I get asked quite often about when I started tournament fishing and the story often starts out about my first time fishing in the Kenora Bass International, when I was ten years old. My Christmas present from my parents the year before was an entry fee for my Dad and I to fish the tournament. We used to go down to the Harbourfront in Kenora when I was a kid and watch the weigh-ins. I also fished in the Kids KBI tournament off the docks at the Harbourfront before fishing in the big tournament. It was all I wanted to do so it was probably the most memorable Christmas present I ever got.
As a young kid, Gord Pyzer used to swing by on Christmas Eve with a present that was always fishing related and those were memorable too. A cool Shimano jacket one time, a rod and reel one time, that I used for many years.
If you ever want to go fishing and not see anybody on the lake, Christmas Day is a good day to go. I can remember one year in high school it was really warm out and my buddy Eric Hnatiuk had just got his driver’s license. He had a car so he picked me up and we went crappie fishing. I remember it was a good day fishing and that my Mom wasn’t really impressed that we disappeared all afternoon.
Fishing and Christmas have always been related for me because of some of the memorable gifts over the years, the time off for fishing over the holidays and many after-dinner talks with friends and family turning to discussing fishing strategies for the upcoming season.
In high school I was absolutely consumed by fishing of all kinds, including ice fishing. By the time the Christmas holidays rolled around there would be good ice to get out fishing somewhere, so much of my two weeks off would be spent on the ice. I can remember great trips around Christmas time walleye fishing out on the ice road or going crappie fishing in Nestor Falls. New Year’s Day would always be a lake trout expedition somewhere for the opening day of the season.
Jean Paul Jones, one the most popular teachers ever in Kenora used to take bunches of us fishing over the years, around the holidays. We used to go all over the place, catching everything – walleye, crappie, stocked trout. He was great because there were some of us who were really into fishing and he acknowledged that but JP would always bring someone along who maybe didn’t get to opportunity to go very often and he’d make sure everybody had fun. He took a lot of kids fishing over the years and Christmas time reminds me of him.
If you’re still looking for a last minute present for somebody and they like fishing or the outdoors, there are plenty of great options to cover all price ranges from simple fishing lures to high-end apparel. Anglers can never have too much stuff, trust me. Ice fishing season is just getting rolling now with the colder temperatures finally tightening everything up. Ice anglers can always use a new lure, pair of gloves, snowmobile helmet, even a new fillet knife, you have plenty of options.
I hope everybody has a great holiday and finds some time to get out fishing.