I am a big guy who is currently getting bigger for each week we continue to be in lockdown. However, this post isn’t about my new diet whereby I fish more, eat what I want and lose eight (Damn I wish that existed though!) No, this post is about a very special boat. A Lund Big Fisherman 14 powered by a Johnson 25 horsepower 2 stroke engine, circa 1988.
My brother Dave had been working his tail off at Sears Canada for a few years during the summer, my Grandma got him the gig. The summer of his 16th year he saved every penny and eventually went a purchased the Big Fisherman. For whatever reason she never had a fancy nickname – no Flying Scotsman, Bass Baby or HMS Fishless. From the beginning and for as long as I can remember she was just “The Lund”. She was a special boat who we spent countless hours in. I fished in that boat for some 20 years and she treated me well as she did my brother, countless friends and family members. By the end her seats were frayed, the engine took a few more pulls to start but she still ran true and solid.
When Dave first got the boat, it opened a whole new world for us on Balsam Lake. For many years we were relegated to fishing with my Dad in his boat or taking out the old 12-footer with a 4 HP Evinrude. With the Big Fisherman and those 25 horses we really started to explore. We found new spots, caught more fish and even tried to have shore lunches (we weren’t very successful, most consisted of hot dogs and beans), In the early days I was relegated to passenger, most times riding at the very front of the boat with Dave driving and cousin Cameron in the middle. Overall I credit this new found freedom with making me a better angler. With the ability to explore and not just drift in my Dad’s usual places (He was a drift and dunk kind of guy) we started trying to fish for specific species, learned new tactics and overall started to try to identify areas and structure that would be good for bass or walleye or musky. I used my first Texas rigged worm, spinnerbait, jerkbait and bucktail in the Lund. It was good
While the Lund was a beast we did learn the hard way that it wasn’t infallible. At this stage we are in our early 20’s, living on our own and generally making day or the odd weekend trip to the trailer Trailer Park Boy On this day my brother, his roommate Nucc and I headed to the trailer for an afternoon of fishing. As we pulled into my parents lot we noticed a heavy wind. My Dad mentioned that the lake was rough and that we may want to chill and have a coffee .We decided that we would head out but stick close the the docks and not test the main lake. We ventured down to the dock and as we prepared to launch, we could see the whitecaps rolling along. We decided to do the practical thing and stay close to shore and in the two bays close to the dock and out of the wind. Just as we rounded a point (which exposed us briefly to the larger waves) on one of the bays someone got snagged. As we stopped the boat to try to free the impeded lure the back of the boat briefly faced the wind. As the waves pounded over the back Dave quickly started to try to bail and course correct. I will never, ever forget when 30 seconds later he exclaimed “Boy’s grab your sh#% we are going down” The boat full of water in the back pitched, rolled and we all went over the side. Thankfully we were close to shore and the water was warm. We floated, swam and pushed the boat towards a nearby beach. The owners of the beach we washed up on quickly came out, helped us ashore and pull the boat onto the sand. We were fine, the Big Fisherman was fine but we learned a valuable lesson - listen to Dad.
I wrote an entire post about Dave’s cottage purchase Cottage Post so I won’t rehash it. Needless to say when Dave went to Portage Lake the Lund followed. The Lund was a perfect fit for Portage as it was a small lake and pretty much no matter where you were the 25 HP would get you back to the dock in under 5 minutes. Portage had a healthy population of musky and in the Lund is where I first got hooked by the musky bug. For the most part we had two tactics – move slowly along the shoreline casting bucktails or crankbaits Muskie Stealing to visible shoreline structure or trolling with big cranks and spoons. The Lund handled it well and my first every musky came over her gunnels, along with a bunch of personal bests. I bought new lures, rods and reels but the Lund, she stayed the same, she got slimed on a regular basis and wore it well. Once again the Big Fisherman was a part of my voyage to new angling heights (the bar was pretty low, still is, I kind of suck)
The Lund is with someone else now. Eventually Dave sold the cottage, the boat got used for day trips and such but mainly she sat parked in his garage. My Dad replaced his old fiberglass boat in 2008 with a Tracker Tundra with a 150 HP Optimax and that became the boat of choice. I am not sure if she is still in operation but I really hope so. The Big Fisherman provided me so many years of fun, exploration and fishing firsts I really hope she can do the same for someone else. Bless you Lund and Bless you Dave for working hard, buying the Big Fisherman and taking your little brother along for the journey!