Let’s begin this Iowa Roadie adventure with a quick game of Family Feud.

Top 5 answers are on the board. Here is the question…

Things you pack when going on a fishing trip.

Top 5 answers…You likely answered a fishing pole or bait. Perhaps even a tackle box.

All respectable answers. But not the #1 answer.

THAT slot goes to…Alcohol.

(You’re kicking yourself for missing that one, aren’t you?)

There are two reasons that alcohol is required for a fishing trip.

1. You just want to kick back and enjoy the beauty of nature and the camaraderie of your buddies while drinking a cold one.

2. OR…(and this is the more acceptable rationale)…Alcohol numbs the frustration caused by fishing.

I know this second statement to be a fact. Because the Iowa Roadie & husband just returned from a week-long fishing trip to Mercer, Wisconsin. Let’s just say the fishing gods were not on our side.

ALSO… while I was casting, my new reel flew in the water (which was fortunately retrieved by my husband over a few choice words).

AND our boat sank.

Seriously. You cannot make this stuff up.

Luckily we were not in our boat at the time.

Instead, we were awakened by a Very Loud Pounding on our cabin door at 5 am. It was Troy & Julie, another couple at the lodge who were heading out for some early morning fishing when they noticed our boat was under water.

And…one of our brand new boat seats was floating across the lake.

How’s THAT for a morning wake up call? You can’t hit the snooze button for that one.

Without going into the gory details, I will say that after MUCH time & effort (aka…balancing precariously on the bow of the boat in our pjs while scooping water with a five-gallon bucket & running the bilge pump non-stop), we were able to unsink the boat.

Thank you to our cabin neighbors for sacrificing their morning fishing trip to rescue our boat… and seat…and life jacket. And really our all around sanity.

For the record…Good samaritan Troy caught a 48-inch muskie RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DOCK earlier in the week. He is the exception to my Fishing = Frustration theory as he probably enjoyed a celebratory drink.

It goes without saying that the Iowa Roadie & husband did NOT catch a four-foot fish. Therefore any cocktails we consumed were of the “Kill the Frustration” variety.

Despite our failure at fishing, all was not lost. We stayed in a cabin at Island View Lodge, a small lodge with its Very Own Dive Bar on site. Hosts Alex & Erin were awesome. The lodge featured possibly the only remote trap shooting game still in existence. It also hosts both a weekly trivia and bingo night.

Besides their infamous poutine burger, garlic curds & treats like tabletop smores, Island View serves…urine samples! These are yellow jello shots that look just like their namesake when a beaming Erin offers them to you on a giant tray.

They also come with a small wooden spoon. This is especially good for jello shot losers like myself who struggle to get the jello out of the little cup using only their tongue.

Let me emphasize…Alcohol should always be the REMEDY and not the SOURCE of frustration. Thank you Erin for that little win.

NOW even if we couldn’t find any fish, there is always a dive bar to be found in Wisconsin. So the Iowa Roadie & husband created a “Fish Ain’t Biting” pub crawl where we visited several other local pubs.

Besides Spotted Cow on tap, the common denominator in northern Wisconsin bars is Green Bay Packers memorabilia and a plethora of taxidermy fish on the wall.

One of our favorite finds–Antlers Pub in Mercer (open 365 days a year)–also had several deer antlers on display. With the Christmas lights hung from them, I can only hope Santa’s reindeer did not meet an unfortunate demise at the paws of a local black bear.

Because without Rudolph & crew, who else will deliver alcohol to all the frustrated fishermen?

Certainly not that 48-inch musky.

Island View Lodge hosts a fish fry every Friday night. Their slogan is “our fish is not from China.”

Nor was it caught by the Iowa Roadie.

As my husband says…when life gives you lemons, you can make a nice sauce for your fish.

OR… use those lemons & make a strong vodka lemonade instead.

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