How good does life get? Just ask Steve Rajeff (L), Chief Rod designer for G. Loomis, Bruce Holt (R), Marketing Director for G. Loomis, and Greg McDermid (C) on a recent trip to Smithers, British Columbia, Canada fishing the Kispiox around Bear Hole. Probably some tea in that flask (you think)!
This issue we’re repeating one of our most popular “doggie” stories. This originally was published about 3 years ago and many of you have commented that you would like to see it again. So, this issue we’re doing just that. We hope you’ll enjoy it again…
I’ve never thought of myself as “old”, but I do find myself thinking back to some of the more memorable experiences of my life more often now. I consider this natural since when you get my age you HAVE a lot of experiences! Probably one of the best occurred some time ago, but it sure became a lifetime adventure in every sense of the word.
About 25 years ago we had a cabin on Lake of the Woods in Canada. We were on an island about 8 miles from the government dock in Sioux Narrows, Ontario. Every summer we would load up our Ford van with our three girls, 2 dogs (Joe and Bob), my bride Dixie, and enough provisions and supplies for a small army and hit the road.
The first night we usually made it to Rice Lake, Wisconsin and dinner at Lehman’s supper club. This was an old style Wisconsin restaurant (they used to be called “super clubs”, you know) that had great food, friendly patrons, and accommodating staff. We always looked forward to that diner and a good night’s sleep at the adjacent motel. I don’t think we were ever disappointed.
Next morning we drove to Duluth, bought groceries and perishables, and usually managed to cross the border by about 1 in the afternoon. Another 70 miles and we were at the government dock unloading the van, loading the boat, and making sure the dogs didn’t wander off too far before we disembarked for the cabin. I’m sure we were the entertainment on multiple occasions for some of our “town” friends who no doubt delighted in our apparent lack of organization and our two “obedience challenged” retrievers. Add 3 teenage girls who often exhibited “attitude” and a mom who lacked tolerance for such antics and, well, I’m pretty sure it was entertaining.
We would finally leave the dock after a few “wait, I forgot….” and be on our way. Just being on the water immediately changed our demeanor. It was such a change from the farmlands of southern Indiana and our daily routine. Instantly Lake of the Woods began renewing our spirit and attitude. Fresh air, cool breezes, clear water, and wonderful scenery that rivaled any master’s painting. Add the bonus of all of us being together at the same time for a couple of weeks and life just couldn’t be much better.
Once on the island it was everyone’s job to carry our cargo up to the cabin from the boathouse. Soon the boat was empty and Dixie and the girls were putting everything where it belonged while our two dogs were re-exploring the island for new smells and signs of uninvited interlopers since their last visit. I was usually busy checking out what had and had not happened to the property since our last visit. And I suppose this is why we never missed Joe when he wandered off.
Now Joe was our alpha golden retriever and quite a guy. He was “the man” in every way. He loved to explore, making sure he brought back a trophy of some sort when returning from his adventures. I think this is what almost cost him his life that afternoon.
First we saw a rustling on the shoreline across from the boathouse. Then we heard Joe barking. At first it just seemed like the typical “bark bark, bark” sort of protestations, but soon it turned to a style and decibel level we had never heard before. Louder and louder with sharper notes and obvious panic. The rustling of the bushes gave way to cracking sounds as this quickly developing wilderness event approached the water. And then we saw it.
One of the largest black bears ever seen in the area just inches away from Joe’s feathered tail. Suddenly Joe had nowhere to go except into the bay. Now Joe, being a fairly smart dog, figured this out on his own pretty fast. He was a great jumper and loved the water, so it only took a millisecond for Joe to hit the water and begin speed swimming toward the boathouse. In most circumstances this would be where the danger (and perhaps the story) ends, but not this day. The bear wasn’t amused by Joe’s aquatic abilities and was soon in the water in hot pursuit. Now we had a crisis.
I called for Dixie. We were in the boat in an instant and heading for a struggling Joe who had thus far managed to stay ahead of the bear, but was quickly becoming exhausted and obviously in distress. We waved our arms, honked the boat horn, told Joe to hold on, and tried to make sure we didn’t create so much wake that it would swamp our struggling pup, all the while praying the bear would give up the chase.
Well, sometimes you eat the bear and other times the bear eats you. This day we won. The bear turned and swam away, we got to Joe just as he was about to go under, and with some heretofore unknown contortions managed to pull our wet and exhausted puppy into the boat. As glad as he was to see us, he just couldn’t manage much more than a warm look with his eyes to say “thanks”.
As we idled back to the boathouse we discovered the root cause for the adventure just experienced. There standing on the shoreline that had been both Joe and the bear’s launching point were two of the cutest bear cubs we had ever seen. And beside those two little souls stood mama bear, dripping wet but satisfied she had done her job by protecting her precious family from a marauding golden retriever. And so this trip’s greatest memory was established within an hour of our arrival.
Joe and Bob have long since passed away. Most of you know we have steadily increased our “dog family” of golden retrievers since, now at 5. But I will always remember that day fondly. It was a wonderful experience (perhaps not so much so at the time) and has always been one of our favorite stories about our days as owners of a cabin on Lake of the Woods. It helps us focus on memories of so many good times and keeps our three girls forever young in our minds. It also reminds us of just how wonderful the experience of being on the water fishing with your family truly is. I hope all of you will make time for fishing this year with those you love. I can assure you it will create some of your best memories ever, especially if you include a golden retriever!
This issue we have some fantastic deals for one and all: Sunline 2-FOR-1 Super Sale, Free Worldwide Shipping on All NEW G. Loomis Fly Rods, New G. Loomis GLX Spinning Rods in Stock and include a free Collector’s Edition G. Loomis Catalog Offer, Last Chance 25% Off Daiwa Steez Rods. We also just got in the New Daiwa Lexa Spinning and Casting Reels which offer fantastic Bang-for-the-Buck. Last but not least we have also received the brand New PayCheck Baits and Eco Pro Tackle to add to our Tackle Corner that is full with the Top Tackle brands in the industry. All details are below. Please take a few minutes to look these great offers over.
And did I mention one of the best videos we have ever had in our newsletter? Be sure to take a look at this one!
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