Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For July 9th, 2010 Edition.

The sport of fishing, like many other activities, creates a treasure trove of memorable memories for those among us that indulge in favored activities. Using the sport of fishing as an example, certain extended trips to distant fishing locations nearly always creates many lasting memories, some pleasurable, some not so pleasurable. Also, certain days on the water, or certain catches provide anglers with memorable mental images.

A single cast on a single day can produce a memory so vivid it remains forever etched in ones brain in Vista-Vision, Living Color and High Definition! For your reading pleasure I offer up the following memorable casts!

The "boathouse roof cast" took place in August of 1968 on Tenderfoot Lake in Vilas County.

My companion that day - and producer of the aforementioned cast - was Wes Pavalon, the CEO and President of the newly created Milwaukee Bucks NBA basketball team. The day was hot and our relentless casting for musky had so far proved to be fruitless. To decrease the boredom Wes suggested the two of us engage in a casting contest.

Shortly into the contest we were passing a boathouse owned by a high-profile member of the Wisconsin Conservation Commission. Wes suggested each of us see how close we could cast our bucktail to the edge of the boathouse roof. I tossed first, but missed the target by a good three feet. My friend chuckled and unleashed a mighty cast, which went a tad too far.

In fact, Wes' bucktail landed on the far side of the peak of the roof, which was shingled with cedar shake shingles! Naturally the treble hooks became firmly embedded in the soft cedar shingles. Both of us laughed like wild hyenas, resulting in the sound of a screen door closing with a bang from a mansion behind the boat house followed by an irritated sounding voice that asked, "What in H-ll is going on down there?" It was time to "get out of Dodge City!"

Wes broke his line, leaving a Marathon Musky Killer bucktail attached to the boathouse roof! I frequently wondered what the roofers thought when the cedar shakes needed to be replaced or repaired!

The "bird nest cast" took place in June of 1972.

Bill & "Billie" Smith were casting weedless hooks baited with chubs in quest of bass along the boggy shoreline in the northeast bay of Jute Lake in Vilas County. The object was to place the delicious chubs as close to the undercut bank as possible, a task requiring much skill or luck. Mrs. Smith was a masterful caster using her old Pflueger Supreme reel, while her husband was still trying to master his new Ambassador 5000 casting reel.

Bill put just a tad too much wrist in one cast that resulted in his lively chub ending up in a bushy clump of buck brush several feet beyond the waters edge.

Our first hint of major trouble took form as a screaming red wing blackbird that began to dive bomb our boat. As I backed the boat ever closer to the entangled line the frequency of the dives and the volume of the bird's screeching increased. With mother blackbird darting around Bill's head he reached into the tangle of buck brush to free his line. The surprise in Bill's voice and the substance of his statement touched off wild laughter from Billie.

"Judas Priest - my chub's flopping around in a nest full of eggs!"

I quickly rowed away from the angry blackbird and the dive bomb attacks near Bill's head finally ceased - but the laughter from the middle seat did not. Bill's response to his wife's giggling was pure classic!

"I'll sure be glad I won't hear you laughing at my funeral." Billie stopped laughing and I began!

The "cedar tree cast" took place in late May of 1973.

Don and Marianne Capoccia were hunting for a musky. They were pounding the water of Iron Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It was a beautiful spring day, yellow marsh marigolds smiled at us from the shoreline, a variety of songbirds serenaded our passage and Old Sol warmed our bodies. We were following a weed line along the north shore when a loud splashing sound originating beyond the next point reached our ears. I picked up the rowing pace to investigate.

Just inches from the shoreline were a large female musky and two smaller males engaged in the act of spawning. Don's eyes widened as we watched the five star show before us.

"Do you think one will hit my lure if I cast near them?" asked Don. I assured him none of the three were currently interested in eating. But Don just had to try his luck.

At the time Don's rod was armed with a rather large Crazy-Crawler lure, weighing about a half-pound and containing several large treble hooks. Don's unblinking eyes were riveted upon the slowly cruising trio of musky and he failed to notice a very large cedar tree that angled out over the water exactly over the muskies! Even as he cast - his eyes never left the three fish - so naturally he was surprised when his lure did not land in the water.

The lure was firmly embedded in the crown of the cedar tree and after I cut his line with my knife it may well still be the only Christmas ornament on a cedar tree at Iron Lake.

The "last cast musky" took place in June of 2000.

Tom Smith, (son of Bill & Billie), and his wife, Pam, were bone tired from pounding the waters of the Manitowish Chain of Lakes in Vilas County for nearly seven fruitless hours. Both had put their rods down as I maneuvered my boat with the aid of my trolling motor towards the landing site. But I encouraged Tom to "Take a shot at that little weed patch just to the left of the landing."

Tom's bucktail had hardly hit the water when a mighty swirl engulfed his lure. The battle was conclusively won by the angler and after a photo was snapped the 43-inch musky was tenderly released to fight again another day.

All's well that ends well, especially memory makers!

Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin.   Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean,  both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide.   Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email:  or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.

Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here

Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger

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