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Event:  Walleye Opening Day 2013

Location:  Sturgeon Lake, Ontario.

Conditions:  Cold, as in “aachoo!” cold.

My expectations were high (first mistake) ;  I was going fishing with a veteran on his water, but the conditions cooled those expectations quickly and this walleye season opener became one of those fishing trips where you say things like “A bad day fishing is better than the best day at work”.  Very true, very true!  I’ll take the trip for what it was – a fun day fishing and a weekend with some buds!  Also, the Leafs won game 6 against Boston the evening before in the Stanley Cup play-offs, so I knew that things weren’t exactly right with the universe.

The rain didn’t fall in droplets, it cascaded in a mist that permeated through our water proof membranes.  The wet didn’t exactly soak our skins, but it soaked our cores and spirits, which suffered further after stopping at the local marina/restaurant for breakfast and coffee.  Breakfast itself was a  soggy affair.  Luckily I’m not a restaurant critic as I would name the diner here in an effort to warn away the weary traveler.   We should have got the hint to not order as-soon-as the waitress attempted to pawn off a pre-made sandwich.   It probably would have been an improvement over the Big Breakfast though.  Big Breakfast consisted of a plate of overcooked, greasy meat, tough eggs and a spattering of barely recognizable charred potato chunks.  Definitely not appetizing.  We found two things amusing though; The waitress talked away on a portable phone while serving us, letting the person on the other end know how busy she was with customers for a change (we were the only 3 people in the restaurant), and she made mention of the fact that the chef had a special process of marinating his meat for 2 days.  Later, on the boat while our breakfast were revisiting us, I made a jest that the marinating process must have been letting the meat sit on the side of the road for 2 days before butchering the road kill.

This is a fishing blog though, not a restaurant criticism, so here is the nitty-gritty on that – fishing was poor as our meal.  My companions were seasoned veterans of these waters, having fished them many times.  Jonathan had brought me here once before and put me on walleye.  They were exactly where he said they would be so I know that  if anyone was going to have a chance catching walleye this opener, it was Jon.   Alas, this was not to be.  Mike did catch a keeper walleye, Sturgeon Lake has a slot limit, but he was the only one amongst us with bragging rights.  Sean, and the friend with him took off early.  They were canoeing it and the cold, rough conditions put them off early.  The hits we had, even from the perch were light at best.  Usually, you feel a fish bite and if you are patient,  you will feel them commit to the bait.  This was not to be.  If you felt a nibble, that was it, there was no take, no further nibbles, no head shakes, just a nibble and then gone, usually with the tail from the bait.  We were using Phoenix tackle grub tails which are very soft plastics.

We spent quite a few hours on the water that day, but we knew the cold front that had dropped temperatures from the mid-twenties to just above freezing, had played havoc on the fishing.  We caught one keeper.  Very few people on that water could make such a boast.  It was a very disappointing opener.

 At the beginning to all of my fishing stories is the story of receiving  my first fishing rod.   It is to my whole life of fishing adventures as “the Hobbit” is to the “Lord of the Rings”.  It was like how everything  starts – not at the beginning, but at “a beginning”.  Now, in all fairness, it is a short story and not too interesting on it’s own really, but none-the-less, it is an important story to me.  I was reminded of this recently when I had the opportunity to be revisited with the memories of receiving my first fishing rod.  Let me tell you about it.

I belong to a group of business people in my community.    This year, the group decided to do something a little different for it’s annual Christmas party.   Instead of having a gift exchange with a few dollars spent on gag gifts, we  all drew names.  Then for the person who’s name  you drew, you bought that person a gift which would have been appropriate  for them when they were five years old.   We wrapped the gifts up and presented them at the Christmas party.  We gave explanations as to why we felt it was appropriate for that person.  At the end of the party we  donated the gifts to a toy drive so that the gifts could be received by a family in need at Christmas.  It was a beautiful and heart warming event and I was very proud to be a part of it.  The gifts were very generous and the evening was really fun as we watched each other receive our “appropriate for us at age five” gifts.

The gift that I received was a Zebco toy fishing rod and reel combo complete with fish shaped casting plug for practice casting.  This gift was so appropriate, that it brought back a flood of memories from a  time when I received my first fishing rod!  A whole scene replayed in my head.  My first rod was also a Zebco.  I began to remember that rod and all of the lures that came with it.   There were 4 rooster tails; the yellow one with black dots which was my favourite, the black with white dots, the red with yellow dots and the white with red dots.   The kit came with a red devil imitation spoon too, and I cast that for pike in our local waters many times, yet I never did catch one.   I did however catch what became a life long obsession with fishing.  My dad even took me out once or twice though he detested fishing.   I’ll never forget wading around in the creek he took me to with my first rod.  It was the creek near his home when he was a boy, and we caught a bunch of sunfish on worms.

I came away from that party with a strong inclination to pass along the magic of receiving a first fishing rod.  Fortunately for me, I have a young nephew. Though he lives a good distance away, we have  managed to get out and do some fishing together.  He is really good to go fishing with – patient with me as I adjust my catching strategies.  Funny, now that I think of it – it was also sunfish that we first caught together.  I decided that this would be a good year to buy him his first fishing outfit as a Christmas gift.  I was relieved to find out that he didn’t already have one to call his own yet which means that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be the catalyst for the spark to all of his fishing adventures.  I hope so because, that’s the real gift here.

People refer to the holiday magic or the magic of the season.  It has been a long time since I have felt that magic and what’s funny is that this year I felt it in the gift of a plastic fishing rod, given to me, to be donated away.  The magic wasn’t really in that particular piece of plastic though, the magic was in the memories of a man, who was a boy at Christmas.  This year, was a special year for me, as I got to touch that magic and then pass it along!   I can’t wait for my nephew and I to share a fishing adventure as again, that is the real gift here.

One of the reasons why I started the Deprived Angler blog and website is to pass along the gift of fishing to others.  As it is now the new year, it is a good time for me to reflect on what my goals are for this website.  I hope that you all have a great new year and I hope that all of you think about your first fishing rod and consider what it would mean if you were able to find a way to spark some magic for someone else.   It would be a great year if we could make 2013 the year to make a few more anglers -” The Undeprived.”

 

Thank you!

My Cousin Val Holding a Salmon I Caught on Lake Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early morning – 4am – looking at the world this early gives me a gracious sense of awe.  Perhaps sleep deprivation contributes to the feeling, but it really is an amazing time to look across the horizon and to the stars above and feel one with the world.  I wake up early (which for me does not come easy), I say a prayer of thanks, I get into the car, and drive to meet my cousin at the storage yard, where we will pick up his boat for a day of salmon fishing on Lake Ontario.

While driving and appreciating the special beauty that is our world at 4 am, I reflect on what the day is about to bring.  I am going out  fishing with my cousin Val, something that happens once or if I’m lucky,  twice a year.  Val and I have been doing this together now for the last 10 years or so – heading out to Bronte to take part in the Great Ontario Salmon Derby.  We started on a charter boat, but  Val has since set himself up with all the gear required, so he now invites me out to fish with him.   It is something we both appreciate and it means a lot to me that we do this.  Our dadushka (grandfather in Russian), was a fisherman, as was our uncle Tony and Val’s father, my uncle Nick.  They all had a great passion for fishing, so much so that my dadushka picked a cemetery plot out by the Thames River, to be close to a river for fishing in the afterlife.   I wonder what my babushka (grandmother)thought about that.  These men have passed from us now, but their passion sparked a flame for fishing in my cousin and me.  I can’t describe in a word what the feeling is I have when the two of us get together to share the experience.  It is gratitude and ancestry.  It is primal and instinctual.  It is relaxing and intense.  It is the bond between family and blood.  It is mystical and perhaps it is as close to touching divinity as we get during our human experience.

On the drive to the lake, I can’t help but think of our dead family members.  I believe that they would be happy to see my cousin and I together enjoying a day of fishing.  I am in reverie as I commune with my dead uncle, Tony.  It is with him that I did most of my childhood fishing as it is not something that my father enjoyed at all.  I invite his spirit to come along with us.  I believe that he hears my prayer and I believe that he will be with me, always, when I fish.

The day is a beauty!  Hot, summer sun beats down on us – we begin on the water marking fish on the sonar right away.  We have a couple of early strikes and we are pretty stoked.  The first few fish of the day are rainbow trout and they treat us to their amazing water walking acrobatics.  Bows are fun to catch, and better than skunking out, but we are after salmon!  After all, this is the Great Ontario Salmon Derby and we each have a ticket!  It would be nice if this becomes “Derby Winning Wednesday”.  There are hardly any other boats on the water compared to weekends.  We fish uncontested for a few more hours.  The fishing is slow, but steady.  We have a double header and land both fish.  I capture a bit of it on video until the second rod goes off.  A 25 lbs salmon for my cousin – big, but no derby winner- a 14 lbs salmon for me. (pictured in this article).

A few hours go by and the fishing has turned off.  We have attempted everything we know.  Fish are marking on the sonar, bait fish are marking on the sonar – but it is zero fish o’clock (see article One, Two, Three Fish O’clock).

The time is starting to drag – one thing that can happen when summer trolling.  I pull out some potato chips.  I mention something about eating and that’s when we’ll catch a fish to my cousin – he begins to tell me about Pat.

“When Pat falls asleep – we catch fish.”, Val says.  “He’ll just start nodding off to sleep with his head shaking up and down.  Sometimes he’ll pretend to fall asleep until I say FISH ON TWO, FISH ON TWO“.  I laugh and put my bag of chips down.  Val yells out again “no – FISH ON TWO, FISH ON TWO”  I laugh harder thinking this is still part of the story. It’s not until Val jumps up and grabs rod number two yelling about my inability to function when a fish has hit.  I’m rolling inside with laughter as I thought he was telling part of the story.  Then his phone starts ringing – “Oh that’s probably Walt (Val’s brother – also a fishing enthusiast), or Pat, getting back to me”, Val exclaims, too excited to answer his phone right now, not to mention he is fighting what should have been my fish.  The phone goes unanswered while Val keeps fighting the fish.  He is just about to get this one on the boat when the number 3 rod goes off.  Then the number 4 rod.  I grab the number 4 rod and start reeling in a fish.  After he gets the number 2 fish in and I get the 4 fish in, he goes to the 3 rod and reels in another small fish.  The number 1 rod got reeled in as well, sometime in between the 4 and 3 rod going off – as the 1 rod had wire out, and with a triple header, Val didn’t want any chance of cutting off on the wire.  When all is said and done, we have no rods left in the water and the two of us are laughing out loud about what is the first triple header on Val’s boat and how it started with the story of Pat and falling asleep.  After things settle down, Val remembers the phone call and checks his cell.  The missed call wasn’t his brother or Pat, it was Father Morin – the priest from the Russian church.  “Uh oh”, Val says.  I understand his apprehension as the two of us have buried a lot of family members through that church and Val’s mom has just had a wicked stint of pneumonia and there has been a scare that she might not survive the ordeal.  Close enough of a scare that there was question as to whether we would make it out together on this Wednesday for fishing, or if we would be burying Val’s mom instead.  The call from the priest has me tense.  Val calls him back immediately.

“Father, how are you today.  I am out on the boat with my cousin Stef, fishing”.  I listen intently, looking for any signs that the fishing is about to come to an end.  Val laughs though, and I feel a sigh of relief.  “What is that prayer?  Stef listen to this – Batushka has a prayer for us – he is calling to let us know he is giving us a blessing and prayer”.  It turns out that Val had spoken with the priest earlier in the week and had asked for a prayer for our fishing day.  As it happens, the priest had been calling to give us the prayer of the apostles, also fishermen, who in the eastern orthodox religion were celebrating a feast the next day – apostle day!  Holy apostles, pray unto God for us, is what the priest had called to let us know!  And at the same moment- we hit a triple header!!!  Val put it best.  He said “no one is going to believe this fish story”.  I agreed with him, although, I know that some people will.

We finished the day pretty much just after that, catching one more fish which was our limit.  10 fish landed!  6 hours of fishing, one double header and one miraculous triple header.  The fish o’clock disagreed with that triple header, saying that it shouldn’t have happened at zero fish o’clock, but with divine intervention, how could a simple chronograph know?  Other than the triple header, the fish o’clock o’meter was pretty accurate.  On the way back into the harbour, my cousin made a comment.  “I can almost see uncle Tony sitting up there watching us come in”.  Since my cousin and I don’t really communicate about such things – I thought it was a pretty odd comment.  “He probably is Val”, I said.  ” I spoke to him earlier today before we went out and told him we were going out fishing”.  “Oh really?”, asked Val.  “What did he say?”.  “He said thanks for the heads-up and he’d be sure to tell dadushka and your dad and invite them along too.”

 

This is the video we submitted to WFN for our entry into the deprived angler disorder contest!

We had a great time making it as you can see in the video, plus we learned a lot about recording and video editing too!

The process of making this video was the best part of the contest and in the end I think it showed enough that the wonderful judges at WFN rewarded us by giving us a boat!  An awesome boat!

Thanks for watching!

Stefan Cartmale

Un-Deprived Angler

 

My girlfriend is an amazing woman.  She is not only an extremely patient person, but she is also very supportive, both good qualities when dealing with an addict such as myself.  Now one might think that she is an enabler, and that may be true to some degree, but for Christmas this year, she got me a watch.  But this is no ordinary time keeping watch, this is a Casio Fishing Gear Watch!  It has the lunar charts built into it and it uses this information to give you the exact time of day that is best for fishing based upon these cycles of the moon  and the longitude at which you live!!  Amazing technology!! ( See my article, “Back In My Day…”)  The instructions state that there are 5 levels starting with zero fish filled in and working up to four fish filled in.  I have affectionately come to know these indicators as One, Two, Three, or Four Fish O’clock.  Unlike the Mayans, I don’t find much use for zero when it comes to time to fish.  As far as I am concerned, zero fish o’clock is that horrible time when it is best to find something else to do because there is nothing better going on.( see my article – “My Awesome-Sauce New Fishing Rod Holder”)  Actually, I have not yet not gone fishing when it is zero fish o’clock as the scientific data on this thing is still untested in my opinion, but I would like to say that based on more than a few test days, the watch and it’s indicators seem to be pretty much right in line.  I have yet to catch a fish when it is zero fish-o’clock and I have seen action turn on for me as well as for other anglers around me when the magic four fish-o’clock indicator lights up.  At any rate, If you have some patience for me, eventually this web site will have the ability for you the user to log in your catches and I what time of day the fish were caught, and I will then cross reference that against the information on the  charts and give an up-to-date account on how well the average fisherman is doing compared to what the lunar cycle says!  Wow – exciting stuff boys and girls!  Until that time, if you would like to know more about what fish o’clock it is going to be for your next fishing trip, let me know and I’ll try and reply to your request.  There are two versions of this watch by Casio that I am aware of ( Thanks to my friend Rick for introducing me to this thing!).  One will only tell you what is in store for the next 24 hours, the other, which I am very fortunate to own, will tell you what fish 0’clock it is for whenever you want.  This information can come in very handy for a fella – especially if you are on a fishing trip with the boys and you are going to want to plan your drinking and hangovers around what the best fishing times are going to be!  Think about the possibilities!  Good luck fishing friends and see you on the water when it is four fish o’clock!

 

 

 

Unfortunately, the above statement is true for me on many levels not just with fishing.  I am addicted to more.  More of many things.  Some of those things are not exactly healthy for me .  As an addict, there really is no rhyme or reason to why I obsess about things.  Fortunately for me , I am aware of my addictions and I have a program I follow to help we with them.  By the grace of God, I have been clean from my more destructive addictions for a number of years now, but if I were being completely honest, I would have to admit that when it comes to fishing, I’m still in active addiction.  Now, I don’t find myself missing work or heading off to fish on a day when I have other things that I ought to be doing, I don’t disappear for days on end without letting anyone know where I am and then showing up as if nothing is wrong.  I am not out breaking any laws and I’m certainly not out poaching fish , but if I were being exactly honest, I’d have to admit to some behaviors that are darn similar to those of an addict in active addiction.

Drug addiction is all about the obsessing of drugs.  You spend 70-80% of your time thinking about getting, using, and figuring out  the ways and means to get more of your drug of choice.  Well let’s break that down a bit with regards to fishing.  First, there is the magazines and websites and all the time spent pouring over the gear and tackle articles.  I must have read some of those articles a hundred times each and still I go back to them, especially the ones about techniques.  I can’t get enough about learning how the pros rig up and fish their favourite techniques. Then there are the websites.  Before I go out, I’ll spend time the day or two before watching YouTube video after YouTube video trying to pick up on some tip that is going to make my day on the water that much better.  Let’s not forget the webpages for all the fishing stores with all of their wonderful gear, all just sitting there for a guy like me to dream about owning and having for myself.  Then after spending all that time figuring and learning, there is the trip to the tackle store in order to refine the search.  Luckily, when I go to my local tackle store, it is full of guys just like me – it’s kind of the same as addicts seeking addicts and surrounding themselves with other people just like them.  Then I usually buy something – anything I can afford at the time.  Sometimes a new lure, or sometimes just some new hooks, but every now and then, I get myself a new treat.  Now, there is a rhyme and a reason to most of my purchases.  Usually, I am only buying gear that I know I will use, but every now and then, I will do an impulse buy.  After spending time at the tackle store sharing and swapping stories and learning about what others are doing with their addictions, I go home with my new purchases and my new knowledge and I begin the readying of my equipment.  I will tie knot after knot, making sure that I am well practiced for when I am on the water.  I want my gear ready for the moment of the first cast and I want options set up and ready to go.  I check the rods and reels, lubricating, cleaning, and just spending time with it to make sure that I am ready to operate it when the time comes.  I organize the tackle I will be using, I make sure that everything I need is coming with me and I set up my game plan, my plan B, and my back-up plan just in case nothing is going the way it’s supposed to.  If I am planning on using roe for trout fishing, I’ll be tying bags the night before.  Tying roe bags can be a bit of a lengthy process so I usually leave it until the last because I know that I can always tie more down at the water.  By now, I will be so excited and worked up about going fishing the next morning, that I can hardly sleep from the anticipation.

So do you see the parallels?  By the time I actually get out to fish, it is almost secondary to everything else that has gone into the experience.  I get off on all of the ritual that goes into the preparation for the using, I mean fishing.  I also notice that the gear and the prepping is like using.  Often drug use means using an apparatus and fishing certainly has a lot of apparatus. Now, I wish that everyone that is out abusing their body with drug use wasn’t because addiction is an awful scourge on society and the toll it takes on your personal and spiritual life is one that not many people will ever recover from.  I wish that addicts could find a much more healthy focus and I believe that there really is nothing wrong with finding a hobby that takes the place of your using.  I don’t know too many people that have overdosed on fishing and honestly getting out and getting some sun and exercise is a positive  thing.  If you are an addict in active addiction, please find the strength and courage to seek help.  There are many clean addicts in programs all across this country that would readily share their experiences with you so that you can get and stay clean.  And, if you are an addict and you’ve just gotten clean, please keep it up!  Find something you love and do that instead

 

It has been a few years since I became the “Un-Deprived” angler; adopted by WFN and awarded a beautiful Stratos boat for my video submission to the D.A.D. contest. (Deprived Angler Disorder).   Since the day my boys, myself, and my friend Jordie made the road trip to the marina to pick it up, I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about how fortunate I am to have won when so many others just like me entered and did not.  The boat is awesome and every time I’m on it I appreciate how fantastic it is.  Along with that feeling, something else  nags at me though and that is the thought that there are so many others who really deserve  it just as much as me.  That is why I’m giving it back – just kidding – sorry suckers it’s mine!!  Seriously though, I really do  think about what I can do to keep the spirit of that contest going because honestly, winning the boat was such a small part of the whole experience.  It is my hope that through this blog and the website deprivedangler.com that I will be able to share what I mean by that and my philosophy on not just fishing, but life.  There is a song lyric by the Grateful Dead that says it best as there is always a song lyric that says it best….”I may be going to Hell in a bucket baby, but at least I’m enjoying the ride.”  Well folks, I’ve been to Hell in  a bucket, and I’ve come back and I’ll tell you this….it isn’t about the destination but it is about the journey, so if you find yourself with a one way ticket,  I offer you this advice- grab a big dose of sunshine and a fishing rod and head to your local fishing spot, kick back, take off your shoes, sit down and relax.  If you’re lucky, you may even have a good friend or even better, a family member with you and chances are if you spend a bit of effort at it, you’ll catch a fish!  And if you do, I guarantee you this….that you’re having a better day than the fish is!!!  That may not be very Buddhist, but that’s okay too.  You may wish to think about putting that fish back, you may think about putting that fish on the dinner table – doesn’t much matter – but what does matter is this – you spent the time with friends, relaxing and concentrating on something that is way bigger than you.  And just for an afternoon, your problems disappear.  Imagine the freedom….and now realize that you too can have that freedom.  This page my friend is for you.  I hope we can help bring you to that space and  I hope that after you learn a thing or two here, that you take  a moment and remember the spirit that brought this page to light in the first place.  Yes, the spirit that brought us together is one of sharing and so after you have taken from this page, please consider what it means to share back and to share forward.  Tight lines friends and see you at the water!

 

Stefan Cartmale

 

I’m a bit of a gear-head, (yes – the gears are always spinning – like a squirrel on a tread mill).  Actually, although that is true, what I mean by “gear-head” is that I like fishing gear.  New gear is awesome!  Often though, when I am talking about the new gear I bought or more often than not, just read about or heard about, I will get the comment, “back in my day…we only had one pole and we used it for all our fishing and we caught everything and you should’ve seen the fish we caught, and blah, blah, blah.  It’s true that to catch a fish, you don’t need the latest and greatest.  I remember catching fish with my grandfather.  We used bamboo poles with line attached.  I also remember the first pole I bought with my own money; a department store special.  It was the only pole I owned and I used it for every kind of fishing that my uncle and I would do.  Sure, it worked, but that was then and this is now and if you haven’t noticed, a lot has changed in the last 30-40 years.

Once upon a time, a family had a telephone.  You could speak to one person at a time and if someone else was trying to call you, they got a busy signal.  Today, a typical household will have a cell phone for each member and they have text and instant messaging capability.  Instead of talking to one person, you can send out a message to all of your friends at once and get multiple instant response messages.  You can send out tweets to the world, informing of what you are doing at any given moment, you can set your status on multiple social media platforms.  The list goes on.  Sure – it’s still communication but it is on a way different level.

The same applies to our fishing gear.  We have the best technology for the species  of fish we are targeting; anything from super-lines to high modulus graphite rods to electronics that give a complete picture of the underwater world.

You can always choose to romanticize the lore of yesteryear.  There is nothing wrong with the technology of that era.  There is more than one way to extract plutonium  but while  using a giant centrifuge will apparently  get the job done, it is not necessarily the most efficient way to go about it.  The same is true with our communication devices, and the same is true with our fishing tools.

 

A Case in point –

 

A couple of years ago, I was fishing with my brother-in-law and my father-in-law out of Port Burwell for perch.  It was one of those magic days and I have pictures of a couple of happy campers, cleaning what was a boat load of fish and the resulting fish fry that resulted.  We all fished from the pretty much the same spot as my boat is not large and we all used relatively inexpensive fishing rods and reels – nothing too fancy – but decent gear.  I however, had stopped at my local source for all things fishing, Angling Outfitters and had discussed earlier with the owner about where I was heading out and what I was fishing for.  He told me to go out to 40 feet of water and use braided line. (say what??)  His reasoning was sound – that in 40 feet of water, fishing just off bottom with mono, that there is too much stretch in the line ( something like 10-12% stretch) so 4-5 feet of stretch  in the line when going to lift a fish – chances are that you won’t be able to hook set properly and that the fish will get off.  Well, turns out that I put the braided spool on that day and let me tell you this: First, that I could feel everything happening with my bait at 40 feet.  I could feel the take, I could feel when the fish spat the bait (the rod was pretty sensitive too – IM 6 graphite with a really fast tip), and I could feel when the fish retook the bait.  When I set the hook, it was instant as there was no stretch in the line – for every 6 inches of motion at my hand, there was 6 inches of resulting motion at the hook.  The overall result was this  ( sorry Wade, I’m not trying to brag), but for every fish they put in the boat, I would put at least one, sometimes two! That’s not an exaggeration either.  We used the same baits out of the same water but my gear allowed me to catch more fish.  Oh, and that’s not to mention the  electronics that allowed me to instantly find 40 feet of water in the first place.

 

To put a fine point on it-

 

Technology has changed the way we fish.  The environment we live in has changed, the species themselves are different, and the water we fish has drastically changed too.  With all of those changes, we can choose to keep things simple, and there is nothing wrong with that, but we can also choose to bring our A+  game and to take advantage of all of the options available.  The next time someone tells me their fish tales and talks down to the technology that I choose to take advantage of, my answer  and attitude will be simple  – “Well, we all do what we can to have a good time fishing”.   After all is said and done, isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about anyway?  Having a good time fishing and enjoying yourself?  I just happen to enjoy myself more, when I have landed more fish and if that means taking advantage of some incredible technology to boot, well than hey, sign me up!

Father-in-law with author – “a boat load of perch”

 

Some days, all you do is try and try and try again, yet when it comes to catching a fish, you  just can’t do it.  But, fishing isn’t called catching for a reason and often, I don’t care.  Sure it’s awesome to catch a fish.  Even better are those magic days where you just can’t do anything wrong and you catch fish after fish.  But those days are magical and the only reason we can really appreciate them for what they are is because as fishermen, we know that it’s not always going to be like that.  Like everything in life, we can only appreciate the good because we know the bad and because of the bad, we gain an understanding of our world that put’s us in touch with our higher self.  This world is a test and those of us that pass are those that know, you have to put in hour after hour of tough work some days and the results you are looking for may not be the ones you get.  If you find yourself at the side of a river or out on the water and you can’t get what you want ( a fish), take some time and step back from yourself, look around, take a deep breath and appreciate what you see.  Maybe it is a close friend or family member in the boat with you.  Appreciate them because they are there with you.  This is life and just as we live, we die.  To really appreciate life, you have to appreciate that it will not always be here and that means that friend or family member too.  So really appreciate them because you never know when you won’t have the opportunity again.  Look around.  See the sites?  They were made for you and your enjoyment.  Take time to appreciate where you are and  what you are doing.  Maybe it’s not as fun to not catch fish, but maybe there is something else going on and you need to appreciate it.

I love to catch fish, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t go fishing  just because of catching fish.  There is a lot more to it and it is hard to explain.  When it’s a freezing cold day in Canada and I am standing at the side of a river trying to catch my targeted species, the rod guides are icing over, my hands are frozen because wearing gloves would interfere with the feeling the line, I don’t get discouraged.  I keep fishing.  Many people would think I’m crazy, and sure, there may be a part of that, but I know that I am testing myself.  I am practicing and appreciating just how tough it can be to catch fish.  It is a day like this that I can juxtapose against a magic day and it is a day like this that makes me really appreciate how wonderful it can be on a day when the livewell is full and the smiles come easy.  It is a day like this that makes me know who I am and it is a day like this that  lets me know that somehow, no matter what, I have the fortitude to endure anything.  Any day fishing is a wonderful day and better than a day when I can’t be on the water, so next time you are out fishing and not catching, don’t be discouraged but remember this-you are exactly where you are supposed to be and now take some time to enjoy it.  Tight lines my friends and I’ll see you on the water!

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