The other day at carving, the conversation led to the upcoming fishing derby. Now for those of you who don’t know about fishing derbys this is how it works in the winter.
Local organizations use them as fundraisers. They are held out on the lake, which is safely frozen over. They plow some roads out on the ice and then they proceed to drill hole after hole for fishing. All you need is a few dollars for a ticket and a ice fishing pole. The poles are short and have a sharp end so you can poke it down in the ice. You attach a bobber and put a wax worm on your hook or whatever your choice of bait is..and throw it down into the hole..the hole is circular maybe 10 inches across..then you watch your bobber. Oh, you need a Fishing License too..and you should be dressed warm..and then be patient and wait for the fish to bite. There are prizes for different size fish. It varies from one derby to the next, they each have their own criteria.
Anyway one of the gals asked my cousin Chuckie what the “secret” was to fishing a fishing derby. Chuckie just laughed and replied “There is no secret, it is just dumb luck.” He went on to tell us of one year, he was on the lake and had saved an extra hole for a little hunting/fishing buddy of his who was a no show..when Uncle Adolf showed up a half an hour late. Chuckie told him to take the empty hole next to him..so he did and wouldn’t you know it..he caught a big fish, a big enough one to take home some prize money.
My Uncle was a good fisherman, I am sure that he would have said that it was skill that snagged that fish. He liked to fish, summer and winter.
One time, probably around 1958 my baby brother and I stayed at Uncle Adolf's and Aunt Lila’s for a weekend. They took us fishing in a boat out on Bad Medicine Lake, I believe this was the first time I was ever in a boat on a lake. I thought being in a boat on the lake was both magical and a little bit scary. I had been on lakes in the winter and was comfortable fishing on a frozen lake, or in the summer fishing safely from a dock near the shore..but a boat..that was a big deal. I loved watching the water over the side of the boat. I don’t remember if we caught fish or not..but I do remember that we had fun, and a ice cold soda and a candy bar:)