On the second day of the meeting in Minneapolis we took an afternoon off to go fishing with some of our local customers on Lake Minnetonka.
When I first read about the fishing trip I was a bit meh… I used to fish as a child on our local canal and have memories of long miserable days of drizzle sitting on the side of the canal catching 1 or 2 half dead gudgeon about the size of my thumb and then traipsing off home as it got dark. Then someone told me we’d be taking a boat out on the lake and my interest increased, maybe I could just skip the fishing bit altogether and concentrate on socialising with colleagues and customers around the beer cooler. Ah, but then we heard that we’d be taking small boats out for the whole afternoon with a maximum of three people on the boat and I was straight back down to meh… again.
Anyway, we finished the morning meeting and headed off to the lake in a minibus loaded with beer, stopping first at Lord Fletchers for lunch, which for the record was so-so, I made the mistake of ordering a Greek salad which was really poor (although the evening meal there later was damn good). After we’d all finished up we headed down to the boats and got the first look of what we’d be going out on.
Damn, we were going to be pretty exposed and the day was glorious, barely a cloud in the sky, unseasonably warm and I’d brought no suntan lotion, ah well, let it do its worst! (the pic above was actually taken after we got dropped off at dusk)
I paired off with an American colleague and one of the customers, loaded the boat up with beer and we headed out onto the lake with me sitting on the high front seat which made me feel like I was balancing on a bar stool at the front of the boat. Anyway, we cracked open some beers and sat back to enjoy the sunshine as we headed out onto the lake.
It turns out that lake Minnetonka is a little odd, it’s pretty huge in total but it’s made up of a large number of smaller bays that are interconnected by narrow channels, I think I read somewhere that it has 175 miles of shore but at its widest point it’s never more than about a mile across.
He took it easy as we pulled away from Lord Fletchers and through the channel to crystal bay but as soon as we’d cleared the buoys the captain opened it up and I was in for a shock as the front of the boat raised up and we set off skipping across the lake with me desperately trying to clutch on to the bottom of the seat to prevent me from bouncing out, trying to wedge my feet in the two corners of the boat to push me into the seat at the same time as holding my beer and trying to stop my cap from blowing off (later I heard that my boss lost his coat and blackberry on the initial burst, he’d just taken it off and it blew straight out of the boat, fortunately the boat behind saw it happen and picked it up before it sank..). The boat absolutely flew, apparently it could get up to 70mph but the speed limit on the lake is 45 mph, I can’t tell you how fast we were actually going but if you’d asked me at the time I’d have sworn it was 150mph, I was terrified.
After a minute or so he let off the throttle and as we came to a stop in the middle of the lake he got out the fishing tackle and set us up one by one with a rod complete with a dangling earthworm at the end.