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The Back 40

Fishing For Memories

Wed, June 11, 2014

I’m not sure how this happened so quickly, but I recently became old.  I turned 50.  There’s something about 50 that changes how a man thinks.  You start to appreciate the little things more.  The older I get the more I realize what I do is not for the moment.  It’s for the future and for the memories.  That’s something that comes with age I guess…and it becomes more and more obvious as I watch loved ones pass, which seems to occur more often when you hit 50.

I used to do things because that’s what I wanted to do at the moment.  Now it seems I do things specifically for the memories.  Any instant gratification is just bonus.  With the making of memories in mind, I booked a week-long Canadian fishing trip for just my son and I.  No wife, no daughter, no friends.  Just he and I.  For six months we looked forward to our father-son trip.  Whenever my son, Jake, would come home for the weekend from college, we’d hit Bass Pro Shops and buy more lures than two guys could make use of in a lifetime.  It wasn’t just about buying lures though, it was more about the conversations in the truck and just walking through the aisles.  I think we learned more about each other and appreciated each other more in those little outings than I ever thought possible. 

Guilt trip?  Maybe.  You see, we are a horse family.  I use the term horse “family” loosely, since most of the riding is done by my daughter, Stefani, and I.  Over the years, Stef and I have spent many hours in the saddle just road riding, timber riding, checking treestands on horseback, harassing neighbors’ cattle, roosting turkeys on horseback…just about anything that would be easier on an ATV we did on our horses.  I always felt a little guilty because it seemed like I spent more one-on-one time with Stef.  So was my father-son fishing trip really just a guilt trip?  Not at all.  I just wanted to get some of that same time with my son before he graduates, gets married, and moves on with life.

So on the road we went.  Just us guys.  No pee–stops every hour.  No eating in restaurants along the way.  Just two guys making good time which means more boat time.  Check-in time at the resort was 2:00pm.  I made arrangements for us to arrive early at 10:00am.  Actual arrival time?  9:00am.  We’re late for everything, but not fishing.  By 10:00am, we had our vehicle unloaded and were in the boat headed to our first spot.

Day 1 could not have gone any better.  The first fish in the boat was a 5 lb. 1 oz. Northern Pike caught by yours truly.  Not a trophy, but a darn good start.  Plus, he was right at the legal keeper limit.  We had our first food in the boat.  Several Pike and Smallmouths later it happened.  Jake was hooked into something good.  He caught a 16lb. slob of a Pike.  His biggest by far and caught on day ONE!  How on Earth were we going to keep up this pace?  Easy.  Jake’s next cast landed him a 12.54lb. Pike.  Talk about coming out of the gates strong.

The next few days were much of the same.  No real trophies in the Pike department, but I did manage to get lucky with the Smallies.  In one small area, near rapids, I managed to catch and release about 20 Bass that were all over 4.5 pounds.  Most were actually over 5 pounds.  The biggest was my biggest ever at 6lbs. 4 oz.  Had I not had a camera and a witness, I would have thought it was all a dream. 

Mid-week we used a guide specifically for trophy Pike.  I’ve never caught one over 15 pounds and I had a goal of 20 pounds on this trip.  Though I didn’t hit my goal, I did beat my personal best with a 17lb. 2oz. slob.

All week Jake and I were at it hard.  We spent about 13 hours on the water each day.  Rain or shine, we were out there.  What an unbelievable and memorable time we had.  We had such a great time that we are now used boat shopping so we can’t hit all the local lakes…and maybe take the girls with us.

I’ve always known this, but the older I get, the more I know it.  I’m a pretty lucky guy.  I do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do for a living, I have an awesome wife that’s been by my side since high school, my daughter is the best and happiest kid you could ever meet, and my son will kick your butt at fishing.  I truly am very lucky.

“We’re just going fishing/hunting.”  I’ll never say those words again.  It’s so much more than just fishing and hunting.


Here’s a link (or two) to a video I made of our Canadian memories.  Hopefully one of them works.


What a Great trip you two had John! And super job on the video- I really enjoyed watching it- That made me want to be there with you guys! I hear ya on the 50 plus thing- we better do it now while the gettin’s good!

Posted by walmsley on June 11

Awesome read and video john…Your son is lucky to have a father like yourself…..

Posted by WhitetailFreak on June 11

Fantastic job John, a fishing trip like that is something every father and son should have the opportunity to experience. I’m very thankful I have been able to have that experience with my dad and hope we get another opportunity soon. Great video too!

Posted by esox_lucius on June 12

Thank you, gentlemen.  The trip was a blast.  ESOX, I agree.  Every father should make this happen with his son(s).  Now, I think I need to talk Jeff into sending me up north on assignment every year.

Posted by Treehugger on June 12

I thought my kids grew up quick, but the years after turning 50 are going by real quick - enjoy them, and even better with your kids.

Posted by BIGPOND on June 12

The best article I’ve read all year, thanks for sharing John, great video too…....... great trip!!! you’ll talk about it forever

Posted by Flatlander on June 13

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