My sister Mary Ellen and me at the Cottage, maybe 1954 or 1955. I went back and took this picture in June of 2000, while on a motorcycle trip around Michigan. It's in the center of this picture. Walpole Island, now called Seaward Island is at the bottom of the picture.

Slow Fishing (video)

June 28, 2013  by RJMS  •  Mexico Diary

Friday June 28

I chuckled this morning as I watched the water run from the tap in the kitchen. It is soooo slow. Like everything else here.

Turns out there are other types of fishing boats in these waters. The little ones. Some have motors, some do not. I recorded some video yesterday and again this morning of some of these one and two man operations, and today’s first two pictures are single frames from those videos, hence their poor quality.

Fishing can also be slow, often is. I have 2 memories of slow fishing.

The first memory is that as a boy, around the age of 9 or 10, I used to ride my bicycle down to Lake St. Clair and sit on the concrete break water along Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe, about 3 miles from my home. Sometimes one or two friends would join me, sometimes I would go alone. I had a standard reel and rod filled with monofilament. Bait was the earthworms from the backyard. If I caught anything it was usually small rock bass, not a particulary edible fish. What we were after was lake perch, a usually small but very tasty fish. But already in the late 50’s and early 60’s the lakes and rivers around the Detroit area were almost fished out, and there was a significant amount of pollution. So it was more an opportunity to sit by the water’s edge and dream then it was to provide dinner.

The other memory is remarkably clear in my mind so it must have some lasting importance to me. I was perhaps 8. It is of going out with my Uncle Jim (a Catholic priest and my father’s brother) and their mother and my Grandmother, Laura (we shared the same birthday) and my uncle’s friend Father Paul (also a Catholic priest). My uncle owned a cottage on Harsen’s Island, at the north end of Anchor bay, along the shipping channel between Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair river. My grandmother would spend her summer’s there, and every once in while my family would spend a day or so there visiting. I was there for an entire week one summer, and one day we went fishing.

My uncle’s boat was a 1920’s era wooden Chris Craft or (maybe a Gar Wood) with an inboard motor and with the wheel mounted sideways amidships on the starboard gunnel, with 2 levers sticking up from the bilge to control speed and forward/reverse.  I remember doing some research on it in later years an finding out it had been a racing boat, doing laps on the Detroit river, pre-hydroplane days.

We went to the far side of Walpole Island which were Canadian waters. We left early and we stayed out most of the day. We caught perch and bass and one or two muskie. I remember my  uncle and his friend discussing where to anchor. Intuition based, but they would try to triangulate to some trees on the island to find a spot where they had been successful in the past. I remember we moved a couple of times. I remember eating lunch. I remember we mostly sat on the gunnels and waited for the fish to bite, talking. I would give anything to be able to remember what we talked about. It was 1958.

I also remember the shock when my grandmother took a pee in a coffee can. They boys of course just hung it over the side.

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