Updated: Nov 28, 2019
I have the distinct pleasure of belonging to a great group- we don’t have a formal name but perhaps we will adopt one and make some shirts. For now, let’s call this group the Fishing Trip. We have been together for years (some since birth) and if you notice my grey hair (and beard) that’s a long time
Like many groups we started off with weekend jaunts in Ontario’s cottage country. The ability to spend time together in a beautiful setting, enjoying great meals, campfires, being on the water were all appreciated breaks and recharge time from lives that were getting increasingly busier with jobs, spouses and children.
Chatting with my brother one afternoon, we decided we wanted to try to get further north in pursuit of the type of fishing our dreams were made of. We chatted a bit about who we thought would be interested but also who we thought would be a great fit. In general I would say there were 3 key requirements for fit:
1) They like to fish –we typically spend at least 8 hours a day on the water during these trips. If someone truly doesn’t love to fish - this type of trip probably isn’t for them
2) They can be counted on – one of the biggest pains in planning a trip is someone flaking out well into planning and pulling the ‘chute leaving you scrambling to find another body or re-negotiating outfitter prices and travel plans. There is also lots of logistics and work to be done in Q&A’s with your outfitter, camp duties like cooking, cabin and kitchen cleaning, firewood gathering and so forth. Everyone needs to be willing to pitch in and help. If someone is dead weight, I would guess they soon won’t be welcome
3) You “get along” You will spend a lot of time together on these trips – planning, travelling in a small cabin and fishing in a small boat. You need some folks you can have fun and relax with. It’s not all shits and giggles – tensions can build and you need to deal with it and move on.
As mentioned in my Chronzy post our first trip was with my brother and Dad to Lady Evelyn Lake. This was the catalyst for my brother and I to try to put a group together and make these trips a more permanent adventure. So in 2008 we chose Lady Evelyn Lake once again. We booked with Island 10 Lodge, a full-service outfitter which is accessed by boat with a short jaunt over the dam that separates the Montreal River from Lady Evelyn Smoothwater Park. 4 of the 5 members of this trip are now the backbone of what I would consider the “core” group. Whitey, Willy, Dave and myself. Two of us are brothers and the other 2 have been friends for over 30 years.
We loved that first trip and it didn’t take to long to plan another. This time it was just the core 4 and we decided to head to Spanish, Ontario. We stayed a Brennan Harbour Lodge, another full-service outfitter situated on the Whalesback Channel in Lake Huron. Post trip the fun was contagious, and we started talking about the next one.
We have now done 5 trips together and are currently scheduled to take a 6th in August of 2020. The group of 4 remain and we have added another “core” member Colin. Over time we have each established our roles and responsibilities. Each dynamic will be different but in my opinion there are a few key ones:
1) The Leader –chief emailer and planner. Someone needs to steer the ship to ensure decisions get made, people get paid and things happen on time
2) The researcher –loves to spend his time on fishing forums, going to Sportsman shows and isn’t afraid to make a lot of inquiries
3) The Voice of Reason – grounds the group and say’s things like – that’s awesome but aren’t boats a requirement? Or I know we will probably catch a lot of fish but man some bread would be good to bring as a backup. Great Slave lake sounds awesome but is everyone comfortable with a $10k budget per person?
4) The money man – chief budgeter and shopper. Typically the cheapest person in the group this guy is making sure all costs are accounted for a where possible deals are being taken advantage of.
In our group the above is pretty fluid – sometimes everyone is researching or being the voice of reason and sometimes leader duties have been parceled out or switched up based on, well, life I guess
We also have a few guiding principles.
1) We do a big trip (weeklong, usually involves flying in a float plane) every two years.
2) We try to do a smaller trip or weekend in the off years.
3) Trip destination needs to fit core members budget and travel preferences prior to final vote
4) Destination with the highest % of votes wins
5) Adding a new member requires a unanimous vote.
These trips have become a “salve for the soul” for myself and I would guess the others as well. The trip itself is something I look forward to greatly. But the process ensures we get to spend some time together on a regular basis
While life is busy with all the things that can get in the way of spending time with friends, our group has figured out a way to ensure we don’t lose touch. Our bi-monthly planning sessions (If my wife is reading, I swear we actually plan stuff) have become a time to catch up and re-live moments (Remember the time you almost ran into the canoers while relieving yourself on the portage trail!)
Fishing trips are our thing but obviously this works for anything – maybe you want to ensure you paddle the interior or car camp with your friends. Do yourself a favour and grab a group of friends and/or family and get a trip going. Your wallet may be thinner, but your life will be richer!