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.