I asked the men's group I am a part of to pray that God would reveal Himself to me and show me His power in a very real way. Here is what happened just four day later.
On December 2, 2006, it was early morning and I pulled the boat down to the river. I was listening to a Christian radio station and they announced the temperature was a chilly 5 degrees with a wind chill of 12 below. Nevertheless, I was eager to get on the water and do some walleye fishing.
I backed the trailer into the water and fired up the boat. Having tied it up to the dock, I turned on the graph to let things warm up while I parked the truck and got my cold weather clothes on.
Walking back down to the boat, I slid most of the way on ice that formed from pulling the trailer out of the water. The graph showed the water temperature was 33.7 degrees, and I thought, "That's cold! It's going to iced up soon."
I headed up river to a spot which the weekend before had produced some nice fish and plenty of action. I cranked the throttle wide open on the 60 horse and started breaking waves.
Suddenly, the boat hit a submerged log and my body was airborne--I slammed into the freezing water and sank like a rock. Three big strokes later I broke the water's surface and struggled to get a big breath of air, but sank again as I fought to get my big pack boots off.
When I got to the surface my limbs were numb and my face was freezing. My immediate thought was, "Get to the boat!" but it was going wide open in a circle. I tried anyway but the waves the boat were making, along with the wind were just too much. Also, I could very easily be run over by the boat. I turned and glanced towards shore and it hit me, "Oh my gosh, I am going to die in this river over a bunch of stinking walleyes."
For a few moments I considered just breathing in the water and letting myself drown. Then I thought of my three grandkids and I cried out to God, "Please Lord help me make it to shore. Lord, they need their grandpa."
I flipped over to a back float and slowly paddled my way towards shore trying my best to keep my head above water. My body was gasping and shaking due to the cold. I knew I had to get my breathing under control and try to relax. Waves of freezing water were crashing on my face. When I got water in my mouth I swallowed it instead of trying to cough it up. I kept praying over and over again, "Lord, let me make it to shore."
All a sudden I kicked the bottom and turned over and caught sight of two men on shore. They were yelling to me saying, "You can do it! Come on!" I got to about waist deep water and I told them I could not go any farther. My clothes were to heavy and I was overcome with exhaustion and cold. The two fellows ran in and got me up the steps to a waiting squad car with its heat on high.
The wife of one of the men who helped bring me out of the water got in the seat next to me and kept talking until the ambulance arrived. She told me she was making coffee when she heard a boat coming up river. She could not believe someone was out when it was so cold! She got to her dining room window just in time to see me fly out of the boat and hit the water. She screamed to her husband, "Oh no! Someone just flew out of a boat into the water."
She called 911 and the dispatcher told her not to watch because, "In that cold water he will not make it out."
The Pierce County Water Patrol was called to drag for the body and a Hastings, Minnesota ambulance was also called to pick the body up.
She watched anyway while her husband and a neighbor friend ran down to the shore. (At that time of the year there were no boats along the shore because they were all stored for the winter) By the grace of God they were there to pull me out of the water and help me up to the waiting squad car. After a short visit with the lady, the paramedics arrived and walked me up to the back of the ambulance.
They stripped off my wet clothes and wrapped me in a pile of blankets. The paramedics were asking me questions and talking to me and laughing. I was telling them how big my God was and to call my wife to bring me some dry clothes. When I got to the hospital, I was put in an air mattress that had thousands of holes which circulate warm air around the entire body. It's called the Bear Hugger--and it felt great.
After being out of the water and under the Bear Hugger for and hour and a half, they took my core temperature and it was still only 93 degrees. At 93 degrees your organs are supposed to start shutting down. The doctor figured out my core temperature and been somewhere in the 80's when I was helped out of the water.
While laying under the Bear Hugger my daughters, my sons-in-law, and grandchildren came to see me. Tears were flowing. It was hard for me to believe I almost lost my life and the privilege of having an impact on my grandkids' lives. (let alone the rest of my family and friends)
A Pierce County Water Patrol officer showed up to file a report and was amazed that I had survived. He told me that when the call came in stating that a guy flew out of his boat into the water and that he would need to drag for the body he thought,"What in the world is a guy doing fishing on such a cold day anyway." But, when he was on his way to the river he got a call that I had made it to shore and was on my way to the Hastings Hospital.
After I was released from the hospital five hours later, my two sons-in-law and I went back to the river and retrieved the boat.
The next day I could not move. I was sore from head to toe and had a hard time breathing. I ended up back in the emergency room.
A week later I was hospitalized again for further testing. After getting settled into my room a nurse came in and stated, "You're that guy!"
I said, "What?"
She said, "You're that guy that went swimming in the river!" She then gave me a big hug and said,"I cannot wait to get home to tell my husband. He was one of the paramedics that picked you up that day. He said they got a call to pick up the body of a fisherman that had gone in the river. But, when they got there the guy was alive and laughing and telling them how big his God was." She then went on to say, "tonight when I get home I am going to tell him, "You may have picked him up but I am his nurse!"
I had about every test done that's possible . My file is a case study at the hospital and many of the doctors around the hospital stopped by to say "Hi!" They were amazed that with a core temperature in the 80's no damage was done to any organs and that I never lost consciousness.
According to the world I should not have survived. On March 6, 1968, nine elite Marines trained as water survival instructors at the Marine Corp Physical Fitness Academy, capsized while paddling a war canoe across the Potomac River. They wore sweat suits and they had seat cushions but no life jackets. The temperature was 36 degrees Fahrenheit. None of these men were able to swim the 100 yards to shore. This is the bluntest of messages for all of us.
Doctors stand amazed and just say I'm one lucky guy to be alive!
Yes, I am but it's not luck. God spared my life once again. He is the reason I am alive today. He showed me His power in a very real way. Friend, God wants a personal relationship with you.
River Dan's Guide Service (651) 503-6624
This weekend River Dan will be holding his 7th Annual "It's Great To Be Alive" party for his family and friends.
"Kaden's story began on Monday, September 19, 2011 when he fell at daycare and bumped his head on the toy shelf. Even though they were most concerned about his head, he also hurt his knee. Over the next two days Kaden limped around, but didn't complain about his leg hurting...typical Kaden! We decided to take him to Urgent Care on Wednesday and so the story begins..."
This was the beginning of one man's goal to raise money for children cancer research. Bob Pries, a construction manager and volunteer fire fighter in Byron, MN made the commitment to his friend Logan to make the one day, 25 mile hike with the hopes of raising $2,500.00 to aid in finding a cure for the cancer that has taken Kaden from Bob and the Tjossem family.
Bob came to a fishing web site that he's been a member of since 2004 of all places to try and drum up some support. What does a bunch of guys (and gals) that talk about fishing all day care about raising money for a cancer cure? Read on!
Bob set up a CureSearch page to take donations. When he came to the fishing site he was just under the half way mark of reaching the $2,500.00 goal. Then a fellow that goes by Pay It Forward appears.
Pay It Forward is in his mid 80's and had some history with the generosity of the fishing world himself. A few years back a drunken young adult stole his boat. Well that was after the same young adult tried to swim across the Mississippi River and became lost. Before the police arrived, a local fisherman went out to look for him. Found him hanging onto a tree and brought him safely back to shore. Prior to stealing Pay It Forwards boat, this young adult stole at least eight St Croix rods from the good Samaritan angler. Then he stole the boat and all the gear in it.
Three days later the boat was recovered with a modest $600.00 damage. The labor to fix Pay It Forward's boat was donated by a fine fellow by the name of Dan in Hager City, WI. The remaining $300.00 came in the form of check donations. No one asked for donations. Just posting the story in the fishing forum sparked the kindness in people and the repair bill was paid.
Hand written in on the memo line of one of the checks was the words "Pay It Forward". A check was sent to Bob's fund raising listing $300.00 from Pay It Forward. This was all that was needed to inspire my mind into thinking about what I could do to help Pay It Forward. Thus came "The Challenge".
The challenge was for the website member to donate $500.00 in less then 15 days and I would shave my head. First off I really didn't think that amount of money would be raised but it was and I followed through with my commitment.
A good friend Jarrett suggested that I have this hair made into fishing jigs, then donate the proceeds to Bob's hike. I knew just the person that could help me out with tying the jigs. Bucktail Wayne, an upper Midwest jig tying legend. With no questions asked he had 25 1/4 ounce jigs tied up and we offered them for sale at $10.00 each. A $250.00 donation was made just the other day.
The folks on the website had fun with my chrome dome and they're still joking about what could be caught on a jig made with my hair. BTW we should have charged more for the jigs with more silver in them. :) Yes we had a lot of fun and silliness with this, but at the end of the day cancer sucks and even more so in children. Bob exceeded his goal by more then doubling it.
Written May 22, 2013 12:19pm
"One year ago today we sat with Dr. Arndt in her office and she told us that Kaden's cancer had spread to his lung and spine, all while he was receiving some of the best chemotherapy drugs to treat osteosarcoma. Our world turned upside down once again. Today, the Sobiech family will hold Zach's visitation in Stillwater, MN. Right now, osteosarcoma feels alot like the tornado that devastated the town of Moore, Oklahoma. Both cancer and the tornado were uninvited when they decided to rip through all of our families. They didn't care about the destruction and heartache that they would leave in their path. The tornado bounced around Moore destroying many houses, schools, and businesses within minutes. Osteosarcoma moved freely around Kaden (and Zach's) body, disrupting vital organs and eventually shutting them down. The tornado and cancer stole precious lives that can never be replaced. The biggest difference about these two...osteosarcoma doesn't get "the press" like a natural disaster does. The effects are the same however. You ask yourself, "Where do we go from here?", "How do we 'rebuild'?" Billions of dollars will be spent to rebuild the city of Moore; unfortunately, billions of dollars will not be spent on finding a cure for childhood cancer."
"Kaden Samuel Tjossem - born October 19, 2007. May he rest eternally on this day December 22, 2012. He put up a valiant fight against cancer for 15 months and one day. He has finally won because cancer can live no longer inside of him. He is free of that burden and we are so proud of our son for being so strong for all of us. We love you and we will forever miss you Kaden. In Logan's words, "He was the perfect son"
As I was writing this, I read Kaden's CaringBridge pages for the first time. Catfish guys don't let tears streak down their cheeks, but if you choose to read Kaden's Mothers thoughts and feelings, there isn't any way possible not to connect with her heart.
I donated my hair. Few if any of the fishing site knows Bob, Logan or Kaden. The fishing community came together and donated what counts, their hard earned money by Paying It Forward in the hopes of being closer to a cure, not a treatment but a cure for this ugly killer of children and adults.
Many heart felt thanks goes out to all of the fishermen that contributed! I think Kaden said it best.
Kaden, you look like a 'ell of a cat fisherman!
From White Bass to Walleyes to Catfish, reports around Everts Resort on Pool 4 near Red Wing, MN have been improving over the last month. With the very cold, slow start to the fishing this spring many of us here were thinking about taking up golf.
White Bass- The Lake City DNR's office has been out sampling and tagging this under utilized fighting fish. If you haven't fished for these crappies on stariods, they will not disapoint you with their fight or the taste in the frying pan. The easiest way to get into a mess of these scrappers is to watch the shoreline in the morning or evening. They will school and bust the surface while feeding many times under an over hanging tree. Using a Shad Rap works very good but casting a popper plug under the trees gives and explosion of water just before the rod starts bending. Once on them, putting 25 or so in your bucket isn't too hard and is down right fun!
Flathead Catfish- This years Flathead Cat fishing was sent into a tizzy like the other fish. As the water temps rose to the fishing levels, the river went out of it's banks and so did the fish. All of that is behind us now and we're back on fish. Live bullheads around the 8" size have been working well. Suckers in the 8 to 10" size are still working and I wouldn't be afraid to cut one in half using it for cut bait on one of the rods.
Since bait shops with bullheads are pretty hard to find, I'll list a few that I know of that generally have a good supply in stock.
Four Season Sports in Red Wing
Everts Fishing Resort on the River
Matt's Lucky Bait in Lakeland, MN for all of you St Croix guys.
Here's River Rat Randy and his client with a few keepers from today's walleye guided trip.
Denver Rigging has been very effective in bringing fish to the boat. We've just started hearing of fish being taken off of the wing dams by pitching jigs with Moxies and Pulsars. Good old Ringworms will work as well. Dragging plastics in the WI Back Channel will put a smile on your face although as the water is dropping the dead heads and sand bars are getting closer and closer to the surface. Be careful out there!
Don't forget the lead core and long line tolling on Lake Pepin has been strong for quite a while now as well.
Now if your youngster is looking for something larger then pan fish and you feel he's ready to move up to a scrapper fighting fish, Get him or her down to the river with some Sudden Impact fiber bait. The action will be fairly fast and there's no telling the size of fish you'll end up with. Above is Nicole Michel and her 6 year old Ethan. They're holding his 10 pound channel cat that had Ethan's rod bent under the boat while pulling drag out. That's going to be a fish he's going to remember for a long while.
Channel Cats are plentiful and can be fished at any time of the day or night. Just last week there was a group of nine staying at Everts Resort and over their three day stay they cleaned over 300 channels cats!
Inexpensive! Just use one of your heavier walleye rods, attach a 2 oz sinker, a swivel, a 1 foot leader using you're fishing line and finally a #6 treble hook. I bend down the barbs on the hook for ease of taking the hook out. Poke your hook into a jar of Sudden Impact and toss it out. If you don't feel the bump of a fish in 15 minutes move close or further away from shore or move to another location. Really, it's a simple as that! Oh, don't leave your rod unattended. Channels are noted for pulling rods and reels into the river.
Don't forget sturgeon season is just around the corner on the St Croix River!
More information can be found at the bait shops listed above. Or send an email to me I would be glad to help you out.
In the mean time, get out there and enjoy the Summer of 2013!
So what's the trick? After talking to many of the River Rats and Pro's that fish the river, there is a little secret that will help the new person avoid the feeling of frustration that I did some years ago.
Here's my disclaimer. I'm not a good walleye/sauger fishermen. Don't claim to be, don't want to be. But I did want to know what we were doing wrong and it's always a great feeling to help out a fellow angler and to get a note from them after their fishing trip saying your advice help them out. /end of disclaimer
The river currents are slow this time of year making it a great time for the person that hasn't been on the river much. Couple safety tips that fit the river as well as lakes. Wear a PFD. The inflatables are inexpensive enough and comfortable enough that they can be worn all day without knowing you're wearing one. The whole idea is to stay in the boat, but 40 degree water isn't anything to play with.
Check in at a bait shop for any hazards you need to be aware of. On Pool 4 here, if a bait shop owner tells you where the few hazards are, it's not a big deal. If your lower end tells you were they are it becomes financially annoying!
Fishing overview. You'll be vertical jigging a plastic bait moving down stream at .3 to .5 miles per hour is 25 to 18 feet of water right down the middle of the river. Sounds pretty darn easy huh? The people that come off the river each day fishless might not agree. Hopefully I'll be able to help those folks out below.
First off, locate Everts Fishing Resort on your GPS. Why? Because they have a launch that's open all year round, (yes that means Dec/Jan/Feb/April too) they have the latest tips, river conditions and a fish cleaning house. All that and sometimes meat balls for the launch fee of $7. Once you stop in ask them what colors are working today. Generally speaking it's light colors on bright days and dark colors on overcast days. Once you know the colors, go over to the plastics wall and look for the Super Doo's. This bait has been around a very long time and is perfect for the beginner to catch fish with. Pick out a bag of each suggested color. This last Saturday Catalpa Orange (pictured) work the best for us. Sunday it was Firecracker. Don't ask me why, I leave that up to the fish.
Check with the bait shop again about the size of jig head. The person fishing up front by the trolling motor can use a 1/4 oz jig head. The person in the back might need to go to 5/16ths because of the back of the boat sway. Whatever weight it takes for you to feel the jig head touch the bottom of the river and that's heavy enough to keep your line vertical. Straight down and not angled at all.
Start fishing in no deeper then 25 feet of water. Yes there's fish deeper, but you don't need to fish there and any sauger no matter what size that comes up out of 25+ fow will die according to the MN DNR studies. As you're moving down stream, again between .3 and .5 miles per hour, drop our jig and Super Doo to the bottom then raise it 2 to 4 inches.
Here's the important part. Hold it as still as you can while you count to 20. Then repeat. The bite will come on the hold.
I know, vertical jigging is popping the jig off the bottom and moving it around, well that's what my dad told me anyway. This maybe true for lakes, but this is the river. The river is always moving. While you're counting to twenty, those tentacles of the Super Doo are DOOing there thing giving it the live action. In fact, if your sonar is telling you the depth isn't changing, eliminate the drop to the bottom. The only reason to drop to the bottom is to make sure you're with n the strike range.
"Let the river do the work for you." "Less is more." Are two common quotes I hear in river fishing instruction when it comes to plastics.
A good friend Kerry Harvey of Brownsdale, MN and I went out on Saturday for 2.5 hours and boated 38 fish. Kerry, an accomplished sauger fisherman complained that it was a slow day. I was very happy the day we had, of course good company had a part in this too.
Merry Christmas all!
By the looks of the fish cleaning house at Everts Fishing Resort, a person would think it's the well known March walleye or November sauger bite. Folks from all over the Midwest are hearing about and wanting to cash in on the hard fighting action!
Don't have a boat? There's shore fishing in Red Wing and near Everts Resort. The fishing is fantastic from the head of Lake Pepin all the way up to the dam. That's 11 miles of cat fishing paradise!
Here's a quick "how to" if you haven't tried channel cat fishing yet. Grab your heaviest walleye rod or better yet a medium weight bass rod. Add a 2 or 3 oz "no roll sinker, a sinker bumper, a swivel, about 8 inches of leader made out of your fishing line that's 10 pound test or better and finish off your terminal tackle with a Team Catfish 6/0 Dead Red treble hook. I pinch down the barbs on the treble for easy hook removal.
My bait of choice this summer has been Sudden Impact fiber bait. With the small fibers mixed into this bait it stays on the hook much better and longer then regular stink bait in these warmer waters. Find a good current seam and make your cast. Many have been catching fish in the 5 to 8 pound range within feet of shore making this a perfect shore fishing bite.
Do not leave your rod unattended! Many many rod/reels have been lost to the river by channel cat anglers that say "I'll keep an eye on it!" These guys mean business. They are hard fighting fish that would rather take your rod for a swim then meet the likes of you!
How do the Mississippi River channel cats taste? I've had people that tried channel cat for the first time tell me "they taste better than walleye!" Prepared correctly, there's a slight sweetness to the taste that might make you a closet cat fishing person! Ol' Pete a cat fisherman from way back taught me his way of cleaning them that I'll guarantee you'll have a very hard time telling the difference between a cat or a walleye at the very least.
Filet the cat just as you would a walleye starting behind the rib cage cutting along the backbone. Flip the filet over and filet off the skin. Now clean off any red meat that was near the skin along with the lateral line. Place your filets in a pan covering them with water and hold over night in the refrigerator. The following day, clean off any yellow that appears. This is fat. Chunk up and coat with your favorite fish coating and pan or deep fry. If you like fish, you'll love channel cat prepared this way!
I do recommend using selective harvest. My choice has been to Catch-Photo-Release channels over 8 pounds and under 3 pounds. But I'll leave that choice up to you.
If your kids have out grown bluegill fishing but still need the action of sunfish, catfish is the perfect fish to target. Relatively fast action, a fight that makes many walleye angler say "I've got the state record walleye on!" only to find out it's a 3 pound channel cat.
Right now is the best time to dial in on some of the years best action!