Mark Hoeksema’s son and nephew show off a couple of nice smallies caught this summer on Basswood Lake in the Quetico Park in northwest Ontario. Saying “this looks like fun” would be a huge understatement!
I have always thought that dogs and fishing naturally go together. Still do. But with some reservations.
Dixie and I are “dog people”. Frankly, together we may be the poster child for “dog people” or, according to some of our lesser friends, “dog obsessed”. You see, we have 5 golden retrievers. Average weight: 60 lbs each. 3 are rescues (which I need to disclose as a way of explaining an otherwise insane number of dogs). Benny is 10, Fred is 4, Hanna is 2, Al is 2, and Emma is almost 2. They are our “children” now that our 3 girls are all in their 40’s and obviously not living at home, all having families of their own. So these 5 furry, cuddly canines are our current family, at least as far as our home is concerned.
Fair to say Dixie and I spoil dogs. I have been admonished by Dixie on more than one occasion. “You are a dog trainer’s worst nightmare.” I readily concede this point. No need to deny the obvious.
And yes, she is absolutely right. I am a serial dog spoiler. Whatever they seem to need I do my best to comply. Want to go swimming? Sure, I’ll go down to the pool with you and throw the toys and perhaps even get in when the weather is warm enough. Want up on the bed? No problem, let me move over. Need a spot on the couch? Here’s one right by me. Like the looks of that leftover piece of steak? Sure, I’ll cut it into some bite sized pieces that you can all share. Need to come inside? Sure……well, you get the idea.
Having 5 dogs, big dogs, does present some “issues”. First, it’s pretty tough to take all of them for a ride in the truck at the same time. And they DO love to go for a ride. (maybe it’s the McDonald’s cheeseburger they each get when we go) We usually take one or two. The remaining “non-riders” can break your heart with their sad looks as you pull away, not knowing when their turn will, if ever, come up. But it always does, trust me.
Multiple dogs present other logistical challenges as well. Simply put, there is no way 5 big dogs will fit in 18 ft. boat, especially if you intend to do anything resembling fishing. One well behaved dog can be challenging when fishing in a boat, so 5 not-so-well-behaved big dogs are not even a consideration. Never.
And herein lies the problem. These 5 dogs, simply put, live to swim. There is absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, they like better than being in the water, chasing assorted dog toys under the watchful eye of either Dixie or me. We figure our presence implies some sort of defacto approval of water and the joys to be had therein. Or an audience that they can show off in front of, which they do a marvelous job of!
Now given all 5 dogs absolutely love water and fishing is, with no exceptions I am aware of, done anyplace other than on water, taking one or more of our dogs fishing with us in the boat becomes, shall we say, seriously problematic. If they would just “settle in” like when we go for a ride in the truck, all would be fine. But they don’t. The water calls to them in some diabolical way we humans simply can’t relate to. A “siren call” as it were.
Doesn’t matter which dog. As soon as one gets into the boat they pace, they act like they are ready to jump off into the water, they never sit down. As soon as we stop they run front to back, back to front, sure that any moment there will be a new, bright dog toy floating just a short jump away. Get underway and they slobber and pant, the surplus foaming back on the windscreen, my cap, the seats. Distracting? Obviously you know the answer to that one.
Assuming we actually can get our gear rigged and put a line in the water, God forbid we actually catch a fish. Worse that we end up with that fish inside the boat. About now is when the panting, barking, lunging, and any other sort of strange and unique dancing will begin. Let the fish wiggle of jump around on the boat floor and canine craziness will immediately set in. More barking. Circle turning. Sitting, laying, and jumping about. No, not from Dixie. From the dog!
An hour or so of this sort of behavior is just about all I can handle. Being older I pride myself in having some modicum of patience, but that only applies to everything except dog boat behavior. Here I exhibit a total lack of patience. And very quickly so. I mean, fishing for me and Dixie is supposed to be relaxing. With one of our dogs in the boat this just isn’t possible. We’re sure that any minute there will be a lunge into the water, never mindful of just how he or she will get back into the boat. It can be done, but not without thoroughly soaking all; Dixie, me, the inside of the boat, and of course the dog.
Friends have counseled that we need to “acclimate” each dog to being a well behaved rider in the boat. “Take each one for some long rides”, they tell us.
Well good luck with that. We’ve tried, but simply put, no cigar. They pace, they bounce, they pant. Even when our boat rides have been pleasure only without even a single rod in the boat, it’s basically impossible to settle any of them down to an acceptable level. As I said earlier, it has to be the “call of the water”.
I have often seen pictures of a lone fisherman in a boat with an oh so satisfied looking dog riding in a seemingly transfixed state as his or her master pursues his elusive piscatorial prey. I’d even bet that many of you actually experience such a blissful relationship with your canine pal(s). I am jealous. I hold you in awe. You are my heroes!
Yet I don’t intend to give up. There is always another day just around the corner. Another opportunity to once again try and find the silver bullet that will send our dogs into restful subordination when on the water. I know it has to be there, I just don’t know where “there” is for now. So for now I will continue to hook up the boat to the truck, check the hitch and tires, pull the tie downs tight, make sure both the truck and boat have full tanks of gas, make sure I have the keys, and finally give a wishful glance at the five excited dogs standing in the drive way as I drive away towards the lake, no dogs included. After all, I’m going fishing to relax.
We know there are many of you who fish with your dog. As I said, we are jealous. So email us any pictures of you and your dog in any sort of “fishing situation”. In a boat, on the shore, at the seaside, etc. We’ll make sure our next newsletter issue has as many “dog and fisherman” pictures as we can. How many will be up to you!
We’ve sure got lots of news this issue. The 2012 Shimano Crucial rods are here. All of the details are below. We are Costa del Mar’s newest dealer and just received an absolutely HUGE assortment of these fabulous sunglasses. We know you will be as excited as we are about having what is unilaterally acknowledged as the world’s best fishing sunglasses. Again, details are below.
We also have some great news on some of the newest LEW’S low profile casting reels. This is a brand we continue to be impressed with and one that continues to offer some great reels at some very decent prices. More below. We have a great G. Loomis hoodie sweatshirt special at the perfect time of the year and we are continuing to offer some of our Labor Day deals in this newsletter. Be sure to see the impressive list of sure-fire “save some big bucks” deals down below.
Finally, we have put our Rod and Reel Trade-In submittal form On-Line. This makes submitting your used rods and reels for a trade-in quote so easy! See the full text below for just how easy this now is.
All of us here at American Legacy Fishing want to thank all of you for making our Labor Day Sale so successful. We hope you had a chance to snatch on to one of the ICAST Loomis rods or some of the other fantastic deals we offered. We always try to bring you some great offerings and truly appreciate your participation. Thanks for being such wonderful friends!