In this world, there are great men who have excelled at many callings. Some are great statesmen who lead their nations. Some are fantastically talented musicians, artists, teachers and such who, like a moth drawn to a flame, follow their muse.

Me? I’m pretty great myself. At what, you ask? Well, like that same moth drawn to a flame, I am one of the world’s greatest experts at embarking on wild goose chases.

Let someone glibly slip out that they know a piece of woods where you have to constantly duck your head to avoid flushing ruffed grouse and I will hike 6 miles into the hinterlands to reach said piece of woods, regularly returning with a pocketful of unfired shells, aching bunions and a desire to permanently maim the aforementioned informant.

Same goes for hidden potholes so full of ducks that any new arrivals have to perch in a tree to wait for an open space of water in which to fit. Ditto for fabulous forgotten spring ponds and creeks with brook trout the size of muskies there for the taking by any intrepid angler with dreams of returning as a local hero from a magical piscatorial pursuit.

I could go on and on about the millions of wild goose chases I have been on, but without the space a respectable historical tome requires for a complete and truthful telling, I’ll simply skip to my latest forgettable foray.

Last week, while hoisting a cool one at Buster’s Emporium, a self-proclaimed reliable source of fishing information sidled up to me, held up an empty mug and whispered that for the price of a refill, he would tell me of a hidden gem where an ambitious angler could haul in enough lunker bass in an hour to fill a full-sized tanker truck generally used to haul propane gas.

A sucker for such reliable information, I listened intently as one Hector Goodnight laid out the route for me to follow if I wanted to fish his secret spot. That information was only given after he had taken a generous “swig” of his brew that drained half of a quart-sized mug.

With a wink of his eye and after extracting a solemn vow from me to never even hint of the place to anyone else, he told me how to get there. The directions went something like “You take dat road outta Sayner headin’ north fer 18 miles — not 17, not 19, but 18 perzactly.”

He added “Then you sorta drift off to the right on a two-rut goat path you’ll see that runs in the general direction of Land O’ Lakes. Stay on that for 400 hunnert yards and then, you’ll be there. Got a nice landing there which you can bick into wit’ your boat.”

There was one final parting shot he added. “Sonny boy, you might still be wet behind the ears a leetle bit, but even you ought to ketch at least a dozen 5-pounders.”

After providing him with another of those giant mugs filled with his favorite Milwaukee canned pop, which he drained in two draughts, I was on my way. Here’s how it went.

His 18 miles turned into 34 miles without seeing so much as a hint of a two-rut goat path sorta drifting off to the right. I finally saw a sign that said Watersmeet, Mich., 1/4 mile. Having only to run over one small patch of popple saplings to get turned around, I headed back.

Twelve miles north of Sayner, I finally found the goat path. Four hundred yards turned into 2 miles of a jungle of alder brush, young maples and blackberry bushes before I finally glimpsed a little blue through a slight opening in a jack pine plantation.

With inches to spare on each side of the vehicle, I idled toward the lake, if you could call 20 acres of weed-covered water a lake, carted my kayak down a 100-foot steep slide he had advertised as very gentle and set out with some misgivings to find all those 5-pound bass.

Believe it or not — and this is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth — on my very first cast I hooked into a good fish. After a tussle, I brought aboard a nice 18-inch largemouth, not a 5-pounder, but a nice fish nonetheless.

After three more hours of circling the pond, making endless casts, trying every lure I owned while soaking fat nightcrawlers at the same time, I finally gave up any thought of catching just one more minnow-sized bass, much less a 5-pounder. Then 10 yards from the “landing,” I finally caught another, a whopper of a 10-inch bass.

Worn to a frazzle, mad as a wet hen at myself for being foolish enough to listen to the likes of Hector, much less spending a $20 bill on his two mugs of liquid refreshment, I solemnly swore that never again would I even think about departing on another wild goose chase.

Then on an impulse, I stopped at Buster’s on the way home for one of those giant mugs of liquid refreshment myself. Another thoroughly reliable source greeted me at the door. He opened with, “Hey, you young whippersnapper. I?hear you like to ketch dem big fishes. Have I got a place for you.”

Two mugs later, both drained by my reliable informant, I learned of a place where walleyes tend to jump into your boat just to keep you company. I’ll be going there soon.

What can I say? I like wild “gooses.”