Each year, we celebrate Memorial Day to pay tribute to our fallen service men and women and to honor those who served. This past week, we also saw the soldiers of Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division deployed for active duty in Kuwait. As a veteran, I can only wish them well and say that I’m proud to call them my neighbors.
In looking back over the years, I can say that I have done my share of camping and fishing on Memorial Day weekend. There were very few of them that were sunny, mild and dry. It seemed that every Memorial Day weekend was either rainy, cool or both, but that has never stopped me from trying it again.
There were many years that a group of us would stay at the same campground in Waterville on that weekend. I always brought the boat and my fishing gear along just in case the weather was nice enough for fishing. I finally am able to admit that camping without fishing was pretty hard for me to do.
Over the years, we actually had some pretty good luck fishing on that weekend. On one of those occasions, my friend Russ and I ventured to a little lake west of Waterville. I am sure that Russ had the same line on his reel that came with it when he bought it. I, on the other hand, had meticulously taken my reels apart and greased and lubed all the moveable parts. After the maintenance was done, I replaced all the line with new as instructed by Al Linder who I considered “the” fishing guru back then. According to In-Fisherman, “the fisherman’s bible,” I was set to go.
As we started fishing on that little lake, I noticed Russ had about five split shots on his line from past years, along with this dusty old Mister Twister jig. I mentioned to him that he didn’t need all that weight and should probably use a different jig, but he said he was fine and would stick with what he had. After he had reeled in his fifth or sixth fish and I had finally battled my first one to the boat, I decided that giving fishing advice should probably be left up to others.
On one of those memorable weekends, it rained almost the whole time and we were still tenting at that time. Brad, my youngest, came down with “pink-eye,” but by the time we noticed it, he had already shared it with the other kids that were camping with us. I think that we heard about that from their parents for quite a few years to follow.
Over the years, I have been able to start each of my grandsons out on their fishing endeavors with some pretty good success. Trevor, my oldest grandson, has turned out to be quite the fisherman. His love for fishing and the outdoors reminds me of when I was younger. As a kid I lived to fish, especially in the summertime. Trevor fishes pretty much year-round except for a little break in the fall when he takes time out to hunt.
It makes me feel good when I watch him and his brother Taylor enjoy fishing and hunting as much as they do. Their cousin Dylan also likes to fish and has also started to hunt.
Trevor still likes to go to Twin Lakes and fish for carp in the “crick” whenever he has time. Grant, the youngest of my grandsons, also enjoys hunting carp in Twin Lakes, although spearing is more to his liking. His older brothers said that he usually just bounces the spear off the fish. When they are done fishing, they still take all the carp that they catch home and plant them in the garden for fertilizer.
Carp fishing in the spring in that fast moving stream of water is really a challenge and it can be a load of fun. I have hooked into a few of them. One fish took me on a run down the “crick” before it finally prevailed, spit the hook and lived to swim another day.
It is sad to think there are less and less fishing and hunting licenses being sold each year. We need to “unplug” and introduce our youth to the natural entertainment that exists in this great state of ours. We have to remember that the youth of today are our sportsmen of tomorrow.
If you take a little time to go fishing with a kid, it will introduce them to a sport they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. Taking the time to share the outdoors with our youth will ensure that we have future sportsmen to carry on our outdoors heritage.
Until next time, let’s go fishin’ because now is a great time to enjoy our great Minnesota outdoors.
Remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers.