Sunday, December 26, 2010


     Coolfront? Hope you don't take that wrong. The 'cool' part of Coolfront ain't cool in the sense of groovy, bell bottoms and cobalt blue sunglasses you can see out of but can't nobody see in. I'm talking temperature here, barometric pressure, bluebird sky and slow fishing. Not cold front slow but cool front. At the same time the nickname does laugh in the face of the first cool. Works in at least two ways. I like that. This self-proclaimed moniker came from the same place as Snake Charmer and for the same reason. Think sitting in the back of the canoe while on Burntside Lake in Northwest Manitoba and being consistently outfished by my son who's up front. When he's got the hot hand, which happens quite a lot, he also tends to run off at the mouth explaining, in painful detail, point by point, how and why he's a better fisherman than I. Not that I'm being skunked, just that he's catching more, bigger and even prettier. That I tend to attract a lot of small pike spawned Snake Charmer. Not bad but more on the money is Coolfront Johnson as in "Jus' call me Coolfront, boy (followed by gruff, wizened laugh). Cut me some slack. I may be slow but I'll catch somethin' sooner or later."
     Over the years I've leaned toward self deprecating nicknames and all have been self-dubbed. Never stood out enough or had an obvious enough characteristic to draw something colorful from an outside source. 'Nondescript White Guy of Northern European Ancestry' ain't in the class of Blind Melon or Night Train. But I sure do like nicknames. So I gave them and give them to myself. The obviously ironic if you've ever met me, Mr. Fun and the, since-I'm-now-completely-gray-haired-why-not-call-me Red? Who'll know? But of them all, Coolfront seems to go best with Deadman Lake.
     By my mid-40's I'd come to grasp my limitations as a fisherman. The fish found in easily accessed lakes were too smart for Coolfront so ol' Coolfront learned to put in the miles and the carries to find bass and walleyes a step or two closer their innocent ancestors who swam in the four rivers of the Garden. Can't get close to that Garden with a 150 Merc but a canoe and a strong back'll get you within spitting distance. Life lesson? Maybe.      

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