For roughly 5 years Steve Vick brought customer service back to Everts Resort on Pool 4 of the Mississippi River. Everts is located on the WI side about 6 river miles above Red Wing, MN
It was at Steve's going away party that I met the new manager. An ex car salesman by the name of Dean Marshall. Kind of a tall, thin guy with a great smile. He sure seemed friendly enough. Really, to keep Everts Fishing Resort going at the same pace, that's all that was needed. Just a friendly smile to greet anglers when they pull into the Resorts parking lot.
When I first started guiding, I launched out of the Prescott City Boat Ramps. About 20 minutes from my home. As time went on, I started to know Dean a little more. I found out in quickly that he was a genuine and sincere fella. In a very short time, I found myself with a camper at the resort which made my wife very happy. She didn't like me driving home at 3 in the morning from my guided trips. I now had a place to spend the night and we had a place to go on the river for the holidays.
Along with asking questions about catfishing we ended up going fishing a few times. Sometimes for cats other times for walleyes and once in a while for both. On one occasion I watched him cast jigs with plastics, jigs with a minnow, jigs with a worm, blade baits and hair jigs looking for that one walleye we both knew was there. All the while I was leaning back watching my rod for the bounce of a catfish bite and getting tired just watching him doing all that casting. I sure did sleep good that night!
Dean took Everts Resort to the next level in customer service. He stocked more product that river fisherman wanted but more importantly gave them the knowledge on how to use it and be successful. When I first started stopping by there were brown cards of blade baits hanging on the wall behind the counter. I don't think there were more than a couple dozen sold in a year and those people just used them more often than not to snag fish laying close to the bottom. Sonars many people called them and vertical jigging (or ripping) was the most common way to fish them. Along comes Dean and shows a few people how to "pitch" them to shore lines and current seams and the next thing I know, there's pictures of trophy 8 to 11 pound walleyes on the counter of the bait shop and on-line in fishing forums. Today they sell 100's of blade baits a year.
There's a $7 launch fee at the resort, but a couple river miles away there's a free DNR launch. Most people not knowing the secrets of the river would head to the free ramp. The people in the know paid the cash because they knew they were getting far more than a place to drop in their boat. Dean always has the pulse on where the fish were biting and what was the best bait and time of day to use them. While anglers using the DNR ramp would "be on their own", the anglers out of Everts left the docks knowing where to go, what to use and sometimes like a few weeks ago, he would tell them that "the fishing was down right ugly" with the cold front that just came through. To Dean, it wasn't about collecting a boat ramp fee or selling you a couple scoops of minnows, it was about helping you enjoy your time spent on the river. He always felt if you were successful fishing, he would be successful.
Today is the end of an era at Everts. Dean has left the resort and along with him takes that familiar smile and the twinkle in his eye when a customer brought in some baked goods in the hopes of getting that "extra special" fishing information. When I asked Dean what his plans are, he said "Not sure yet. I'm going to take alittle time off and maybe get some fishing in".
Good fishing to you Dean. Your friends from many hundreds of miles around are going to miss you at the resort.