BassWestUSA - March/April, 2011, Page 17

a guy in Wisconsin who packs a Weber grill as big as a Humvee in his Lund walleye boat, then at the stroke of noon, lowers a ramp from the bow to the bank, rolls that sucker onto the beach and res it up. Hot dogs? Forget about it! His menu consists of bacon- wrapped let mignon, braised asparagus with pineapple-mango chutney, Yukon gold potatoes stuffed with Gruyere and pancetta and a gooseberry tart for dessert. Normal bass shin’ nuts like you and I are content to wolf down a baloney sandwich while we keep on casting. But for my Midwestern pal, Shore Lunch is THE most important part of the shing experience. I live in the South, and I can assure you that Shore Lunch is a foreign concept in these here parts…for many excellent reasons. Reason #1 is 6 feet long with rattles on its tail. Reasons 2, 3 and 4 go by monikers like “chigger,” “redbug” and “tick” – and those aren’t the nicknames of guys in my bass club. And Reason #5 is that toothless hillbilly named Jed who’s lurking behind a tree in yonder woods with a shotgun, just waitin’ for you to come ashore so you ’uns can reenact the “squeal like a pig” scene from Deliver- ance. Last year I was invited on a press junket to northern Min- nesota by a company that manufactures Yankee-oriented sh- ing gear such as mosquito head nets, pinkie jigs and ice shing augers (now there’s a piece of equipment I bet you don’t have in your bass boat!). My hosts brought along two boats – one for shing out of, the other a cargo vessel containing all the neces- sary accoutrements for preparing Shore Lunch. The latter craft was commandeered by a rotund fellow named Barney, who wore a bright yellow rain slicker. “Barney’s the best dern Shore Lunch chef in the state,” the head of the company’s pinkie jig division assured me. “His pan-fried walleye is to die for!” Mmmm, fried

sh, fresh from the lake! This was sounding a lot better than a baloney sandwich! We spent the morning catching one walleye after another, then around 11 o’clock, Barney put the opping sh in a bucket and beached the provision boat on a pine-studded island. “You guys sh your way around the island and by the time you get back here, lunch will be ready!” he promised. So we resumed casting, leaving Barney to his culinary duties. I can still see him in that yel- low rain slicker of his, heading for a clearing in the woods while pulling a wagon containing that bucket of walleyes and a big box of cooking supplies behind him. As we slowly shed our way around the island, the aroma of sh frying in bacon grease wafted through the pines and nearly drove me insane with hunger. Finally, a few minutes before noon, we beached the shing boat next to the Shore Lunch Express. I‘m ashamed to say I knocked the head of the pinkie jig division down as I raced toward the clearing in the woods to chow down. But when I got there, the cooking site was a disaster. Barney’s cast iron skillet had been knocked to the ground and was empty. Those crispy, golden, fresh-caught walleye llets were nowhere to be seen. The big box containing eggs, butter, bacon, baked beans, fresh corn on the cob and such was ripped asunder, with only a few scattered shreds of the cardboard and Styrofoam containers remaining. And there, in the midst of all the mess, was a tattered yellow rain slicker – right next to a bear’s footprint. So take my advice, fellow anglers. If you’re out shing and hunger strikes, do not be tempted to go ashore for lunch, no mat- ter how appealing this idea may sound. Stay in your boat and play with your ice auger instead. BWU

March/April 2011