First off I've got to admit I have too many rods. More than I need or have a use for. And, of course, I want more. Always have my eye open for new ones. Not new, new ones. Old, new ones. Maybe it's a search for the fountain of youth. Could be it's a desire to return to the days when I was young and the number of years left in my was much higher. 'Course, as I've grown older I've also grown in wisdom. But would I trade my wisdom for youth? Hell yes. No questions asked.
But I'm wandering off the subject, rods. And mostly those tubed up in the back of the car with a pile of other stuff. All of it, and me, off to somewhere new. And those places usually involve water, fish and a boat of some kind. Since it's my story I'll make that boat a canoe.
I've gone south, east and north on those trips. But the best is north. In my life north has always been the right direction when it comes to fish. More lakes, fewer people, cleaner air and water. Even when I was a kid up north in Minnesota was where the big ones were. Biggest pike, musky, walleye, lake trout, they all found their size up north.
And it even got better north of the border. So that's why Allan and I did our big trips to Manitoba. Turned out my whacked out kid ideas were right. Might even have been better had we gone farther.
On my drives to the cabin I play a mind game as I leave the city. The car's going the same direction as those Manitoba trips, the gear's in the back. I fall into the reverie of going on till the road ends. Two hours from town I'd be where I was. In seven hours, the border. Fifteen to Grass River. But instead I leave the interstate and make the turn that changes it all. I'm only going to the cabin.
But the rods and gear are still in the back. And the lakes I've found are way off the beaten track. No cabins on those lakes. Plenty of fish in them. Usually I have them to myself. Might as well be border country.
Once at the cabin I get tingly about the lakes I can fish. What's the weather? Wind direction? What will I fish for? What lake will be best? Sixty-seven years old and I nearly trip over myself with excitement when I load the canoe and double check to make sure I haven't forgotten anything. A man my age should exhibit some decorum, a confident, relaxed air doing something he's done a thousand times before. But I can't. Too excited 'cause the rods are in the back and I'm heading for water.