Gone Fishin’

 I do not fish, I do not swim. Last week I fished, I did not need to
swim.
I spent most of my youth in the “kiddie pool” at the Warren, Minnesota Pool
during swimming lessons. I never learned to swim and am stubborn
enough that no adult could teach me otherwise. For this reason, I
never learned to fish, I fear water.
I work for R and R Farms each fall during the sugar beet harvest. I
work for them but they are also my friends. This summer, they asked
me along on their annual fishing trip. I was hesitant; floating upon
a body of water is essentially the same to me as floating upon a body
of molten lava would be to a swimmer.
We arrived at Ballard’s Resort on a Wednesday. I expected maybe a
feel cabins and a picnic table but was shocked at the beautiful
resort with which I was presented. These are really nice digs. I was
able to see many of the resorts from the inlet where we began our
fishing trip and all are lovely places.
Our trip on the boat was eye-opening to me as it was so uneventful. I
was clinging to a life preserver as we began the trip but quickly put
it away as I realized the boat bullied its way through the water as
steady as a school bus.

Our guide was Justin Johnson. Justin worked hard to make sure our day
was rewarding. Justin constantly put us onto fish and slipped in
between and around us to quickly net the fish as we pulled them up.
Justin baited my hook and insisted on fresh bait even when I was
satisfied with what was on the hook. Honestly, I felt ashamed to have
someone cater to me to that degree but Justin was really something.

Five of our crew jumped into a launch with “Mer” (short for Merlin)
who guides fish during the summer and pheasant in South Dakota during
the fall. He reminded me of someone you’d read about in an
outdoorsman magazine. I never spoke to him but just listened and was
pretty impressed.

The highlight of the fishing trip was the shore lunch. It is amazing
to me that there is an island with basic toilet and cooking
facilities in the middle of nowhere. The guides fileted the fish and
fed the seagulls and pelicans first then fired up the stoves for
their human scavengers. The meal was fantastic; I have never eaten
that much fish in one sitting.

I don’t know if I will fish again, it was a good experience-one I’d
never had without the kindness of my buds from R and R. I got my
picture taken with the first fish I ever caught along with our guide
Justin and I was probably the least photogenic of the three. It was
the first of four fish I caught that day, a pretty successful day for
an amateur. My launch-mate, Ed Rosendahl later asked me if I would
fish again; based on my incredible success I said I felt I had
already mastered this sport and would probably have to move on to
something more challenging. I guess I was full of more than just
fish.

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