Photo provided

Johnny Haines and his 10-minute muskie.

Man, have I got a story to tell you, son. Last year, this ole redneck went out of the state of Florida for the first time in 25 years. I went up north to Wisconsin to run a restaurant in Hayward.

Well, I bought a boat and I bet my buddy I was going to catch a muskie in the first 30 minutes I started fishing the northern waters. Those of you who know anything about muskies will recognize this as a good bet to take, since many anglers go years before catching their first muskie.

Not having any idea what those guys use for bait up there, I figured a bluegill was the deal. My buddy harassed me, saying, “Nobody up here uses bluegill for bait; we all use sucker fish.” Figuring I’d never get one with the wrong bait, he made the bet that I couldn’t get one in 30 minutes.

He was right — I didn’t get a muskie in 30 minutes, I got one in 10. Henceforth they all gave me the nickname “The Legend from the South,” because I caught a muskie — the fish of 10,000 casts — in 10 minutes with a live bluegill for bait. They even ran an article in the Hayward newspaper.

I’ve caught many other fish up here — a 45-inch, 28-pound northern pike, a huge 9-pound bass, and countless others that I have photos of. I’ll always be a Southern man, but the fishing up here is so good I think I’m going to stay.

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