Greg Peck: Ontario fishing builds friendships
My camera came out repeatedly as I sat in a boat with two fishing buddies Friday evening on Minnitaki Lake near Sioux Lookout in Ontario, Canada.
First, I caught the gorgeous sunset reflecting on the calm water. Then, my friend Bill Simmons hooked a rock. That wasn't unusual. After all, the six of us, in two boats, hooked rocks on the lake bottom hundreds of times during our six days of fishing. This time, however, Bill snagged a rock about the size of a tangerine and pulled it aboard. It was too funny not to document with a photo.
Then I noticed that a jet's white stream of smoke in the twilight sky created an interesting reflection in the darkening waters. The bright, angular streaks made for another intriguing photo.
Finally, we had to photograph one last fish I hooked. I could tell it was another walleye, based on how it stayed low. It felt bigger than it was. That, however, was because I was using an ultralight rod and reel that I had favored almost the entire week and also because Bill's line had become entangled in the fight between man and fish.
When I landed it, the walleye was the last of 58 topping 20 inches the six of us boated last week. We snapped a photo and let it slip back into the water. It was a fitting way to end another satisfying trip to Pickerel Arm Camp, owned by Lee and Julie Edwardson of Janesville.
I've spent a week of fishing in Ontario probably 25 summers. The camaraderie, the jokes and jabs, the insults and plain goofiness that goes on between fishing buddies is something our wives would neither understand nor appreciate. Often, some corny phrase or comment is oft-repeated aboard boat or inside cabin, and, like in that movie about Vegas, it's best that these stay in Ontario. It's a guy thing, I guess. Boys will be boys, and from time to time men will be boys, as well.
It's not that women aren't allowed on these trips. I've fished with the wives of friends on past trips. Whole families enjoy Pickerel Arm Camp. Again on this trip, I renewed acquaintances with a distinguished-looking white-haired man and his wife, who live near Traverse City, Michigan. They frequently rent a cabin near the one we've called home for one week each of the past few summers. Often, they'll sit together on the screen porch in the evening, watching the waterfront activity as the man puffs away on a good cigar.
My friends and I arrived back home Saturday night. We're still friends. We had caught plenty of fish and filled our bellies on fried fillets. We avoided accidents, except for the treble hooks in one hand and the finger that came too close to a fillet knife.
I imagine we'll see that Michigan couple again next year.
(P.S.: I tried my hand at using the office's portable video camera this week; if our online guys can make heads or tails of it, we'll post a little video reflection on the trip in the coming days).