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posted: 3/28/2012 2:12 PM

Towing the party line on neighboring fishing opportunities

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  • Video: Muskies and walleye action

  • Video: Bass on Butternut Lake


There may be quite a few out there who have never experienced a party-line telephone service.

In my household when I was a kid, we shared the phone line with two neighbors, and strange as it sounds we all got along fine.

Then a private line appeared, and happiness, privacy and smiles ruled the roost.

So now I use the term "party line" more to describe the huge number of people who have already juiced themselves up on Eau de Badgerland, or in more plain speak, cheesehead live bait for humans.

Once the good burghers of Wisconsin let the aroma out of the box and allow it to waft its way down here to civilization, anyone with a boat, a 45-year-old outboard motor and some fishing gear instantly succumb to the wiles of that temptress living just off the gravel roads.

Friend Roger kicks himself to this day for leaving his battered Lund fishing boat to the likes of some wayward one who is probably using the old hull as a one-room studio in Broward County, Fla.

It was that faded Lund that gave us freedom to run around on various Wisconsin lakes like a couple young fools just being told "all right kids, you can go in the water now after your lunch."

By the way, I never saw or heard of anyone having physical trouble in the water right after consuming two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Even the gaggle of docs I occasionally fish with question a mother's textbook wisdom of playing it extra safe; they claim, if you'll pardon the expression, it's all just an old wives' tale.

So here we are, a populace that has already been baked dry by a summer-like condition that tried its best to bench spring and call for its contract to be torn up.

Roger moved to Butternut Lake, a body of water that is not exotic enough to interest muskie guru Spence Petros. Butternut Lake is home to some 50-plus-inch toothers, but Petros can't be convinced to join me for a 400-mile (each way) ride to hook a brute or two and then feast on super club steaks and meat loaf.

I know it's all nonsense, but some wiseguys on the border have been ribbing me that state officials have erected a series of industrial-sized, monster fans that have been working overtime, blowing the sweet nectar of the north down to us.

Real or not, it's immaterial as far as I'm concerned. I refuse to admit to anyone across the border that I am easily manipulated to step over the line, so I pretend to have lost my way. And deep down in my never-resting brain, there sits a scenario of all of Illinois folks starving for that massive Tsunami of sweet outdoor air fresheners.

Don't deny it friends. We're all on the party line hungering for those exciting moment of freedom and tasty fish.

•Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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