53am - Sep 30,09 
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With a trip that good on the soft waters, wsj would bet some GPS waypoints were locked in for the upcoming ice season. Very nice tale Any, sure glad ya found the key.
What was the average size gill that liked you offerings, the one pictured sure is a handful.

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Post Posted: 06:22am - Sep 30,09 
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You've done it again Any. Glad to hear ya found some time to get away.

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Post Posted: 09:21am - Oct 1,09 
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Thanks, Bill. That was a great tale and it hit especially close to home. You see, I spent most every summer of my youth on that lake and it is a very special place. The property owned by my relatives is also the final resting place for my mother's ashes, along with an aunt, two uncles and a cousin.

I wish I had known you were heading that way; I would have been more than happy to share some hot spots. In fact, the "mother lode of offshore humps" that you found is probably the same one that sits in the center of the cove where the family cabin is.

When you posted that teaser photo of the beautiful trees silouetted against the lake, I said to myself "that looks alot like the cabin on Sand Lake". I never imagined that it would turn out to be the exact same lake! Congrats on a successful trip, sir. I sincerely appreciate your sharing of the tale.

Jerry
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Post Posted: 12:44pm - Oct 1,09 
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I knew it was going to be worth the wait.

Thanks again as always my friend.


Tom

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Post Posted: 01:36pm - Oct 1,09 
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Always amazing........Thanks for sharing your fine tale.

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Post Posted: 01:46pm - Oct 1,09 
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Great story.


Jerry, that must have brought back some memories reading such an eloquent story about one of your childhood fishing haunts with so much family history.

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Post Posted: 05:10pm - Oct 1,09 
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Runnin' Bare wrote:


When you posted that teaser photo of the beautiful trees silouetted against the lake, I said to myself "that looks alot like the cabin on Sand Lake". I never imagined that it would turn out to be the exact same lake!
Jerry
Runnin' Bare


Amazing.
One day next spring, I'll have to come up and spend a morning on your craft so as we can both talk about this marvelous piece of water. I sure do like your little piece of Heaven.

-----------------------------------------

wsj;
Those panfish were all of the type that make ya go, Oh My! with each and every one ya bring to hand.
They are so so pretty.

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Post Posted: 08:36pm - Oct 1,09 
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What a wonderful tale. What a beautiful area it is....

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Post Posted: 12:51pm - Oct 2,09 
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Bill,

I would be honored to have you come up for a day of fishing and fish tales. Let's do it! Now I have to see if I can dig out some of my old photos...

Jerry
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Post Posted: 06:09pm - Oct 2,09 
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Splendid story and pics Any. Thank YOU for YOUR time.
I think that gill was 11 inches no matter which way you put him on the ruler- :D

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Post Posted: 07:45pm - Aug 18,11 
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I gotta look for and find that key before I go nuts.
This hammer just has to find a place to sit and rest awhile, for my monofilament is getting all dry rotten right on the line winders.
Sheesh!

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Post Posted: 08:44am - Aug 19,11 
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Wow what a great story and the pics are amazing. You (or Mrs Luc) have a real eye for angles and light. So did you ever mount the gill?

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Post Posted: 10:26am - Aug 19,11 
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what a great find!im calling for a reservation this am sounds like just the place to spend a week with my son on a combo fish duck hunt. great story mr.luc thanks!
dd

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Post Posted: 06:37pm - Aug 19,11 
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dylanapollo wrote:
Wow what a great story and the pics are amazing. You (or Mrs Luc) have a real eye for angles and light. So did you ever mount the gill?


Thank you; Mrs. Luc doesn't think much of my photographs. She has this thing about photos that don't have people in them.
Her bluegill is on the wall.

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Post Posted: 07:29pm - Aug 19,11 
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Any Luc wrote:
Her bluegill is on the wall.

Nice to hear your first wife has something to keep you in line with. 8)~

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