I am not 100% sure when Colin and I first met. I would guess we were around 14 or 15. Two dudes skateboarding near our high school (I sucked, still do). For whatever reason we immediately became fast friends, a friendship that has lasted some 30 plus years. Recently as I was looking to generate some new idea’s for Northern Jack’s I shot Colin and email and he did not disappoint. One particular topic stood out “write about how you introduced me to fishing, golfing and cottage life” So here goes…
When Colin and I first met he was not much of an outdoors guy. One day we were chatting about upcoming weekend plans and when I told him I needed to head up to the trailer for walleye opener he looked at me with a blank stare and said, “What the hell does that mean?” I explained to him that every year on or close to Mother’s Day weekend I headed up to my parents’ trailer on Balsam Lake with my Dad, brother and a host of uncles and cousins to fish for walleye. It took a while to establish that I would drive an hour or so North of Markham, jump in a small boat and try to catch a fish. As we got to talking, I realized that the idea of spending hours on a lake chasing a fish was completely foreign to Colin. I asked if him if he wanted to come and he was in. That Friday night we drove up North and spent a few hours hanging with the gang at the fire. Midnight rolled around and we said alright let’s go. Once again Colin looked slightly confused. I explained that technically as of midnight the season for walleye opened and that we were going to drive down to the Rosedale bridge and try a few casts for walleye. I am pretty sure we caught nothing but a cold that night, but the BS was thick, and the stories were tall, and it was a successful start to the season. The next morning, we headed out onto the big lake to search for walleye. For the first few hours not much happened, a perch here, sunfish there but Colin’s enthusiasm and curiosity made it a blast. For every fish caught his first question was “Is that a walleye? Just before we headed in for lunch it happened. We were fishing the deep edge of weed line with worm harnesses when Colin got a nice hit. He quickly set the hook like he had been shown and a nice small mouth launched itself 3 feet in the air off the starboard bow. “Holy sh%^, is that a walleye” Nope, that’s a bass but crank her in son”. The pure joy on Colin’s face as he fought that fish was amazing but it somewhat turned when we told him it needed to go back as it wasn’t in season. I think Colin had visions of taking home dinner to his parents. From then on, I think Colin was hooked and I had a new wingman for my fishing excursions. Colin was as great partner for these excursions, his eagerness and fearlessness pushed me out of my comfort zone. Plus he had his own set of wheels - a White Chrysler LeBaron (weird car for a 16 year old but she was a beaut). In some ways I would say Colin is even more of an outdoors guy than I am now. He spends a lot of time at the family cottage in the Kawarthas and does one of two annual camping weekends every summer. Grasshopper you may have surpassed the master…
The Rookie Part 2
Well chronicled in this site are all the various camping, fishing and paddling trips I have done. All of them have been special for different reasons – experiencing something new, crazy fishing success, feeling truly content. The first few trips included my brother and two of his good friends (mine as well). I really wanted Colin to join. Every time I got back and wrote a trip report or posted some pics Colin was one of the first people, I followed up with for two reasons: 1) He was always interested. 2) I was trying to sell him on the next one. In 2015 we had decided to head to Shekak Lake with White River Air. The cabin was quite large and the outfitter was able to cut us a deal if we had 5 or more guys. It didn’t take me long to get in front of Colin making my case. "Our first fly in was epic, its total solitude, its like we rented our own lake for the week, the fishing will be better than anything you have ever experienced". It probably only took a day for Colin to confirm with his better half and he was in! Over the next few months Colin worked his way into our group dynamic – meeting up to talk plan and have beers, trips to Bass Pro or Sail or LeBaron for the right lures and discussing gear. Pretty soon trip time rolled around and we were off to White River.
If you have read my report from our trip Shekak Report you will note that overall we were slightly disappointed with our fishing results. But that is specific to the 4 of us that had done a fly in trip two years prior. I think Colin would have a different take. As a first timer Colin didn’t have the same set of expectations as the “vets” did. Colin and I fished together all week and it was an absolute joy! I remember vividly one morning we pulled up to an isolated hump that just smelled fishy. My thought was we should troll with bottom bouncers and harnesses to get a good feel for the structure. If we got into fish we could go back and soak some jigs. Colin had never bottom bounced before so we did a few quick passes but as usual he quickly picked it up. The next few hours were epic, double headers, personal best fish and so much fun. Sitting around the fire on night, we were bemoaning how hard it was to stay on fish consistently. Colin had finally heard enough and blurted out “Are you guys crazy; we caught more fish in two days than I expected to catch in a week” Good perspective to have.
I am fortunate that I have someone like Colin both as a friend and as someone who loves being on a lake or in the woods as much (or more) than I do. He is now a regular of our trip crew and we still try to get together at least once a summer to fish. Heck both of us have got our kids to share our passion for fishing and we need to get them together fishing as well (We have even coordinated a Bass Pro Shops outings with our daughters during the winter months). He has become a feature player in my blog posts Angry Net Man feat Colin and that will certainly continue – this post included. I am also reminded how great it is to introduce someone to the outdoors or at least help speed along their entry. I know that Colin taking an interest in fishing reignited my own passion for it and for that I am grateful
PS: I know I mentioned golf, but I am still on the fence if Northern Jacks will cover off my other true love