Rise Contest – Essay Portion: My Greatest Fishing Memory

I’ve given you the option to listen to me read the essay or read it yourself! The video is a slideshow of photos I’ve taken (both with a camera and from the internet) and me reading the essay.

Growing up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes with loving grandparents who were avid fisher people has provided me with more fishing stories than I can count. When Owl Jones from Owljones.com asked contestants for the Rise Fly Rod and Allen Reel Giveaway to write about their most treasured fishing memory, I let out a heavy “ugh.” With so many good memories, how is one to choose?

I started riffling through my mental filing cabinet. The monstrous catfish caught on my Snoopy pole. Fishing in Canada and just HAMMERING the walleyes. My recent trip to the Big Horn with family and friends to catch superb browns and rainbows. So many good times.

After some significant thought, I decided on a memory.

Scene: It is mid-summer at Island Lake in the Detroit Lakes area of Minnesota.

Enter Stage Left: Two tanned, shaggy-haired, skinny boys. They are approximately 11 years old each, overflowing with energy and clearly at home in the mosquito infested, woodland lakes of Minnesota.

It was a weeklong summer vacation with my cousin Russell and some of his family. Though we only saw each other once or twice a year, Russell and I were inseparable when we were together. Roughly the same age, we were best friends and family, a perfect combination.

The trip alone is filled with so many great memories. Russ and me, playing and falling in the water. Netting dozens off swarming baby cat or dogfish. Not sure which. Catching loads of small frogs to use as bait while fishing. My cousin, Amanda, caught the most brilliantly colored sunfish with one of those frogs. (photo from a google search…)

But those aren’t the stories I wanted to discuss. The memory I want to share with you is a simple afternoon when Russ and I went fishing.

Russ and I decided to mount a trolling motor on the back of a yellow paddle boat. We fished all over the shoreline and into bays casting and trolling for bass and northern and even catching some now and then. I remember adults in standard sized, properly motored, fishing boats would slowly move past looking at us like we were crazy, but still offering the courtesy, “How’s the fishing?”

“Good. We caught a couple northerns back around the corner.” We’d proudly respond. Heads held high, because that simple question of “How’s the fishing?” meant we had been accepted into the club. We were fishermen.

That day, we ran the trolling motor until it died and then paddled home fishing the entire way. We didn’t catch any trophies, but it was a blast. It is a small memory, but it is, oh, so important.

To me, the fishing, running, playing, swimming and laughing with my cousin was as pure as it gets. Innocent, shiny, happiness. It’s like he movie Stand By Me, or the movie “The Sandlot.” Those are both stories about the adventure of being young, the endless possibilities and freedoms as a child. Just as much as those stories explored the innocence of childhood adventure, they also touched on the inevitability of growing up.

Bittersweet is the taste of nostalgia. My cousin and I are older. We are separated by geography and responsibilities. Though there will not be another trip like that for us, there is still the possibility of future outings that might even include our own children, providing them with the opportunity to explore their own summertime adventures.

So why is this tiny, brief, fishing memory so special? I mean, what is it that makes me long after that small moment in the paddle boat so much compared to my other great fishing times? We didn’t catch any record-breaking fish. We probably didn’t even catch that many. While writing this essay, I actually had to answer this question for myself because it wasn’t very clear at first.

I believe the memory is so strong, because it is the first time I remember being an independent fisherman. Russell and I, exploring the water. Tying on our own lures. Hooking our own bait. Taking off our own fish. Choosing how and where to fish. No adults. Every decision we made, was our own. After spending years, following instructions and learning the ways of those more experienced, we were able to take off the training wheels, and embark on our own fishing adventure, still basking in childlike innocence, unknowingly seeking our independence.

Montana Fly Company Phone Case

So the other day I noticed on Montana Fly Co’s Facebook page they were having a contest. The winnings were a fancy new phone cover with their sweet designs. The goal, come up with the best app for a fishing outing. They held the contest on their blog. Well, I submitted my potential app, and it won! So now I get a fancy new styling phone cover! Woo hoo!

For those of you who don’t want to follow the link, here is the first and second place entry:

Thanks, MFC! Now, i need to make sure my phone can use the case!

Rise Contest – Bonus Task: Fishing with a Stick and more…

Another crazy task set for by OwlJones for the Rise Fly rod Giveaway. This one was inspired by a “Wednesday Nibbles” post by Troutrageous. The goal was to use a stick, line, and fly and catch a fish over 10 inches long. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t able to catch a 10+ fish. I did land a nice 8 inch sunfish.

There was also hidden task I found over here and I fulfilled that duty at the end of the video.
Stay tuned for my entry for the next essay portion of the contest. Bye.

My Easter Contribution

We had friends over for dinner yesterday and had a great time. Along with ham, popovers, and strawberry shortcake, we had a great dish that I learned from another friend. It is very easy and exttremely tasty.

Baby red potatoes
Sweet red onion
Sweet potatoes
Rosemary, salt, pepper, olive oil

After boiling the potatoes to soften them up, cut and combine all
other ingredients to proportions of your own liking. Oil. Season. Mix.

Roast in oven until the goodies are tender. Stirring occasionally.

Mmmmmm. Delicious. The instructions aren’t very detailed because
that’s the way I got them. Have fun with the flexibility of the
recipe, and make it your own:)

Rise Contest – Essay Portion: My First Fish on the Rise Level Series

Heed my words children. Listen close to my tale,

For we are about to begin a Journey of unprecedented scale.

Now every word I say to you is absolutely true, I swear.

This story is as real as you, sitting in your chair.

In my early days walking the woods,

I would often meet travelers selling different goods.

One such person, was a wizened old woman,

Selling trinkets and keepsakes, jewels and potions.

I told her I was an outdoorsman, a fisher at that.

To me she said, “Let’s see what I’ve got in back.”

Out of her wagon she pulled three fishing rods.

She said I could only buy one, so I’d have to play my odds.

I chose a sturdy Bait Caster, solid and true.

It felt mighty in my grip. A good decision, I knew.

I paid the woman’s fee, and went on my way.

I turned back to wave goodbye, but she disappeared without a trace.

Strange I thought, this particular chance meeting,

But lucky, I felt, I could now go fishing.

Further down the trail, I came upon a lake.

I waded up to my knees and began casting bait.

As soon as my lure touched the glassy water,

A gust of wind came up, followed by lightening and thunder.

Not a single bite came, and the storm intensified.

The rod felt hot, painful and electrified.

I could hear fish laughing. My rod began to shake.

A tree fell beside me. The shore began to quake.

When, at last, I thought, I could hold the rod no longer.

It jumped from my hands and swam away like a serpent in the water.

Terrified, I fled. Not knowing what happened.

What was that rod? Who was that woman? I felt defeated and saddened.

That night, I curled up beneath the knotty pines.

Sheltered from the storm, I tried to rest my eyes.

When I woke, the sun was rising. The birds had come to life.

I found myself in a clearing, lost, but alive.

As my belly grumbled and I tried to get my bearings,

I heard a familiar noise. A wagon’s wooden wheels turning.

I ran fast as I could after the sound.

There was the woman. She said, “I wondered when you’d come around.”

“You sold me a cursed rod!” I spat in her face.

She calmly stated, “It was your choice which rod to take.

Why not try again? After all, only two remain.”

She held out both rods. I examined their length.

One was familiar, a Spin Casting beauty.

The other was different. On it was written: “Rise Level Series.”

I’d never seen a rod quite like this before.

“It is for fly fishing, my dear,” was the old woman’s retort.

I wasn’t quite sure what I should do,

But there was something about that fly rod, somehow, I knew.

I decided at once “I’ll take the fly rod!”

She handed it to me. Gave me a smile and a nod.

When the rod touched my hand, I heard an angelic song.

A warm light surrounded me, then POOF! She was gone.

When I came to a stream, it was like second nature.

This rod knew what to do, so I listened to her.

The first cast came fast. My arm rose quickly.

The rod was my hand. It was a piece of my body.

Smooth, shot the line, unfolding a tight loop in air.

The rod had my eyes. Line flying like a strand of hair.

The rod was the captain, and I was her daughter.

Proudly watching her sail out to deep water.

Then came the take. My arm shot up.

Cinching my line. Feeling the tug.

Heavy was the pull. Deeply, the rod bent.

A wake issued forth. Upstream, the fish went.

After an amazing fight, this fish swam to my feet.

“Your rod is something special,” He said, “To you, I concede.”

I called it a draw, and let the fish swim away.

For I knew it was the rod responsible for this take.

Now listen, children, please, to the words I have said.

For you may find yourselves with this same choice ahead.

When you reach for that rod, think twice which you choose.

It may make a world of difference for the future you pursue.

For a rod isn’t just a rod. No, it can be so much better.

It could be a magical fly rod, or a cursed Bait Caster.

This is for the Rise Fishing and OwlJones.com Rise Fishing rod and Allen reel giveaway.

OBN Writing Prompt: Spicy and Delicious!

Heat the water. Open the packet. Mix and serve. That’s how I like my hot chocolate. Almost…

Throw a dash of cheyenne pepper in there +/-cinnamon and salt.
mmmmmmmmmm….. Heats you up and warms your tummy. Soooo good. I had this while camping in Utah last week. It made the cold nights and mornings more than tolerable.

pic from: http://alifelesssweet.blogspot.com/2009/04/springtime-is-for-hot-chocolate.html

Rise Fishing Rod and Reel contest.

Whew… For those of you who haven’t unsubscribed to this blog yet (Mom and Dad), I think it is time we have a recap. That being said, even this recap is an attempt to score some last manure … I mean minute points for the contest.

Thus far, I feel I’ve made a pretty good push for points. I’ve set most of my pride aside and went for the big point items. That is a link to see what you get points for.

I’m feeling pretty good about this. That being said, I also feel like I need to shower to wash the shame off myself as well as the sharpie. Yes, its still there. I didn’t run straight to the washcloth and soap. I was fortunate to never wake up in college with “silly” drawings all over my face, but I feel like I can sympathize a bit with those who did. Just knowing the marker is there on my chest makes me want to brush my teeth or change clothes.

Well, Owl Jones and Rise Fishing are giving me a distraction, that’s for sure. I’ll have to keep you updated when I hear point totals. I think the contests ends in a few weeks. I guess the task for this week is to make people laugh with a video. I’m not sure how I’ll do with that, but I’ll give it a go.

EDIT: Troutman gave me the heads up that I was supposed to write about my competitors and not my progress in the competition. Oh details. Well, I tell you what. I discovered this whole contest this morning and it basically ruled my day. I did make it out on a few errands. FuncFish and Floggin Water are the other guys I’ve seen around on the contest threads. We’ll see if I notice anybody else, but all I can say is, this contest is about to get dicey. I think Owl has some surprises up his sleeves that will get people points all over the place.

Until then.

Rise contest: Fly Fishing With Me Song

That questionable line at 1:03 is “foggy morn.” Unfortunate phonetic misunderstanding.

Again, this is for the OwlJones.com and Rise fishing Rise Fly rod and reel giveaway. These posts are only allowed to be done until tonight, hence the absolute flurry. But I can no longer apologize. I’m trying to win!

oh and by the way, if you are here for reasons other than these posts, here is My Big Adventure post of my trip fly fishing in Montana and hiking in Utah.