Great times fishing with Grandpa

For anybody to get involved in the sport of fishing, they need somebody to take them out–to teach them and provide them with the opportunity to get a line in the water, whether it’s off a dock or in the boat.
For me, my dad was huge in getting me on the water the water at a young age. He used to take me on fishing trips with his friends when I was old enough to hold a fishing rod and a love of the sport emerged in me.
The other person who was important to me getting involved in fishing was my grandpa, Wally Stewart.
In the 1970s, Grandpa bought a lot and built a cabin on the west end of Lake of the Woods, in Echo Bay. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time there with him and then later when my parents purchased it from my grandparents.
The camp was really the basis for where my love for fishing grew. It was in probably the best area of the lake at the time for multi-species fishing. There was—and still is—great bass fishing, plenty of pike, excellent lake trout, as well as opportunities for walleyes and largemouth bass.
My grandpa had a 14-foot Lund boat with a 15 h.p. Evinrude motor that I’ve probably spent some 2,500 hours in. That was the boat we always fished out of together and then later I was able to take it out on my own as long as I stayed in the bay.
As I got older, I was allowed to venture further and further away from home.
While my dad loved to fish and went often, he always targeted fish you could eat, like walleye and lake trout. That was (and still is) the mentality with a lot of people across Sunset Country–and that’s great.
Where I really had a connection with grandpa was he always was interested in catching the other species like bass and pike. My mom tells me that his father, my great-grandpa (who I never met loved) to fish, as well, so it definitely runs in the family.
He used to have a subscription to “Fishing Facts” magazine, the best fishing magazine of its time during the late ’70s and 80s. I used to spend hours studying those old books and still have a huge box full of them.
I’m not sure what my girlfriend, August, thinks I’m going to do with them, but they hold too much sentimental value for me so I’ll do my best to hide them out of sight.
I literally have hundreds of great memories sharing the boat with Grandpa, but one of the best was when I was around eight or nine years old. He had received a handful of new lures from his friend, Len Rattai. They were a soft plastic lure that was supposed to be hot in the U.S. for bass.
We drove out to camp (my dad, Grandpa, and I) and went fishing. We caught bass after bass in Echo Bay and that was my first experience with the tube jig.
Over the years, it has become probably the most reliable smallmouth lure on the market and has helped me win a lot of money over the years.
Grandpa hasn’t fished with me for a few years now as his age has caught up with him somewhat. He has been battling some health issues for the past couple years but is celebrating his 86th birthday today (Nov. 23), so I couldn’t help but remember all the good times we’ve shared together.
It’s tough for all of us to find free time these days but if you get the opportunity to take someone fishing (a neighbour, a kid, a grandparent), take them.
We have so many great places to fish across the region, it’s time for you share your favourite spot.

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