Northern Wilds Magazine
Points North

Points North New to Area, Seeking a Partner…for Fishing

By Shawn Perich

A fishing friend met a woman, got married and moved from the North Shore to the Pacific Northwest. He’s been spending fall and winter out there for a few years. There is good fishing for salmon and steelhead, he says, but he’s still learning how to catch them. That task has been frustrated by his inability to meet a suitable fishing partner. I think he’s getting desperate.

“I’ve been looking on Craig’s List,” he told me during a recent phone conversation.

“Ummm, I’m not sure what sort of partner you’ll find on Craig List…” I replied.

“Don’t even go there!” he said. “I’m serious. It isn’t easy to find someone you enjoy going fishing with.”

He’s right about that. Most of us have a small circle of friends and family with whom we enjoy going fishing. Very often, we’ve been fishing with those same folks for years. Good fishing companions are as comfortable as old shoes. That’s why they are so hard to find or replace.

I have a short list of regular fishing partners—a friend who I’ve been fishing with since age 8, a couple of guys who come along when I’m trolling on Lake Superior or fishing inland lakes for walleyes, and a couple of friends with whom I only have a chance to join on the water on rare occasions. Two other partners, my father and Vikki, are now casting on celestial waters.

Often, I go fishing alone or in the company of a dog. One reason is because doing so fits with my schedule—I can sneak out on close-to-home waters (and there are many) for a couple of hours early or late in the day. But another reason is that I’m comfortable in my own skin. I enjoy being alone on the water, be it a lake or a trout stream.

Fishing alone does have drawbacks. A day trip into the Boundary Waters, for instance, becomes drudgery when only you are lugging the canoe and all the gear across the portages. Other times, it’s just easier to cover the water when there are two of you. But the biggest drawback to fishing alone is you have no one with whom to share the good times—a fast bite, a big fish or a chance encounter with a wild critter. Those are the times I wish someone else were there to enjoy them.

But—and don’t take this the wrong way—it has to be a special someone. For starters, the two of you need to enjoy the same style of fishing. For example, casting dry flies for trout and casting jerk baits for muskies really doesn’t mix. It also helps if your partner is at the same skill level as you. It’s no fun jigging for walleyes if you have to stop every so often and rebait your partner’s hook or untangle his fishing line.

Personal habits play a role, too. I don’t want to go fishing with the guy who shows up at 6 a.m. with a twelve-pack. I’m also not crazy about the impatient types who start getting fidgety when they haven’t caught a fish in the first five minutes. Then there are the super-intense types who are so focused on catching fish that they forget to have fun. And the boat seat quarterbacks who second guess every move you make and offer endless, unasked-for suggestions about how and where you should be fishing.

Sometimes, you can weed out these characters before you ever commit to going fishing. Others get to come along one time. I recall a guy who talked a good game, then borrowed a rod and tackle from myself and a friend. On the trout stream, he quickly became bored and wanted to go home. Back at the vehicle, he broke my friend’s rod in the car door and promptly proclaimed, “Well, that’s fishin.” That was fishing all right—and for the last time with us.

I’ve fished with guys who really knew their stuff and others who possess a natural instinct for catching fish. But I’ve also had good times with folks who never rise above a basic level of fishing competence. For whatever reason, they just don’t seem to get it. You can tell them your deepest, darkest fishing secrets without worry, because they’re—dare I say it—clueless.

A little friendly competition can be fun—like a one-dollar bet on the first or most fish. But it isn’t any fun at all if you are with one of the ego-driven types who must have the top catch or they pout and get cranky. Best of all are fishing partners who are the happiest when you catch fish.

So what makes a good fishing partner? First and foremost, I think, is someone who is willing to take the day as it comes. Sometimes you have a breakdown or the weather throws you a curve. Good partners know that’s just part of going fishing. A good partner just enjoys the day, even when it doesn’t go as planned or you come home skunked.

Pitching in is important, too. That means paying your share for gas and bait. It also means rolling up your sleeves to do your share of the work, from cutting holes in the ice to cleaning the catch at the end of the day. It may even mean setting aside some of your precious fishing time to help a kid or a less experienced angler. More importantly, it may mean lending a hand to strangers when they have boat troubles or some other angling calamity.

The best angling partners are the ones who are willing to put up with your quirks, meet you halfway on the day’s fishing decisions and maybe teach you a new trick to catch a fish. The latter is the sort of fishing partner my friend in the Pacific Northwest wants to find. I think that eventually, he will. But I have a funny feeling that it won’t be on Craig’s List.

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Verified by MonsterInsights