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Father / Son Time

MtnElk

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May 17, 2022
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Conifer CO
For the last 13 years (minus covid border closings in 20 & 21) my father and I have gone to Northeastern Manitoba to fish for walleye, pike, and lake trout (and sometimes brook trout). This year was an exceptionally good fishing year, but an exceptionally bad weather year (cold and wet for 11 days). But what struck me the most about this trip was seeing my father start to really slow down and have trouble with some basic activities throughout our time there. He just turned 77 and is a very vibrant guy with a lot of life, but in terms of physical health, 20% of his heart is basically dead and he's definitely overweight. He is active and plays golf a lot, but could be healthier. One of the days when it was exceptionally cold, he was really stiff and said - very sadly - that he is worried his time coming on this trip might be nearing its end. He was having trouble getting in and out of the boats, felt really stiff and all but swore off the one really short portage walk for the rest of time as he was out of breath at the end. It's really hard to hear that, and think about your father's mortality and ability to something he loves more than anything in life.

As a son, these 7-11 day trips are some of my favorite time all year because we get such direct and connected time together - in a place where outside distractions are only able to permeate the conversation and vibe when we are at the lodge and have any sort of connectivity to the outside world. But for 9 hours a day on that boat, its just the two of us and a guide, chatting about life, fishing, and making the typical stupid jokes a camp full of men would make on a boat, at shore lunch, etc

The things I have learned from my father while fishing are some of the greatest life lessons a son could ask for as a child / parent of my own:

1. Don't work too much, you can't take it with you (coming from a man that built a huge company and spend most of his young life away from his family - this one hit home and changed my life as a business owner of my own)

2. Show up for your kids in whatever way you can, but be consistent about it.

3. Find a partner that you enjoy being around, even when they are driving you crazy (got lucky on this one!)

4. Don't wait to pursue something you love / a goal or dream you've had... you might be too old to do it by the time you think you "can justify it"

We said goodbye in the airport yesterday as he flew back to Florida and I made my way to my gate and I got a text from him saying "thanks for another great trip, it's my favorite week of the year". I don't know how much longer we'll have this trip or even just time on earth together, but man oh man what a trip this year was; and I can't wait to see him in a few months when he comes to visit. A week is not all that much time in the grand scheme of things, but if it's packed with quality time, it can make memories that last a lifetime.

For you younger folks, take every advantage you can of hanging out with your dad (and mom) because sometimes their mortality really starts to stare you in the face - and it's not a great feeling.
 
1. Not a trophy, but one of the fattest fish we caught all week
2. Our group trip does awards for the week, my dad cleaned house as Walleye Champ and overall fisherman of the week.
3. Dad, proud as can be over that award... well deserved. He caught quality fish from day one to the last cast
4. Dad caught the largest walleye of the week... and the smallest. 10" haha
5. Our group has daily contests and if you win... they embarrass you and make you wear all this while playing the song from the Olympic medal ceremonies. It was for biggest walleye of the day... and my dad was prouder than hell
6 - 8: Smashing fat laker trophies all week

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Good for you and your Dad! My calendar planning is built around time with my kids (ages 17-9). This year I am prioritizing a trip with each one of them rather than many group outings. I have missed out on many "kills" over the years because I have had my kids along for the trip and I wouldn't trade a thing about it... other than longer trips for more time together.
 
When we were coming back from Winnipeg River in the Winnipeg airport we ran into some guys who had been fishing Bolton Lake. It's funny how guys who have been fishing instantly recognize each other while in line for customs, or at the hotel by the airport.
i kept having total strangers airdropping me fish pictures.
That looks like good father son time.
 
When we were coming back from Winnipeg River in the Winnipeg airport we ran into some guys who had been fishing Bolton Lake. It's funny how guys who have been fishing instantly recognize each other while in line for customs, or at the hotel by the airport.
i kept having total strangers airdropping me fish pictures.
That looks like good father son time.
When was this? Were you catfishing up there on the river? we didnt do that this year, but have in the past

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When was this? Were you catfishing up there on the river? we didnt do that this year, but have in the past

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I was at Eagles Nest Lodge in July of 2022.

True Story... In 2018 we get into Winnipeg and go the Steakhouse for a late dinner and we are the last people in there. Just us and three smoking hot girls. I think it was the bartender, hostess and our waitress. We all order steaks and cocktails and the girls are flirting like crazy. The hostess sits on my lap and opens up her phone......i'm expecting Bikini or better.....



NOPE.....Fishing pictures....
 
I was at Eagles Nest Lodge in July of 2022.

True Story... In 2018 we get into Winnipeg and go the Steakhouse for a late dinner and we are the last people in there. Just us and three smoking hot girls. I think it was the bartender, hostess and our waitress. We all order steaks and cocktails and the girls are flirting like crazy. The hostess sits on my lap and opens up her phone......i'm expecting Bikini or better.....



NOPE.....Fishing pictures....
Depending on when in 2022 July it was, that may have been our group you ran into haha We flew out in a big group on 7/17 last year
 
Depending on when in 2022 July it was, that may have been our group you ran into haha We flew out in a big group on 7/17 last year
17-21. Definitely could have crossed paths in Winnipeg.
 
Awesome stuff, thanks for sharing. I've been fortunate enough to hunt with my dad a fair amount, but it is too often taken for granted and need that reminder that it's not always going to be there.
 
Words of wisdom for sure. My dad passed away 27 years ago. We fished and hunted together a lot when I was young. One of my regrets in life is how often I said no to going fishing with him once I got in my late teens. Chasing girls seemed to be more important at the time. I wish I had went with Dad more. My son is 25 now and luckily he is better than I was. He never says no to hunting or fishing, even though it takes him away from his fiance for a bit. I really am blessed.
 
Good for you MtnElk, those memories are the good stuff.
My father is 81 now and I cherish each day I get to hunt or fish with him, I've been lucky to have as many days afield with him as I've gotten.
 

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