I have, once again, been spending a few days at our little cabin in the woods north of Deer River. This trip didn’t afford me the time to do much fishing. Instead I was busy working on the cabin. This brings me to a story of one of the last times I fished with my Uncle Ben. Brian, my oldest, and I had taken him to Reeds Lake for a day of fishing. We trolled for a while and then decided to stop and do a little bobber fishing or casting. As we were sitting there, Uncle Ben asked if we could hear that sound. I asked what sound, but then I heard a guy sawing and hammering on his cabin. Ben said, “That’s the reason I never wanted to own a cabin.”
I am writing this column on what is officially the last day of summer, which I find hard to believe. Welcome fall with all of your splendor! The colors in this area are letting me know it won’t be long before the trees will be in full fall color. For many years I would go to Spider Lake on a late September fishing trip. I would usually be there at close to the right time, but I can distinctly remember the one time I was there when it peaked.
My old neighbor Gene Pacovsky and I had headed north to Spider for a week of fall fishing. As we drove the road to the resort, the trees that grew along the road were leaning over with branches from each side almost touching the other. The leaves were a bright golden color and with the sun shining on them it gave the illusion we were driving through a golden tunnel. What a magnificent sight! That was old Mother Nature at her best and she wasn’t done.
The first couple days were cloudy and relatively cold, but then it cleared, warmed up and the wind was barely a whisper. In the middle of the week the calendar turned to October and just like it was on cue, the colors peaked and the leaves started falling so that by the end of the week we were on the other side of the peak.
On one of those calm, sunny days we spotted what we thought were cobwebs stretching down from the overhanging tree branches to the water below. It was one of the most amazing feats of nature I had ever witnessed. Gene said his dad had told him about such occurrences and that when it happened, Indian folklore said it was a sign of Indian Summer. That was one amazing act of nature. I will always remember it fondly.
On that same week my two brothers-in-law, Lynn and Ron were staying at the same resort. Gene and I were camping in my little pickup camper while they stayed in a cabin. Whenever those two were involved there was always competition and a friendly wager on biggest, and first keeper. That was part of the fun.
On our last day we had a bet and Ron and Lynn held the lead with a 3-lb. pike. As the sun set I resigned myself to the fact we were probably going to lose that bet, but Gene said there was no way we were going to let a 3-lb. northern beat us, so we stayed out well after dark.
I usually don’t do much night fishing, but the full moon gave me enough light to navigate the boat. As we trolled through the narrows between 1st and 2nd lake I got a hit. As I fought the fish I told Gene if we got it in the boat it was going to win the contest for us. Sure enough, when we finally had it in the net it was a 6 1⁄2-lb, walleye, my personal best at the time.
When we got back to the resort I carried the fish up to the lodge where Lynn and Ron were toasting each other and patting each other on the back for winning the contest. I can still see the look on their faces when I walked in with that walleye. Luck really does have a large role in the sport of fishing and this proves it, although Gene’s refusal to give up was a huge part of it.
We had a few laughs and some good-natured ribbing and then went to their cabin for a fish fry. Yes, this is what makes fishing with friends more than just fish on the stringer. It’s a little good natured competitiveness and most of all a lot of comradery.
Until next time, although the small game and waterfowl hunting seasons are now upon us, there is still a lot of good fishing ahead before the water hardens.
Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Take a little time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops that are serving today.