Almost every Minnesotan has a good fishing story.
Now, out-of-staters and Wild assistant coaches Scott Stevens and John Anderson, have theirs.
Given the rare day off by head coach Bruce Boudreau, Stevens and Anderson, along with fellow assistant coach Darby Hendrickson, hit the waters of Lake Minnetonka on Thursday in Hendrickson's small boat.
The trio set their lines, hoping to catch a few bass over the course of the day. But Stevens, and as it turned out, the entire group, got a whole lot more than they bargained for.
A little over an hour into their venture, Stevens felt a tug at the end of his six-pound test line. He glanced over the side of Hendrickson's Lund boat and saw a 43-inch muskie swim by.
"He started heading out toward deeper water," Stevens said. "I saw the body go by and I knew it wasn't a bass. He started taking line out and I knew it would be tough, especially with six-pound test line."
But like hockey, Stevens, Anderson and Hendrickson relied on a team mentality to get the monster fish into the boat.
Stevens set the drag on his reel loose. Hendrickson, the boat's captain, moved the boat with the fish. Stevens cranked away slowly. Anderson waited with the net.
"I thought, 'There's no way we're going to land this with this line, not having a steel leader,'" Stevens said.
After 10 minutes, Stevens had the fish close enough to the boat for Anderson to pull out of the water.
And like that, the trio had a fishing story for the ages.
Ironically, it was Anderson who was most prepared to land a muskie. An avid fisherman, Anderson brought a special lure for the occasion.
"I knew there was muskie in that lake, so I brought this big lure, it was about eight inches long and I call it 'Big Mikey,'" Anderson said. "First thing I say is, 'Darby, that net is not big enough for the fish I am going to catch today,' and we all started laughing. Then there is Scottie, using his little [rubber] worm, who gets this huge muskie. I said, 'I hope it fits in this net.' It just barely did."
It was an opportunity for Hendrickson to share a truly Minnesota experience with Anderson and Stevens, both Toronto-area natives, something he said made the day even more special.
"They say it's the fish of 10,000 casts. Obviously, Scott placed it in the right spot," Hendrickson said. "You just didn't want to screw it up. We didn't want it to be that old fish story where the fish got away. This one, it didn't. That was a thrill for all of us."
For Stevens, it's made him anxious to get back on the water, and eventually the ice, in an effort to land his next big fish.
"I used to fish a lot more when I was younger. I haven't done it as much, but coming to Minnesota, I've had an opportunity with Darby and all the lakes close by," Stevens said. "It's been easier to get out a few times and I'm really starting to get the itch for it again. When you catch fish like that, it makes it more fun."