Last Fall I wrote about duck hunting with my friend Eric Passe. In that post I commented on how Eric knows a portion of the Mississippi river so well and has spent so much time hunting ducks there, that hunting with him is one of the great joys in life. The same goes for fishing, I have fished with Eric for a number of years and each time I go out with him I learn something new. Eric has such a perfect understanding of the river that almost every time I have been out there with him we have come home with a cooler full of fish.
Eric has caught so many fish on the river over his lifetime that he can accurately tell you what kind of fish he has hooked into and about how big that fish is, right after setting the hook. On more than one occasion I have seen him set the hook and get a very serious look on his face and say, "whoa, this is a good one". Usually shortly after that he brings in a 29 or 30 inch walleye. Its kind of freakish sometimes. The last time we were out fishing was no exception. We put together a pretty nice day of fishing keeping 8 walleyes between 19 and 25 inches and we released a 28, and a couple of 26's. The 28 incher was the biggest walleye I have ever caught and it was only fitting that I caught it with Eric. You could probably even say that I caught it because of Eric. What was really great was that I have seen Eric catch no less that five 28 inch plus sized walleyes and as excited as he gets to catch one he was almost more excited that I did.
On that same outing we also had something happen that neither of us could believe. We both saw something in the water swimming right on the surface so we motored over to see what it was and as we got closer we saw that it was a squirrel. When the squirrel saw us it was out in the middle of the Mississippi river and appeared to have been swimming for some time. It swam right over to the boat and jumped right in the boat with us. It struggled to climb up on the side of the boat and then just sat there panting. It was clear that he was done and didn't care what we did to him. We drove to the opposite bank and when we got to about 10 feet away he ran to the front of the boat and jump back into the river and swam the rest of the way.
On my way home from that trip I had stopped and picked a few ramps and was tossing around the idea of trying some walleye wrapped in ramp leaves. That idea morphed into walleye wrapped in ramps and bacon. Very simply seasoned with salt and pepper, I cut the walleye into manageable pieces and then wrapped them in ramp leaves and bacon and then grilled them. These were perfect little bites of happiness.