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May 2002 - Nr. 5


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Gone Fishing
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Gone Fishing…

by Herwig Wandschneider

Herwig Wandschneider

People have to take a break every once in a while, but going fishing for the first time with three seasoned Germanic fishermen and departing April 1 to sleep over on a houseboat, getting up at 5:00am the next morning to head out into the Sound of Owen Sound … this had to be an April fools joke. As it turns out, this was serious business. By the way, you need a fishing licence. Some don’t realize this detail.

The "James Bond" Guarantee with Hero Klaus Burmeister [photo: Herwig Wandschneider]Mind you, you cannot just wake up one morning and decide to go fishing on a rented houseboat with captain and crew. If you want to do serious fishing, this needs to be planned. Months ahead. This boat and crew is in demand.

It was no ordinary houseboat. More like one built for James Bond. It is fully licensed, (for fishing, of course), 40 feet long, equipped with Radio, TV, Stereo, Marine and CB Radio, Cellphone, and GPS (Global Positioning System), which comes in handy, when the weather closes in on you, or if you want to track your zig-zagging trolling route (this allows you to make notes where you saw that last school of fish). And, if you cannot look down 120 feet to see the fish, it sure helps to have Sonar like this vessel did. In fact, it had two. Not that the water was not clear, but to look down 120 feet is just a bit much to ask.

The heated boat has 4 double beds, washroom, fully equipped galley and has an upper deck for non-fisherpersons to lounge about and get a tan – no luck this early in the season, at least not on this trip – and most importantly it has 12 Rods and Reels and 6 Down Riggers. We battled the fish with 6 rods and 6 Down Riggers.

Freezing Heroes: Erhardt Weiss, Herwig, Fritz Magerl, Klaus Burmeister  [photo: Herwig Wandschneider]As Captain Tony DeGasperis explained to me, the Owen Sound part of Georgian Bay has the clearest and cleanest water of all the Great Lakes. Which is why we were not the only ones braving the early winter morning (yes winter, remember April 2nd?) on this Bay. Hardy fisher-persons shivered in 11 open motor boats (at least we could warm up inside). Later in the season, there will be hundreds of fishing motor boats, I was told, as soon as the weather improves and they do not have to get up this early.

Captain Tony Gasperis in battle gear talks with the crew  [photo: Herwig Wandschneider]You will get a feeling for how clean this water is also, when you look through the "Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish" (distributed free of charge by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment). But Salmon in Georgian Bay? This was another surprise. Not to the seasoned fisherperson, of course. And not for long for me either. Every single fish we caught was a Chinook Salmon. We caught 10, from the depths of 100 feet, most of them within the first 4 hours, between 6:00 and 10:00 am. And all between 6 pounds and 12 pounds 7 ounces. (To the serious fisherman, each ounce counts.) The captain explained that Lake Huron is stocked annually with a million Salmon.

Captain Tony did not just know how to navigate and keep his boat and gear in ship-shape, he also knew how to make sure the fish was securely hooked. And once you managed to bring it safely on board (with his help, and did I need it!), he also expertly filleted it. All we had to do was carry home the loot in the bags he provided. I learned to appreciate poached salmon years ago, but never thought I would ever eat one that I caught myself, well, almost caught myself. Will I go fishing again? Aber sicher. Captain Tony has me hooked. (Want to get hooked too? Call him at 519-372-9366).

We four fishermen returned to Kitchener in a snowstorm that left 6 inches of the heavy, soggy stuff to be shovelled. What a start to the fishing season! 

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