After several weeks of preparations to my fishing gear and a new boat I finally got to hit the road for Florida late last week to get ready for my upcoming bass tournament season. After some great winter weather over the holidays, when the recent cold snap hit, it was time for me to head south.
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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell
This story has been told before in past columns, but as a kid growing up around Lake of the Woods there was not a chance that my Dad or his buddies would ever get caught dead with a perch on their stringer or in their bucket. The perception was that perch were no good - they had worms, they were small and they were no good to eat.
For the past 15 years or so, a group of friends and I have been heading north in Sunset Country for the last week of the moose hunting season that closes annually on Dec. 15.
Typically it's cold and the hunting is tough but we always have a good time and find a way to tag a moose or two. It's a week that I look forward to every year.
This year there were eight of us that made the trek north for the last five or six days of the season.
Over the years there have probably been around 20 guys come and go through our group with a few of us going all these years.
Back in July, my wife and my mother attended the Sioux Narrows Arts Festival, an annual event that attracts the top artists from around the region.
After, they returned home they both mentioned that the highlight of all the cool stuff they saw were these handmade bowls and mugs with fish prints on them.
A short time later I came across these really cool mugs on Instagram that had unique fish prints on them. I showed them to my wife, Shelby, and she excitedly announced that they were the same ones she saw in Sioux Narrows.
In years past, the editors of the newspapers that run The Livewell have asked me to write a Christmas gift idea column.
I've done it a bunch of times over the years and to be honest it's a tough one to do without sounding too repetitive.
The fact is, I could probably make a couple quick changes to a Christmas gift story I did a couple years ago and nobody would know the difference but with everything ending up online these days I don't want to take the chance that somebody might call me out for taking the easy road.
One of the perks to my job in the fishing community is that I get to go fishing in some interesting places that I probably would never experience had I chosen a different path.
Fishing new places is fun and last week I had a chance to go saltwater fishing along the South Carolina coast for redfish and sea trout.
Charleston, South Carolina is a smaller city with a population around 130,000. I had never been there before but I've been twice in the span of the past month.
Over the weekend I was sliding through some social media and saw a video of a couple of people bragging about being the first to be fishing out on the ice.
It struck me as being kind of dumb, for lack of a better word.
I know it's been cold but the ice had only been on this particular lake for maybe a couple of days and I just couldn't believe that going out on maybe a couple centimeters of ice to try and catch a fish was worth risking your life for.
For the third year in a row it looks like we're going to get another early freeze up across Northwest Ontario.
A string of cold nights last week set the stage for the shallow lakes and bays to freeze up with another blast of cold weather this week.
I wrapped up most of my fishing for the season about ten days ago even though there are good opportunities to catch musky, walleye and crappie right up until freeze up.
One of the perks to my job is that I get to visit a lot of places.
I really enjoy getting to fish new bodies of water and see different parts of North America.
That being said, the time away from home and all the driving that I do during the tournament season is not glamorous.
Last week I had the opportunity to visit Charleston, South Carolina for a two day pro-staff summit that Shimano held out of their home base for North America.
It was a nice quick trip and I was able to fly which was convenient.
One of the reasons that I enjoy fishing so much is because of where I live.
We're blessed here in Sunset Country with so many great fishing opportunities for a variety of species.
While bass fishing is my favourite activity on the water I do fish for everything that swims in our lakes from crappie to whitefish to pike and musky.