Fishing with the old man can be productive

Jason Lesmeister got a chance to break away from Alaska to fish some Minnesota lakes and landed his personal-best walleye, a 29.5-inch beast that he caught on Lake Minnetonka. (Photo by Tim Lesmeister)

My son, Jason, has always been an outstanding angler. He has a knack for finding fish and always seems to know what they will bite on. He was a fixture in my boat from the time he could hold a rod until the day he headed off to Alaska.

His reason for choosing Alaska to create a home base and begin a career was due to his love of hunting and fishing. He felt if he was going to become a professional guide, he would want to be located on The Last Frontier. That was 24 years ago, and he is still successfully guiding in The Land of the Midnight Sun.

His guiding is mainly on the Kenai River for fishing, which means he is targeting rainbow trout and many different species of salmon. It’s moving water and his office is a drift boat. From the opener until mid-October, he puts in long hours, seven days a week. It’s a grueling schedule but he loves it. I attempt to get up there a couple of times a year to fish with him, but his schedule doesn’t offer him the opportunity to see the open water of Minnesota.

That changed recently when he brought his trusty Labrador retriever to the Twin Cities to have a surgery performed on the dog. During the dog’s recovery period, Jason spent as much time as possible on the lakes west of the metro area fishing hard. He told me, “I just want to see if I still have the touch when it comes to fishing pike, walleyes and bass.” Turns out, he did.

Jason convinced “the old man” to take him out on Lake Minnetonka, a body of water we have spent many hours on. “Where should we go?” He asked me right after we dropped the boat in. “The Meister Hump,” I replied. “The Meister Hump.”

Back in 1987, when I lived on Minnetonka, I discovered a small hump right in the middle of the main basin near Big Island. This hump wasn’t on any maps and it was very productive. It was always a challenge to find by lining up shoreline markers, but now it’s plain to see on GPS sonar maps, so we drove right to it.

On the first cast, Jason pulled in a huge crappie on a crankbait, so I tied on a Roadrunner jig tipped with a white twister tail.

We caught loads of fish – crappies, pike, bass, sunfish. It was spectacular fishing and you could see Jason was enjoying the fact that he was being guided by the old man and he could fish just for his pure enjoyment.

We had been on the hump for a few hours when our wives called and said they wanted us to pick them up in Excelsior for a boat ride. I told Jason to make one more cast and he planted that jig right on top of the hump. Two cranks of the reel and the big fish hit. It was a long fight. We saw the fish a few times before it would bulldog back down into the newly emerging vegetation, but we landed it – a 29.5-inch walleye, Jason’s personal best.

Jason is back in Alaska now and I will be there with him for much of the month of June. Between my forays to mountain lakes with my kayak chasing rainbows and lake trout I’ll squeeze in a trip or two on the Kenai. It’s Jason’s turn to put the old man onto some big fish there.

Categories: Blog Content, Tim Lesmeister, Walleye

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