THREE LAKES - There are several musky fishing leagues in the Northwoods. Near Three Lakes, they have an angler who is fishing competitively in his 80s.
10 years ago, John Schmidt found himself looking for an activity to keep busy. He decided on fishing - but not just any fish.
"Musky Fishing is a challenge and you're looking to catch that musky to overcome that challenge," Schmidt explained. "And the bigger the fish, the bigger the thrill."
At 83 years young, John is the oldest member of the Monday Night Musky League.
"We have a great bunch of competitors and we have a lot of fun," John adds. "When you hook 'em, they have more tricks than any fish that you could imagine. The antics that they go through to get loose from that lure, it's unbelievable."
Schmidt finds many ways to describe the thrill of the catch.
"Musky fishing is like, comparable to chasing attractive women and succeeding. This is like probably, Brett Favre throwing 6 touchdown passes. You can't match that adrenaline. Unless I saw Frank Sinatra (laughs) then I'd get an adrenaline rush also. But those are the olden days."
He and his fishing partner Gary Myshak, make quite a pair.
Myshak says, "To see him out here at this age competing every Monday night, and still fishes by himself catching muskies, gives me hope for when I get to his age that I'll still be able to do this."
Over the years, John's caught close to 100 muskies. But he says he doesn't have to catch one, to have a good time on the water.
"Many people say, how can you go out day after day after day and not catch a fish," Schmidt explains. "That's not the point. The point is when you catch the fish, that's what you're looking for."
Myshak chimes in, "when you've got a guy like Schmidty, it's always a good time, no matter if you catch a fish. This guy's a machine. He keeps moving and as long as you keep moving, you keep living."
"As long as I can stand up in a boat, I'll be out here chasing these, what I call freshwater sharks," says Schmidt.
MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life. "It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury. Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time. "When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury.
Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill. "As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi. After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change. "I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury. Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family. "Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi. Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born. "It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi.
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