GRAND RAPIDS — Having been raised on the Iron Range and Northern Minnesota, people think it is a given that I have to be a good outdoorsman because of the environment I was raised in. outdoors experiences have been great but the results are terrible, unfortunately due to my ineptness in the boat or in the woods.

Since it is the opener of the Minnesota fishing season, let’s stick with fishing for this column and forget my brutal escapades while hunting deer and grouse or trying to use a chain saw.

One opener close to 30 years ago I caught my largest walleye ever – a little over six pounds or so – while fishing with my brother George on Trout Lake in Coleraine.

After I reeled in the big fish, I took out the hook and was proudly holding the fish so George could get a photo.

While George was getting the camera focused, the fish squirmed out of my hands and back into the water.

No photo, no visual memories.

Then there was the time I was fishing off shore on Lake Winnie. The shore was crowded with anglers who were all having success, although I wasn’t one of them.

Embarrassingly, one of my casts went too high and got caught on a wire above, forcing me to cut my line to the guffaws of those around me. I have brutal manual dexterity and it takes me awhile to tie my line, again to the amusement of those around me.

Finally, I get the jig tied on and put on my minnow. My next cast caught the exact same wire, causing me to flee in disgrace to a solitary spot where I could mess up alone.

Yet another time I was fishing with a couple of friends on Pughole Lake located just north of Grand Rapids on Highway 38. Most people are familiar with the lake and know that the highway at one point borders the lake closely.

Well, we are sitting in that bay and cousin Pete Mitchell is casting toward shore in an attempt to catch a big northern pike. I was using a bobber and had no luck so I figured I would cast just like Pete.

My first couple casts were fine as I reeled them in without a bite. Then, my next cast was too hard and my lure sailed onto Highway 38, sitting right in the middle of the highway.

Cousin Pete, in classic timing, said, “Oh, I see you are fishing for road kill.”

Even I had to laugh at the joke and at my ineptitude.

Good luck fishing!


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