James Lindner (left), executive director of Linder Media Productions, holds a 20-inch Lake Mille Lacs smallmouth basswhile hosting Staff Sgt. Dave Angell of the Minnesota National Guard and David Munsinger, Air Force veteran, lastFriday during fifth annual Trolling for the Troops. The Camp Ripley event pairs 30 soldiers and 30 veterans with 30professional guides for a day of fishing on the Mississippi River or an area lake. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls)Gallery and Video
Jimmy Lindner rolled into the Garrison access on Lake Mille Lacs Friday andtook one look at the white caps."We have a pretty substantial wind event here," he said. "Let's head to theother side of the lake."
In Jimmy's vehicle were Minnesota NationalGuardsman Sgt. Dave Angell and Air Force Veteran David Munsinger, both chosen to spend a day on the lake fishing with Lindner, executive director ofLindner Media Productions.
This was the 5th Annual Trolling for the Troops event, which isheadquartered at Camp Ripley near Little Falls and pairs 30 active dutysoldiers and 30 veterans with 30 professional anglers who fish the MississippiRiver or area lakes.
After finding protected water, the anglers were offshore searching for thetarget species - "bronzebacks, "smallies" or, for the layman, smallmouth bass.They are fun to catch and the big ones often go airborne before being boated.
Angell said he loves to fish his small metro lake near his home in Maple Grovebut smallmouth bass have never been his focus. He had only caught one bassin his life and that was a largemouth.
This was different, he said - they were targeting smallmouth on Mille Lacswith Lindner.
In the other seat was Munsinger, of Park Rapids Air Force vet who suffered astroke 15 years ago, which caused paralysis in the right side of his body. Hewas using his M-Pow-R motorized fishing reel.
Lindner plied his boat into about 10 feet of Mille Lacs water and looked forboulders and humps that might hold smallies.
"The bite was hot last week but this week I think they are going to be littlefinicky," Lindner said.
The threesome tossed everything from top water Rapalas, wacky worms,offset rigs with a split shot on the bottom until finally Lindner tossed a brightpink Rapala just to shock them.
Adjust, Adjust, Adjust. Change depth and lures, reel in slow and fast. Try tofind the edges and the corners and what are they feeding on after spawning.The bite started soft and then things changed.
First a Mille Lacs walleye that had to be put back because of the slot limit.
Angell's heart was breaking as Lindner tossed the big walleye back.
All of a sudden Munsinger's M-Pow-R reel whined. Then Lindner's went, andalso Angell's.
Jimmy found the secret in the structure. The "smallies" were on.
The first one was close to 20 inches. Then came a second fish, and a third andso on. All the fish were in the 17 to 21-inch range.
"All big giants," Lindner said. "They are cookie cutter giants."
Pass after pass over the boulders and edges, the trio caught big smallies untilthey lost count. All the fish went back into the lake but the laughter and jokescontinued throughout the day.
"What time is it?" Lindner asked. "It's 2 o'clock. We have lots of time. Let'skeep fishing.
"I forgot we are parked on the other side of the lake and it's long way to CampRipley. How about a few more casts?"
According to Staff Sgt, Timothy Krouth, with the Camp Ripley Visitors Bureau,129 people went fishing including guides, veterans and soldiers.
"The water on Mille Lacs was a little rough but the fishing was outstandingand the company was great," Krouth said.
I started my career in photography after graduation from Moorhead State College withphotography positions at the Daily News in Wahpeton, ND. , Country Echo in Pequot Lakes,The Journal in New Ulm and settling at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1975. I have been teachingfine art black and white and color photography at Central Lakes College for the past 15years. Currently I have been teaching Underwater Photography for Central Lakes Collegeand the Minnesota School of Diving for the past 7 years. From May to November you canfind me at the Mineland Recreation Area either scuba diving and photographing the fish orenjoying the beauty of our area’s newest lakes.