During one of my senior moments I was taking a nap, I had a fishing dream. I was thinking about a fishing trip with a new age charter service. Fishing some water that no one I knew had ever fished. Pristine, untouched by human hands. No garbage laying at the public access. Maybe catching a fish no one had ever heard of before. Frying it up at a shore lunch and thinking to myself, wait until the folks back home see the photos.
The ship was sent for me, had heard I was a great fisherman and was sent specially to pick me up and fly me off to test these new waters. I hadn’t seen a jet boat like this before but I went with it, for the dreams sake. They had the coolest fishing vests, air packs for hovering over rapids and little patches over the pockets that said, Lunarfishing dot com.
Once on board the craft they gave me a new fishing rod that required no reel, it’s a totally new concept in rod design that the fishing rod itself contains all the line internally at whatever pound test you dial up in the no longer cork handles, but a new space age material called “fishtonite”.
You hit the only button on the rod handle with your index finger when you cast single-handedly (and by the way, all the local guys on shore were one handed )anyhow, out shoots the line at a pre set electronically scanned distance’s to make precise casts. My three eyed fishing guide said I was natural.
The rod had a built in fish locator that scanned the waters surface and beeped a stronger signal as I waved the rod ever closer to the fish specie I was after and it worked on streams or lakes. What a rod, the end guide lit up, set the casting distance and even offered suggested lures if I had it on automatic, instead of on lunar mode.
It was really a friendly crew and they said for just a regular two eyed multi handed guy they would send me a fishing pole to use back home. They asked if I wanted a left or right handed model, I chose a lefty because I was in the right side of my brain.
They asked me for my home address when I got done fishing, I was to be lunar fishing dot coms first field tester in one very big electric field. I was buzzing. They said this new rod May help me catch a few more fish. Oh I was happy. I said you can reach me at ………..the trout whisperer @ Planet earth, Northern hemisphere, State of Minnesota, amidst the southern fringe of one fine Canadian Shield, yet Under the canopy of The Laurentian Mixed Forest, surrounded by the Arrowhead region, and beholden to, lake county Sincerely, out of his inter galactic mind, the trout whisperer………P.S. I am expecting a package any day now.
On my computer, at work, is a photo of me holding a very nice stringer of walleyes. In the photo I'm wearing sunglasses and a green earth tone raincoat on a walleye wind chopped lake. The scenery in the background is typical boreal forest with a rock atop rock accented shoreline.
The sun will set in this photo in about one hour so it gives a luminescent yellow tinge to any of the foreground. The walleyes are white bellied with golden sides and black backed. With the sunlight on the fish scales the fish actually shimmer, even in the photo.
The entire scene is back dropped with very large storm clouds scudding off into the distant eastern horizon, hence the rain coat and windy lake surface.
Now at the ripe old age of midlife, this photo answers it for me. I got a limit of walleye. They're fat, healthy fish. I kept nothing under fourteen and none over seventeen inches. The fish are uniformly perfect to my eyes.
The weather captured in the photo speaks volumes if you knew or know what to look for. We fished a front. As it passed through the walleye bite couldn’t have been more aggressive.
The photo also show’s things that are missing. No other boats, cabins or lodges. We had the lake entirely to ourselves and selfishly enough that was satisfying and tranquil.
If you look close enough you can catch the reflected image in my sunglasses of my fishing partner, taking my bragging rights image. While hard to see, he is there. Both of us oddly in the same photo and I can’t tell you how great that is. We fish a lot together and I have had some fantastic trips with him so you won’t be able to see or feel that but the photo recalls it quietly, for me.
I'm a small lakes kinda fisherman so my boat in all its fourteen foot glory makes the lake seem immense, the shoreline so distant and portrays me as a great North American walleye fisherman encapsulated in mysterious water. So if I never told anyone, it’s but a hundred acre lake tucked off a gravel graded road. But once again the photo is silent.
My beard stubble reminds me I was there over three glorious days. The red face is not sunburn, but wind burn. It was the Minnesota opener and we do not do much sunbathing in northern Minnesota on the opener. The photo has no small date on the printed image or time. Another well kept secret if I do not want to let that cat out of the bag.
So the picture reminds me not only of a stringer of fish you may happen by and see, it also shows the friendship, weather and water. Its really one of an insignificant number of the millions of photos developed, but its mine, about me.
So as I said earlier this photo answers it for me. For me life is not a question. Life is an answer, and you just need to be opened minded with the questions that come your way. The photo says all kinds of things to me and possibly nothing to you. But if you show up at my desk, sure as shooting I’m going to hold it up and see what it says to you. If it doesn’t answer I will just fill in some details for you if that’s all right.
The trout whisperer
The cabin sits on a hilltop with a benched elevation of 1665 ft above sea level, north of Lake Superior. Depending on what map I look at shows an ordinary high water level of between 550 and 610 ft. We have assembled on high.
From this amazing vantage point we can gaze on a clear day and see the Wisconsin shoreline, and if were lucky the ore boats in season headed up or down lake, depending.
It’s from this cabin of highest heights we have gathered to throw a wake, for one of our own. He lived a long life. He died and were going to miss him. His funeral left five of us with more to say. When you have a shirt with a tie at your buddy’s funeral, and all you really remember him wearing was black and red plaid vests, we needed to put him to rest, and us at ease, with his parting.
He would flick his cigar ashes off this deck. We all lit one in his honor. We mixed his favorite cocktail and let it sit on the table in the chair he held sway from most often. We cooked him deep fried chicken wings and beef tips. We served where he sat, and we all ate, laughed, and poured some strong ones down our respective throats. Telling the old stories got him back out of the casket for the afternoon and we let him air himself out before he gets to his final reward.
He drug us around more deer trails, grouse woods or soggy bottomed brookie creeks, so if he’s late for the pearly gates it’s almost like we were getting even with him. Just talking him up for the day, made us all feel abit better besides.
None of us were, in what the church, would consider our Sunday best. But we couldn’t have been more properly attired for an old cabin in the woods wake. Boots that thumped, and showed wear. Red vests with black chromer hats and faces fully whiskered with stogies sending him smoke signals just made for a more fitting dress code.
When he was lying long in the box, he just wasn’t dressed right. So today with the fryer spitting hot oil and some of the boys reminiscing about not only his good but bad days, seems to fit.
At the real funeral, everyone gave glowing reports about a curmudgeon we dealt with, less the mortal, now today, ah, instant immortality and more as mere human. He seems to be sitting up again as the guys go over his realness, but that just may be the cocktails influence on the boys in the room.
Well like any fine Irish wake, it’s got to end. So while we can still stand, we pour his partin glass, one sip at a time into us. You don’t waste good whiskey. His plate full of vittles gets fed one bite at a time to the dogs here lying warming the floor. Striplings of mid life bid a parting to the old master.
We snuff the cigars and damper the stove. Dogs actually rouse and wonder why were not staying the night. He’s gone and we have to go. But this time, he’s gone with a forested salute. I think he’s resting easier now.
The trout whisperer
Pesco-vegetarianism means you eat veggies and fish, and I do that as often as possible so I’m considered one of these at times. Carnivore, if I machinate the definition just a bit means I’m an animal that eats other animals (not to be confused with a cannibal), so once again I feel included here. Finally if all I hungered for was a salad we have the plant eaters. Yeah I love my whole grain goodness so I think I have most if not all the food groups covered and I can comfortably eat with just about anybody who doesn’t dine exclusively on tofu.
If I just said I’m a full blown omnivore that would have covered everything but that’s like eating dinner without a salt shaker, A shore lunch without the lake shore. Ice cream without chocolate sauce and that’s makes no sense so I go heavy on both from the sweetened dairy section.
When things get a bit over cooked and perhaps under done, is where some folks won’t eat, can’t eat, or choose not to eat peanuts, meat, eggs, dairy and so on. The reasons can be medical, to I just hate spinach, but unlike a guy I fished with last Saturday I’m not upset with any of the other select refined palette food groups, actually I appreciate them.
We roasted tators lightly seasoned and then just before they were done we laced the skillet with sweet summer onions and the screen porch became an ambient aroma the likes of which Neptune may rethink his immortal state for one more bite. One heavy cast iron cooker half full of oil was spitting like a hissing bobcat when we added freshly breaded filets from blue gills and walleyes taking there final swim. All was right in the world or so I thought, until it got better.
Rod doesn’t eat fish. Rod didn’t eat one piece of fish. Rod is a non fish consumer. Rod was adamant about not eating one piece of fish flesh. I felt bad for Rod, so we ate tenderly around the issue and my picnic table. After Rod left my home two of my buddies behind his back started to tell me what a meal he was missing and how could he be so ridiculous.
They were starting to harp pretty hard on not even trying one bite of a sumptuous feast so I said boys you shouldn’t be so hard on him. If it wasn’t for his generosity you would have eaten less. See boy’s, I’m an all inclusive food processor.
The trout whisperer
I was trained in the fine of art of what the United States army called COMBAT MEDIC. So forgive me for being completely biased on this little issue. First aid kits come in all shapes and sizes. The GI standard issue kit of my day even included a sling that multi tasked as a tourniquet. Hopefully, you will never need something so extreme in any of your outdoor adventures.
Maybe your kit includes sunscreen, basic bandages, and aspirin. That’s fine for a little hillside hike. But if you’re going to take a weekend trip that includes portages or winter camping, or even a week long remote deer hunt your going to want to super size your first aid kit.
When accumulating the necessary supplies, you can talk to first responders or the local rescue squad for some “most often” used supplies. Large outfitters, depending on their specialty and by that I mean are they river trout guides in Wyoming or horseback elk wall tent mountain men who do not carry all the same equipment with respect to first aid.
Buying an off the shelf first aid kit can be a good start. Then go through it item by item. The combat medic teams, I served with, checked each other’s bags for the standard issue items. We knew what was in our kits. We also were instructed in the proper use of these items. There are not many courses I know of that teach first aid unless you have served on your volunteer fire department or had red cross training. But to own the kit and then not know what’s in it, or how to use it is dangerous, if you know what suddenly hits the fan.
A first aid kit is like the spare boat trailer tire. You hope you never need the thing but your awful glad its there if you do. Another big deep breath item is they very fact that you may be using these supplies on a very close friend or loved one. That is typically who we enjoy the great outdoors with. So, if before you leave, you go through the kit with all involved and keeping in mind any special medicines or prescriptions or allergies you can have one awesome FIRST AID KIT.
FIRST AID KIT is in caps because you could literally be the “first aid” someone receives. One more thing, sterile is only until the package has been opened or compromised. Compromised could mean someone spilled orange crush soda on the packaging and it got soaked up. Compromised could be that the expiration date has been achieved.
If you match a good kit with some basic but current CPR you’re a long way towards peace of mind on what’s supposed to be fun in the great outdoors. Hopefully you never have to hear someone yell… MEDIC!