Four-legged thieves have to eat

Photo: Chris Passalis of Winnipeg with some of his pickerel catch caught on the Red River by the Selkirk Park.

Hi outdoor buddies.

I hope you survived the Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities. Happily, the good times continue with humorous fishing stories our fellow anglers have offered for our pleasure.

A light breeze sent snow dust skipping around me on a bright afternoon just after Christmas as I made my way on the snow-ice pack out to the portable shacks off the north shore of the Winnipeg Beach harbor. I called out to the folks inside a large blue tent asking how the fishing was. A mature gentle voice called back, “Yes, we’ve had success.”

As I approached a thin fellow with defined features and slightly graying closely trimmed hair peered through the door. Soon, inside, he introduced himself as Jim Bennet and his grandson Tommy Bennet. As we casually talked of this and that he remembered a time winters ago when his son lost his truck keys down their ice hole when fishing on the Gimli south bay. He became frantic realizing his spare keys were at home in Winnipeg.

Luckily anglers in a tent beside them caught wind of his predicament and shouted out saying they had a camera fish finder and were bringing it over. They placed it beside the hole and dropped the fish shaped camera to the lakes’ mud bottom. There not more than two feet from the camera lay the keys in full view. A little snagging action with a weighted jig and the keys were rescued.

Isn’t it great how anglers help each other?

Four or five days ago the snow and ice were no problem as I urged “old red” past Balsam Bays’ harbor. Again, the sun was brilliant on a warm afternoon as I lumbered along passing dozens of ice shacks. To the north about a mile out I saw a bunch of shacks and pointed the old girl toward them.

I pulled up beside a group of guys, stopped and with my door open sat looking at a smiling, tall, heavily built, robust, grey haired fellow. We looked at each other for a moment then he burst out eyes to the clear sky, declaring, “Isn’t it great to be out here on a day like this?” I just smiled back and silently nodded.

Our tall angler, Paul Nellis of Winnipeg, out with his sons Hayden, Chad and James had all caught their limit of nice eating sized pickerel. Standing on the sun drenched ice pack we marveled at the endless sea of portable and hard wall ice shacks stretching out to the northeast as far as the eye could see. I remarked to Paul that in my many years of being with angler’s summer and winter, I had become convinced that way more anglers fished Manitoba’s waterways in the short winter season than during spring, summer and fall.

“Sure,” he said, “we throw stuff in the truck and we’re on the ice fishing in no time.”

Things were hopping on the ice along the Red by Selkirk’s park last week too. I was on the ice walking amongst the shacks passing the time with folks until I came by a guy Chris Passalis of Winnipeg who recalled last winter how he had gotten the better of a thieving dog.

He was fishing with friends here in a tent and as they caught fish they would toss them outside to freeze. Lines with baited hooks were in the water, the smell of coffee and hot cabbage rolls filled the tents’ air, he remembered, when a shuffling sound outside was heard. Chris unzipped the door and peering out was surprised to see a scruffy little black dog trotting off with one of their fish.

“Well,” Chris mused, “he’s got to eat too.”

He rejoined his friends only to hear some time later, his four-legged pest was back. Chris threw open the door seeing the dastardly dog making off with their last fish while at the same time his rod snapped down. He grabbed it and reeled in a big pickerel. Holding it by the gill he opened the tents’ door, this time to put it in the truck. There standing right in front of him with an innocent expectant look stood the thief. Chris stomped over to his truck, opened the door and put his fish on the floor.

“Now try and get that one,” he said as he slammed the door shut.

Till next week, bye now.