The S&M weekend takes place the second weekend of October with the base camp located on the outskirts of Cable, Wisconsin. Contrary to the porn sites that might want to pick up this story, the S stands for Steelhead and the M for Muskies. The Steelhead are fished exclusively on the Brule River and the Muskie on the numerous lakes, flowages and rivers surrounding the world renowned area for this species. The timing is just right for the last feeding periods of both of these elusive fish before the North Woods becomes quiet and is blanketed in deep snow and brutal temperatures. The annual event provides the chance for a bunch of old codgers to once again interact with the woods, the water, and the wit of both the fish and the individuals involved. The cast of characters has remained the same over the years and for this story I will change the names of the individuals to protect their privacy.

The cabin, crafted of both full scribe log and post and beam is a work of art. The sauna is located off to the side and serves as a end of day relaxation destination for tired bodies, bones and beverages. The biffy is attached and has a unique electric peat moss burning toilet that renders waste to ash. The fact that there is no running water in the complex makes the experience that much better. We know we will have to find this essential item in order to survive the weekend and we have become experts in finding clean, fresh water (the grocery store in town has large jugs of spring water). The top floor is living accommodations and the lower level is the kitchen. We are fortunate to meet there each year.

The cast of characters is as follows:

Bob is the owner and keeper of the cabin. He is the true muskie hunter in the group with a love for exploration. Bob loves the drives along the fire roads to new locations almost as much as the hooking, landing and outsmarting of his pal the muskie. He is an avid trout and smallmouth fly angler and has little time or need for the steelhead. His nimble wit often takes the group by surprise and can lead to the uncontrolled laughter we so much enjoy. Bob is an educator of our children and a talented craftsman.

Jim is the main organizer of this outing. He provides all of his friends with healthy food to eat for the weekend and will not accept payment. He does the cooking, makes the lunches and is the keeper of time. Without these tasks being done the group would have no clear direction and shuffling would be prevalent. Jim is a relentless fly angler and along with Bob and myself went to college at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls and began fly fishing on the Kinni. Jim mainly fishes trout, smallmouth, and steelhead on the fly and will occasionally fish for muskie if steelheading sucks. His focus is is unmatched on the water which is essential to being a successful steelheader, he will not relent until he has accomplished his goal. He is wise in the setting of his goals and almost always achieves them. Jim is one of three(3) engineers/statisticians in the group and highly regarded in his field. Jim has kept logs and stats of almost all of his fly fishing experiences. He is the true keeper of all of our stories, without this information many of the memories would be lost.

Doug is one of the most talented fly anglers I know. In a short time he has taught himself to become a fish catching machine. He is a deep thinker, a quick learner, and an accurate problem solver. The dry fly is his passion and he will fish for anything at anytime. Doug has explored more water in this country than most could cover in a lifetime. He is humble and refuses to provoke anyone in the group. When it comes to fishing decisions Doug can often be heard saying “I don’t care, I’ll do what you all do”. Doug owns his own business and is from what I understand responsible for mentoring Jim and Dan in the ways of statistical Quality control.

Dan is Jim’s older Brother and the newest to fly fishing in the group. He is also an engineer and a manager. Dan has learned quickly with the fly rod. He learns by listening, watching and asking questions and then doing which are all the keys to quick success in this sport. Dan complains about nothing and interjects in discussions with scalpel like precision causing all of us to think about what we just said.

I am the prankster in the group. I’m the guy with the bad hair and the funny hats that make them laugh. I am the provoker of thought, barraging my friends with questions and ideas that come from the other side of the brain. I am also the seeker of information about why we are who we are, solely to help me better understand people. I will fish for anything and usually spend 2 days steelheading and one day muskie fishing with Bob regardless. My friends will add anything that I’ve left out on the comments portion if they see fit.

In conclusion, we all love to fish. The group dynamics is complicated and enjoyable. There is always enough banter, beer and bullshit to keep everyone honest. We will continue to solve the problems of the world at an accelerated pace in comparison to those in power, and strive to catch both of these elusive beauties from the underwater world.

I have learned after a few of you have emailed me that it was a tough weekend on the Brule. I am awaiting pictures and stats from the weekend for tomorrows report. I will write the report regardless and add the photos later if necessary.