Head guide of the past shows us how it's done!
Sep. 14, 2010
At Aikens, our full-time staff is a vibrant collection of students and young adults. They are a huge part of the "Aikens Experience" for our guests and lifelong friendships have been forged as a result. For those of you that have been to Aikens over the years, this is what will be of particular interest to you as you read this newsletter item! In late August and early September, the majority of our staff returns to civilization to get back into their studies. Our "September crew" is always a devoted, small, and fun crew. We often have a very relaxed month with fewer guests and fewer staff. It's a very fun time of year as the forest is changing color, that familiar chill in the wind starts to reappear, and the fish are getting fattened up for the long winter ahead. On the other hand, having a smaller crew in September opens the door for us to bring back names from olden days for short stints when times are busy. We had the opportunity to do just that this past week with a group of 33 heading into camp. We brought in a lot of of our ex-guides and girls back for the week. On the water, some of the names you would recognize include Marquis, Turbo, Rob Jounot, Andrew, and Trevor. Heck, even Pit, Pat, and Gerry were guiding. On the peninsula side, two of our past chefs Rachelle and Megan were back to help out wherever they were needed. There was definitely a "reunion" atmosphere at the lodge with all of our favorites back up for the week! Landing a day before the group arrived gave the guides the chance to scout Aikens and get reacquainted with their old mistress. Marquis guided for many years until 2000, and was our head guide in those last couple of seasons. Marquis (aka: Keester) is known for his quick wit, endless supply of jokes, and of course his fishing prowess! Marquis went out that first morning to see if he couldn't find some fish. He asked Pit if anyone had fished the tip of Trout Island. A puzzled look ensued. In all honesty, that spot probably hasn't been touched in the 10 years since Marquis was head guide! As the gentle waves pushed up against Trout Island, Marquis had found his money bite for the week! That afternoon, Marquis and a few others reeled in slot walleye after slot walleye. It is a small spot, and has quite a range of depths. The most successful depth was 38-42 feet. As the guests started to arrive the following day, the tip of Trout Island became the new hotspot. That said, everyone respected Keester's space and allowed him first dibs on it every day. He guided an absolute monster there on the 2nd day... 28" with a 15" girth (normal girth on a trophy fish is 12-13")! After having guided for those many years, Marquis finally has a spot on the lake to call his own! The North point of Trout Island is now known as Keester's Spot (POT = Point of Trout!). I am sure that the spot won't be overlooked any longer. As the week continued, the older guides brought back to life many of their favorite little spots. Pat guided a 38" pike on Colin's Cruise, while Turbo was able to one-up him on the final afternoon by guiding a 42"pike there as well. Pit found good bites on Banjo Reef, Rob was netting big fish on South Gull (he also landed a trophy there!) . It wasn't just the main lake that was hot... spots in the river were also hitting. Indian Nose was the most popular spot in the river. It is always special to welcome back members of the Aikens family. As our staff graduate from school and start careers and families, it's really cool to have the opportunity to keep in touch with them and bring them back to Aikens every now and then. The knowledge and experience that is handed down to current staff is invaluable. It is also great to be able to see where their lives have taken them since they last left Aikens as a full-time employee. Thanks to everyone who came in to help us out last week - it made for a very memorable time at Aikens! What a reunion!