A few weeks ago I shoved off to Minnesota to achieve two goals: Fish with my old buddy Dave James who lives in St. Paul and who I haven’t seen in over a year, and top the 36-inch muskie (my first ever) that I caught in the last “Hook Shots” episode of 2011. The plan was to set up camp on Mille Lacs Lake with guide Steve Scepaniak, who had been slaying muskies all summer during the crazy heat wave Minnesota had been suffering through. Of course, I show up and so does a cold front, which turned what I’d hoped would be a slamfest (meaning like 6 fish in a few days…we’re talking muskies here) into yet another bout of working lures until your arms went numb and hoping and praying for an eater. So did I top my 36-incher despite the conditions? As a matter of fact I did, but not without some nerve-racking shifting on the fly and a lot of luck and some help of wild card guide Josh Stevenson. Enjoy the ride.