Although not a recent happening, I have an adventure to share about one of the funniest fishing experiences I’ve had and hope you get a kick out of it.

In our area, the walleye season starts the first full weekend of May. Ice is just leaving the lakes and it can be a chore preparing the boats, gear etc for the opening. Therefore, not everything is always checked out and inspected well.

A group of us had been renting cottages at Cedar Point Resort in Hay Bay for many years. As we all know, it's an amazing walleye fishery and considered one of the best in the world! I’ll be honest; it’s more of a boy’s party weekend than about the fishing. There’s a fairly large group of us so we need 2 cabins and typically we do the shopping the night before we leave. Of course the biggest expense is beer and top on the list but the staples are also included but sometimes we forget stuff.

After a night of bon-fires, beer and harassing each other, the morning prep is basic and consists of a strong coffee and whatever is left-over. However, this year when we got up, we realized we forgot to buy coffee for the cabins and most were already out on the Bay. Needing a pickup and something hot, my friend and fishing partner Ken and I jumped in my boat and went to Pickerel Park to grab some. The intent was to find the others already fishing and give them coffee to be the nice guys. Ok – really we just wanted to see what was working and where, if at all, but that’s between us.

After a while of touring around and not finding them, we gave up and started fishing. Within no time, we had 2 walleye in the live well. Knowing we had enough fish for a shore-lunch later, although the coffee was cold by this time, we boated around and finally found the boys way down in the flats of Hay Bay.

As we're trolling alongside them, talking and harassing each other, I looked to the back of the boat and see a rat / squirrel / weasel like thing running across the deck. My brain couldn’t comprehend what was happening and as I pulled down my sunglasses, I said out loud..."is that a rat?!?"

It was at that moment, I noticed the rods were leaning against Ken’s leg as he sat in the side console. I immediately realized, I should have kept my mouth shut!

I started the trek towards him with a maniacal yet concerned look to grab the rods, knowing things were about to get crazier than a sack of rabid weasels. I hear Ken asking “A rat! Did you say a RAT!?!” as I quickly moved them out of the danger zone. I knew that as soon as he realized I did say “Rat!” he was about to bolt!

No sooner were they gone when he looks back and sees the critter. You could feel the tension between them as they locked eyes and my goodness....did he bolt!

Now let me digress here...Ken broke his back many, many years ago so his mobility isn't the greatest in small areas like a boat rocking in 3’ waves and wearing what my Dad called his “plastic socks” (leg braces)...but WOW, can he move when he needs too!

As water was coming over the transom where the critter was trying to blend in with the cables, it was very obvious that we were all surprised at the sight of one another. It was apparent the boat wasn’t big enough for the 3 of us and since we paid for the gas, we weren’t the ones about to go overboard.

As I continued to stare it down and move towards it, everything was in slow motion. I could tell it knew it was about to get wet and didn't want to go into the water. However, I was in a situation where there's no way it could stay.

Using my fishing rod and believe me, all 7’ 3” of its length plus my arm reach, I gave it a few little taps on the head. Finally, it jumped out. Our stowaway didn't look to have a lot of swimming experience with its first few strokes. It started doing what looked like a drunken dog paddle but alas, it was gone.

Now many people wouldn't believe this but thankfully my other buddies were still beside us, trolling in their boat. Of course, laughing hysterically and trying not to fall over-board themselves, they were enjoying the show and in disbelief of what was happening.

Immediately, Ken yells over to Hotch, one of our buddies in Doug’s boat, …“Hey, I wanna go in your boat. Hotch, let me in there and outta here. It figures, only this boat would have @#@#$ rats!!! “

Hotch yells back …”There's no way I'm going in that boat....they travel in 5's and I think that was the Mother! That means the Dad's still in there and he's gonna be pissed!!”

Doug then idles over to the critter that was by this time, swimming well and looking like a little furry Michael Phelps. He starts doing circles around it all the while pointing and yelling… "you're going the wrong way little feller....the boats back that-a-way!"

For the next hour, my Buddy wouldn't sit or relax. He's terrified of animals unless it's domesticated. So every 5 minutes, I had to humor him with jumping around the boat and opening the storage compartments looking for the other possible 4 left. All the while, I will admit I was hoping there wasn’t an angry Dad after all.

For the remainder of the morning, Ken kept saying "get me back to shore!" The best part and what made me laugh even harder was him repeatedly saying.....”When I looked at it, I realized it wasn't wet...that f*&@#!* thing was in here the entire time!”

In the end, I wouldn’t take him back and we caught the only 2 walleye in our group but before the rat-cident.

Is it possible this was a lucky critter?

…I should probably be going back to find it.