Technician recalls: I’m dreaming of Martin Lake right now but like this year, 2006 was a late start. Nonetheless, my father’s church braved an overnight journey nonetheless. It was freezing cold, and no those foil emergency blankets do not work! Skipper is my deceased dog, by the way. He passed last fall. 

Well, normally I have no fishin’ to talk about this time of year.

Fishin; technician from May 10. His dad’s church group joined him for an overnight outing to Martin Lake.

The subject is totally anathema to me right now. I don’t particularly enjoy raking up Skipper’s doggie doo-doo, but it seems the only practical thing to occupy my time while waiting for the ice to melt.

That all changed, of course, after my old man informed me that he thought it would be a great time to march into Martin Lake with his United Church men’s group and catch a few
pickerel while staying up for 12 hours in some sort of ecclesiastical rapture.

“I used to go in there all the time right about now and the pickerel were all jumping around and the bears were happy, and the otters were swimming around,” he said. “It was great.”

I was somewhat skeptical. There would be open water at the creek mouth, but I doubted
the pickerel would be biting this early. Oh, and there would be bears for sure. I don’t know
if they’d be happy, but they’d sure be hungry.

But the main reason why I normally wouldn’t be hiking out there is because the trails are sure to be complete crap.

Listening to my father sell this all-night hiking trip to his men’s group seemed a whole lot
like Custer charging off into swampy misery followed by an unfriendly meet-and-greet with
this year’s first crop of mosquitoes.

But once my old man has his mind set on something, it’s a done deal.

“Boots,” I said. “If we’re going to do this, tell everyone they MUST have rubber boots.”

Well, Friday evening rolled along, and there I was at pop’s house where he presented me with the same crappy, 30-year-old boots I told him wouldn’t cut it last year.

A couple others didn’t bring rubber boots either, which necessitated a quick trip to
Wal-Mart. We were also under gunned in the vehicle department. The Vee Lake road had
been rendered a muddy slough by the early melt.

Back of my truck
I had hoped that one member of our group, Mark Crowther, an RCMP officer, would be able to provide an amphibious armoured personnel carrier, but no dice. We’d have to all make do and jump in the back of my truck.

There were seven of us in all, and I have to admit, for a men’s church group, the conversation once we got out there was rather conventional: getting a vasectomy, destroying rabid dogs, that sort of thing.

I’d never been to a group meeting before, and, I have to admit, I was half-expecting Sean Daly and Peter Chynoweth – the church’s minister – to break out into choruses of Kumbaya while mosquitoes chewed on their ears, but other than biting insects, it was a pretty staid affair.

Time away from the wives

If I weren’t mistaken, I’d say the group was doing what most men I go out fishin’ with were doing – trying to snag a couple hours away from their wives.

Mark actually did catch a fish, a pike. We didn’t bring any frying pans, so we threw it on
the fire. It wasn’t too bad. It could’ve used some salt though.

I have to say, though there weren’t many fish and the trails were pretty wet, I had a pretty
good time. I reckon everyone else enjoyed the trip, too.

I’m sure next time Sean goes camping, however, he’ll bring something more substantial than one of those aluminum foil emergency blankets. He tried fitting into it with his boots on, and it immediately tore to pieces.

He spent the rest of the night roaming around with the blanket tied around his legs,
blurting out: “I am robot man!”

Good times for sure. Thanks dad, fellas. Cheers.


Mike Bryant

Mike W. Bryant is the managing editor for NNSL Media. He started working for Northern News Services as a general news reporter in 1999. He is the recipient of numerous national and provincial journalism...

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