Outdoors: Grumpy Old Men

Posted: Tuesday, June 01, 2004

How many of you have ever seen the movie Grumpy Old Men? Even though the movie was quite humorous and very entertaining, could you imagine actually fishing with these two characters? Throughout my life I have been in the boat with several of our senior citizens. I have yet to encounter anyone quite like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

The time I spent fishing with senior fishermen Ray Karker and Ted Knight dip netting on the Kenai River proved to be both entertaining and also very productive. I have always thought there was something each one of these guys could teach an amateur fisherman like myself.

Rem Lane was one of my all time favorite senior fishing partners. Besides being one of the best fisherman around, Rem was very entertaining and pleasant to fish with. I classify anyone over the retirement age (65) as senior fisherman. I fished with Rem on several fishing trips throughout Ontario, Canada as well as in the Eau Claire River near Augusta, Wisconsin. You could rest assured Rem would provide you with a few lessons and a laugh or two each day.

On Friday May 14th I once again found myself out fishing with 2 of our senior citizens, 74 year old Richard Wagner from Austin, Texas and 77 year old Fred Maier of Kenai. If you add the ages of these two guys and throw in my 49 years of age you come up with an even 200 years........Wow, one of us ought to be able to teach the others something about fishing! Who knows maybe we can even come up with a couple of classic grumpy old men of our own!

We chose Elephant Lake as our quiet and relaxing spot to fish on a fairly warm day. We found a quiet little bay out of the wind and set anchor and started fishing in about ten feet of water. Fred hadn't been fishing in at least two years and got off to a slow start. Richard is an avid fisherman and soon he was pulling in one kokanee after the other.

We spent a couple of hours in this spot and once the fishing slowed down we decided to move and try a couple other holes I have previously done good fishing at. My so-called other hot spots were not productive so I moved back to our original spot. Lucky for us some rainbows had moved into this area since we left and Fred and Richard were hauling in some nice sized kokanee and some pre-spawn rainbows. These rainbows were in their full spawning colors and were beautiful fish.

By now Fred looked like a fish catching machine and was catching some really nice fish. Seeing anyone who is able to catch fish and be able to enjoy the beauty of the Alaska outdoors does my heart good regardless of their age. Richard packed us a nice lunch and both even helped fillet out the fish once we got home.

For those of you who have not been out yet, don't let these so called old guys catch all the fish while your still on the couch! If you do get out take grandpa with you, if you don't have a grandpa here borrow someone else's! If you know of one of our senior citizens that are unable to get out due to health problems take him or her some fresh cleaned fish. That smile and look of happiness you will get in return is almost as much fun as catching the fish in the first place!

I have fished with Richard Wagner before on several occasions in Texas, Wisconsin, Utah, and Alaska. I even had him on Swanson River last fall fishing Rainbows and Silvers. He is still talking about that trip! You see this guy just happens to be my father-in-law and also the interim pastor at The Star of the North Lutheran Church in Kenai. I'm not sure if Fred and Richard are really that good of fishermen or if perhaps Richard has a real close connection to the guy upstairs who made them fish in the first place! In any event I know it was a good day of fishing regardless of why the fish bit so good. Neither of these senior fishermen earned the title comparable to the movie Grumpy Old Men so the search goes on.....

See You Next Week!

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