An Outdoorsman's Journal
Friends for Life!
So I am in 6th grade at Poynette Middle School and so is Patti Shaw. We are in the same homeroom through our senior year and every year we sit next to each other, and we always laughed and had a blast.
This week’s column is mixed up with past and present as I returned to Algoma to fish for salmon with Patti and Jeff Rouse and hang out at their vacation home in Algoma, just like I did 20 years ago for the first time.
Back in 2001 with my six-month-old daughter Selina and her mother we joined the Rouse’s for our first trip to Algoma and it just happened to be Algoma’s “Shanty Days Festival” which also included a salmon fishing contest. At that time the Rouse’s fished out of a 25-foot Starcraft “Chieftan” and I have to admit I have never been very wise to downriggers and the gear that goes with deep water, great lakes fishing.
Long story short on our first night out I caught a 24-pound King which held second place until Sunday morning and then it fell to fourth. I had my trophy mounted and right now I am looking at it from my desk. That salmon was netted after dark and was quite possibly the strongest fish that I have ever fought.
So, the Rouses and I have an almost twenty year in a row history of getting together and salmon fishing is just part of it. The only time I ever golfed we went to a three-hole course and Jeff and Patti who are avid golfers realized that there was zero hope.
When I first started trying to kill myself out of a canoe by fishing for salmon in the dark, I had a close call with death that is in my top hundred of close calls. Even though I had a Coleman lantern running and hit the charter with my spot light my guess is that the drivers windshield was fogged over. In all honesty, he was no more than thirty yards from a direct center hit before I was spotted, and an emergency move was made.
Patti and Jeff have been lifelong friends of Selina’s as she went on this trip for about ten years and then each school year they would take Selina binge shopping before school started. Jeff old buddy, now that Selina is all grown up would you take me binge shopping?
Jeff and I always give each other crap in a major way and it is a blast and Patti loves it, and Jeff is also fun to drink beer with.
So on day one of this year’s outing, we caught one fish which made us very happy. Jeff caught about a ten pound rainbow trout after pushing me over and yanking the pole out of my hands, don’t worry Patti I am not hiring a lawyer to cover my latest injury!
In all honesty we really do not care about fishing salmon or if we catch anything as much as we used to and possibly Jeff did not brutally assault me but what we do is have a blast and Patti who used to own and operate the best restaurant in Lodi the “Spring Creek Country Inn” cooks excellent meals.
When it comes to very cool communities in Wisconsin, Algoma rates right up there and that is always because of the people.
Jeff and Patti keep their boat at The Algoma Boat Club and had a very positive man who had a slip next to theirs. This is not a real happy story but last year or the year before he was launching his boat for the season, suffered a heart attack and died by his boat. This fella could catch salmon in a bathtub and never gave Jeff and I a hard time when we had a lesser catch than him.
My point on that is that he died doing what he loves, and it was quick.
Jeff has been literally begging me to come back and fish with him next year so I can teach him how to fish salmon once again. About all I can say is that if my classmate from forever ago “Peppermint Patti” comes long I shall return, possibly I can take up golf and teach Mr. Rouse how to swing a club!
Smile lots! Sunset