There have been days in my almost 47 years of fishing which I have considered the greatest fishing day ever.
Days like when I caught my 36" Lake Trout, or my big Pike, or the numerous Walleyes. Until recently, one of my greatest days was fishing in Nebraska when I caught 12 fish in the first half hour, and 200 or so in twenty four hours of fishing.
But...today I took a fishing trip that eclipsed all of those, let me tell you about it.
I went to a lake that was ice free as I wanted to do some open water casting. My friend Mark, and I had discussed this trip for the past week or so. Went to the lake today, weather was beautiful, warm, and clear. Lake looked good,and I walked out and started fishing. I tried several things, including new to me lures, and new lures in general. I was really impressed with Berkley's new Snap Jig and a Twitchtail Minnow, which I got from Austin Parr at Discount Tackle. It looked so real, darting back and forth in the clear water.
How many fish did I catch? None, Zero, goose egg, blanked. Wait? What? How could I have blanked and still consider it the second greatest fishing day ever? Let me explain.
In August of this past year, I required emergency surgery on a bacterial infection that had gone septic and spread throughout my body. During surgery, my heart stopped, and I also had a minor stroke as well. I awoke from surgery to the Dr. peering into my face and saying, "You look like hell!" I must have looked confused, because his next words were, "That's a good thing, you were dead!"
I looked to my left, and my son was crying, and to my right and my mom was crying. I drifted back off to sleep. As one of my friends later told me, "You stared the Reaper in the face..and whooped his butt!"
6 days in Intensive care, and 3 days in a regular room and I came home to recover. The recovery process was slow, and long. I may never completely recover to where I was before. But everyday is a new day and I try new things.
That's the backstory, now back to the second greatest fishing day ever...
I had not been out at all since my hospital stay. I was or am too weak, and still do not have the strength or dexterity in my left arm, hand, leg and side yet. I missed the fall bite, the end of boating season, everything. I yearned to get out.
I planned for this day. It was a struggle, I can only walk half as fast as anyone else, and I tire easily.
But...I did it! I made it out, and proved to myself that I could do it! Better yet, I did it with a very good friend next to me! Catching any fish was a side note to the experience. I enjoyed a great January day outside with a great friend at a new water. What could be a better day?
As I lay in the hospital recovering, and rested at home , it occurred to me that fishing for me isn't about catching fish all the time.
Rather, it's about figuring things out, setting goals, spending time outdoors, and with good friends! I owe so many , so much. I could not have made it this far without the help of so many of my friends. Thank you Daris, Ryan Wood, Austin Parr, Ron Lowry, Nate, Kevin, Tom, James and thank you Mark for not giving up on me, for giving me encouragement, listening when I was struggling, and just
talking fishing with me! I can't thank you guys enough.
In the end, this first trip is in the books. Been there ,done that. My short term memory may never come back. I may never regain the strength and or dexterity in my left hand. That's ok, it just takes a lot longer to tie leaders. I may never regain full normal use of my left leg, or strength in my left arm,but overall I wouldn't trade what I do have now for anything! I'm definitely not the same man as I was, some would say that's better. Other's may say it's worse.
But...I'm happy, and getting better! That my friends is why today was the second greatest day of fishing I have ever had!
Before I forget ( darn short term memory loss), in case your wondering, the greatest day fishing that I ever had was when I took my son fishing and he caught his first fish ever!
I intend to get out fishing much more again this year. I also intend on sharing insights, tips, and anecdotes with you all here my friends.
Take care my friends, don't take nature, or life for granted! Take the time to tell people just how much they mean to you!