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Saturday, November 24, 2012

First Boat Launch

Last winter Dad gave me his old fiberglass john boat and told me I could fix it up. It was an old boat with a "small" leak and he had not used it in a long while, but it had a nice trolling motor and a good but old 26HP motor on it.

I took it to a local boat repair place and once they looked it over the estimate was about $1,200 to fix it up. Dad said I could probably buy another boat for that so I put the repairs on hold. Then my buddy Ronnie and step son Kodey decided they could get it running a lot cheaper than that.

They are both handy so they started to work and for just a few hundred dollars we had a good boat,  new battery, no leaks and a duck blind option to boot! My son Will moved over to Branson with me so we were ready to try her out. The rain and busy schedule put our fishing plans on hold for a few weeks, but finally a nice sunny week end during deer season provided us a chance to try her out.

I thought you might want to see him again
It was sunny but windy and the wind was out of the east. I recalled Dad always saying, "When the wind is from the east the fish bite the least," and I remember our Boundary Waters trip when where I caught my BIG 5 pound smally when the wind was blowing out of the west. But we just wanted to get this boat in the water and try her out.

I was a bit nervous because I had never been the one to back up a boat and get the engine running and go fishing. I always went with Dad and he took care of all the boat backing and engine starting so this would be my first time to "be in charge," which turned out to be scary.

This is veiw of the lake from K-Dock
We decided to go over to K-Dock on Bull Shoals Lake and see what we could catch. They have a small conservation department dock and boat launch we knew we could use. I was in shorts because it was warm but the day was coming to a close and the wind was making it chilly. When we reached the boat launch there was a boat pulling out and I waited until they were done because I didn’t want anyone seeing me back the trailer into the water in case I had problems.

This is where we launched from
Amazingly, I backed it down the ramp like a champ and stopped at the edge of the water to load up. We loaded our snacks, tackle and poles into the boat, then we took off the stabilizing bar that holds the propeller up when you’re traveling and Will got in the boat. I slowly backed the boat into the water but it wouldn’t come off the trailer. I got out and Will was franticly paddling to try and break free but couldn’t. I told him I would try to back down faster, so I pulled the suburban up the ramp and hit reverse and slammed on the brakes at the edge of the water.

Still the boat would not break free. I did it again but this time I went further down the ramp and had the water all the way up to the muffler on my 2 wheel drive suburban. By this time my worst fears were realized as two other boats were waiting to get off the lake and we had a small audience watching us trying to launch our old john boat. I gave it one more big reverse but still the boat was on the trailer. About this time one of the fishermen standing on the dock waiting to get his boat out of the water yelled forcefully and sarcastically, "You left the strap on, and you won’t get the boat off like that! You need to take that off!"

Looking down Will and I noticed that he was right and we felt really stupid. I pulled the boat up and tried to loosen the strap, but it in my embarrassment and haste could not get it off. The same guy was yelling it’s all jammed up now and you will probably have to cut it. He walked over and looked at it and we all pulled and tugged to no avail. Believe it or not we didn't have a knife anywhere. He said if we would get out of the way he had a knife in his boat we could use. I humbly pulled my rig out of the way and he pulled his big nice Ranger boat out and we used his knife to cut our strap and then we waited for the other boat to take out as well.

I just wanted them all to leave and then with no pressure we would launch our boat. While the other boat was loading up he told us to be careful because it was getting dark and it was windy. Once he saw we didn’t have a depth finder he added that the lake was down and those shallow spots were dangerous.  He warned us to be careful. I could see him laughing at us rookies as he walked away.

Once they all left I carefully backed the boat into the water and with no strap it easily slid right off the trailer. As I looked back at Will in the boat I remembered Dad telling me to make sure I put the plug in the boat before I launched it. With all the excitement because of the audience and light strap I couldn’t remember if I had put it in or not. I called back to Will and asked him. He asked where the plug went and said he couldn’t tell. But he did say there was a lot of water in the boat.

Just then I remembered I probably hadn't put the plug in. I told Will I would back the trailer back down and to paddle back on the trailer as fast as he could. He did and I pulled the boat out of the water and we let it drain out and then put the plug in. Whew-problem solved!

Will boat after cutting strap and putting plug in.
We then launched the boat and I got in and we were ready to crank it up. I flipped the choke and turned the key on our new electric start switch and it turned over but wouldn't fire up. By this time the wind was blowing us across the lake and we couldn't get the motor running. I wasn't worried because Ronnie had told me that tolling motor could pull the boat anywhere.

I quickly gave up on the big engine and dropped the trolling motor in the water and fired it up. It took me awhile to learn how to steer but Ronnie was right, that motor pulled us wherever we wanted to go. We decided that we would not worry about the engine and just use the trolling motor. I headed towards a big bluff across the lake that looked like it would block the hard east wind. We passed through a shallow section and never hit the bottom and then cozied up along the bluff.

The win was not as bad along the bluff but we didn’t get any bites. I was following the shoreline and getting further away from the dock when I looked at my watch and decided we better head back because I didn't want to try and load the boat up in the dark. Since the trolling motor was slow that was a good decision. By the time we made it back to the dock it was getting dark but the new lights sure looked nice on the boat.

We had very little trouble getting it out of the water, but while I was putting the strap back on I realized we shouldn’t have cut it. Instead of pulling the latch to loosen the strap all we needed to do was press the latch in. So much for the smart guy in the Ranger boat! We pulled out just as the last rays of sunlight were disappearing over the horizon and headed for home.

I stopped to get gas for the suburban and while it was filling up I looked over the motor under the lights and realized the fuel line was not hooked up. I guess that explained why the engine never fired up. On the drive home Will and I laughed about our mistakes and talked about the east wind, the guy cutting our strap, no bites and our plans to do it right next time.

Unfortunately, our second trip presented some engine problems and was not very successful, but I will tell that story another time.


Rod Jetton


Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Place In My Age Division

Emily came down and we Trane a 10k at the Branson Landing. It was flat but I was hurting. I ran a 45:12 but I'm sure the course was short.

Emily took second in her ago group. She ran a 53:24.  Two boys from SBU came down with her and one Deneko Brown is on the SBU track team.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


The Praise leaders Juana and Iles
We had our final service in Quislag Saturday. It's a two hour drive up to the village from Riobamba because the very rough mountain road. They had planned on having an ordination service so that Pastor Jose and Iles could be ordinated as the Pastor and Assistant pastor of the church.

This is where the glass will be installed
Pastor Jose does not live in the village and cannot always get up there because of bad weather situations. Pedro and Pastor Jose made progress on finding a 4 wheel drive truck to make it up to the village when the weather is bad.  Right now he uses a small 4 cylinder Toyota van that we have to get out a push up the steep parts.  Frankly, I have a lot more respect for Toyota just seeing that van make it up this rough road. They also made arrangements to finish the church flooring and install the glass in the windows.  It has taken server years and many donations but the church building is close to being completed.
The 4 cyclinder Toyota and Pastor Jose

Iles at the Hotel
One positive note of progress concerns Iles who lives in the village and has attended some Bible college.  She has agreed to be the assistant pastor. She speaks both Quechan and Spanish and her willingness to help is a real blessing.

Ground Wheat
Whenever we go to the village the kids run out and cover us with hugs. Before the service the elders ushered us into the side room of the church where they had set up a table for refreshments. They generously offered us fresh warm cow’s milk and ground up wheat. It was a bit like malt-O-meal but more fine. We added enough wheat to make it into a paste and I must admit it was very filling.

Buster singing
The service started with Juana leading some praise songs with help from Iles. They led the people in several songs while they were accompanied by a keyboard player and drummer. The ladies choir also sang a few songs and the men also led us in a song. Buster also sang a song that everyone enjoyed before Bro. Shockley preached a short sermon while Victoria translated.

The ladies choir

After the message all the elders were brought up along with Pastor Jose and Iles for the ordination service. Bro. Shockley laid hands on each of them and Pedro presented them with their certificates and then we took several photos with the elders before they invited all of us up and presented us with beautifully embroidered flags.

Our group with our beautiful embroidered gifts

Dr. Shockley continued to pray for several of the sick and then we were ushered back into the side room for lunch. It started with dried lamb’s blood that went into the chitin and potato soup. Then we had a main course of Corn on the cob, lima beans, baby potatoes and lamb. This was a very extravagant meal for them. After we ate they took the huge kettle of soup and added chicken and started feeding everyone. They had a limited number of bowls which they filled up and then once emptied they were handed back to be refilled and sent back for the other to eat.

Sonya and me
It was so humbling to see them do so much for us while they had so very little. The little girl Sonya who I have fallen in, love with was sitting on my lap during the service. I noticed that her shoes were on the wrong foot. As I was changing them I saw her big toe sticking out of one sock and her whole heel was torn out of the other. I had a few pair of socks left and the kids almost were fighting to get them.

I have to admit it makes you think about life and what you put importance on when you see people who have so little but are still so happy. I just want to help them more, give them more and most importantly help them know that Jesus loves them as much as everyone else. These people up in the mountains are isolated and still discriminated against.

Iles enjoying her ice cream
Iles who is one of the more educated girls in the village came with us after the service to Riobamba to get signed up for more classes there. We had pizza for dinner and then went to a restaurant for lunch today and got an ice cream cone afterward. She told Pedro that she had never had pizza before or ice cream or even been to a restaurant. It's amazing to think that a 21 year old lady had never experienced any of those things.

During our visits to Quislag we gave away candy, shoes, socks, soccer balls and other clothing items. It's amazing how thankful each of the villagers is for the gifts and the visits. Each time we leave they ask us to come back and again and not to forget them.  Pedro says they are so worried we won't come back because most people don't care about them.

Maria and Victoria at a river crossing
Maria who owns the Hotel Tren Dorado where we are staying has a medical background and has been working with the villagers to improve their lives. Pedro met her several years ago and helped lead her to the Lord and since then she has been a huge blessing to Highland Ministries.

It is so encouraging to see the church building being finished and the church leadership falling into place. Pedro and Highland Ministries efforts are making a big difference in the lives of the villagers and more importantly their eternal destiny. I have been so blessed to have been a part of this trip even thought I don’t think I did much. I tried to spend time with the children and encourage them to lead. It was amazing how kids who never get candy would share their candy with me and only take one peice.  I had 25 testaments to give out and the kids were almost fighting to get them. I wish I would have brought more.

12,000ft in the Andees no snow, no bugs, and perfect weather

Ecuador is a beautiful county with warm and friendly people. It is different than America but still a great place to live. The mountain villagers live a life of hard work and rough living conditions but they are happy and seem to have strong families. Letting them know that God loves them and he has sent other Christians to help them will help reach them for Christ.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Attempting Mt. Chimborazo

OK, today Pedro is going with Pastor Jose to try and find a truck.  Since I don't speak Spanish and I'm not a mechanic I am going to try and climb the tallest mountain in Ecuador.  It is 20,708ft tall and would be the highest I have ever climbed. 

It is the tallest mountain in the world if you measure from the center of the earth to the top because it is on the equator.  Mt. Everest is taller from sea level at 26,000+ but Chimborazo is taller from the center of the earth.  It is snow covered and icy but they say it's not a terribly technical climb.  The biggest danger that occasionally kills a climber is falling rocks and avalanches. 

A look at Chimborazo from our hotel rooftop.  
The photo above was taken from our hotel rooftop and is about 40 miles from the mountain.  It has alot of cloud cover, but you can just see the top peeking through above the clouds. 

I have climbed several 14k peaks in CO and I have been up in the Alps in Europe, and northern CA at Mountain warfare school but never this high.  I was always a good climber but I'm 44 now and not as young as when I would almost run up 11k peaks.

Today I go up to a village about 12,000ft and hike around, and spend the night to get used to the altitude.  Then in the am we hike up to about 15,000ft and wait till about 11:00pm to make the final ascent in the night.  There is a full moon which should help visibility and they say hiking at night reduces the chance for falling rocks and avalanches. 

I'm a bit concerned about my abilities but excited to have the chance to try.  Hopefully, I get some good photos of me at the top.



A photo before Dinner
Pastor Jose invited us all to his house for dinner last night.  They live in Riobamba down a dirt street off of the main road.  He has a much nicer home than the villagers in Quislag but it was still a simple place compared to our houses in America. 
It had a small bathroom, three bedrooms and a kitchen/dinning room.  There was no living room or den or TV.  The roof was tin and the walls in all the rooms didn't go to the top of the roof and the only door was on the bathroom.  It made for a very family friendly environment.  They have three boys and tow girls who shared a bed and the two younger boys did as well.  It reminded me of a small house we lived in when I was in the 5th grade.  We were poor and it was run down and the other kids on the bus called it the "pig house" because it  was across the county road from a pig farm that stank. 

His wife Juana made a wonderful meal of corn on the cob, big beans (like Lima beans) and some really good chicken soup.  We all ate as much as we wanted and enjoyed the meal.  I asked Pastor Jose to share his testimony on how he became a pastor and Victoria translated his story to all of us.

Mmmmmm Mmmmmmm
He lived in a small village and only spoke Kectuwa which is the language of the native people and their was a Bro. Fernandez who traveled around to all the villages and preached the gospel to the people.  Bro. Fernandez was a very well know and respected minister.  In 1977 when pastor Jose was 12 Bro. Fernandez put up a tent and held a big revival many people were saved including several of his family members were saved and on the fourth day of the revival he gave his heart to Jesus. 

After that he fell back into the world but he felt God asking him, "Until when Jose, until when," but he didn't know what to do.  He could not read or write and he didn't have many church leaders to go to for direction.  He went to Quito to work and he listened to a Christian radio station there and felt many times the Lord calling him to service.  His uncle told him he needed to get an education.  So he started his schooling while working and that's when he met his wife.  She was singing in a praise group and he followed her around until they were married in 1992. 

All these years he wanted to do more for the Lord but with no education, little money and no christian leaders to help him it was hard to find the way.  He took a job drilling wells for a Christian organization and one time he had to fly on a plane to get to the village they were drilling in.  While flying he felt God show him as he looked down at the earth and it gave him a perspective on creation.   

By this time he had his education and family and they were wanting him to move down from the village and into Riobamba so that they could get a better education.  He felt the Lord tell him to move so he came down and continued to learn more of God and the scriptures. 

In 2007 God brought he and  Pedro together and he was able to start ministering to the village of Quislag and helping them understand the gospel.  He mentioned he didn't know what the future held but he knew God would continue to bless his ministry.   

Pedro added that many of the mountain villages still have many illiterate people and it's hard for Christians to find leaders who can help them learn what Gods word commands.  Pedro wants the Highlands ministry to not only save souls but to also build up a group of leaders that will continue to encourage and educate new Christians in the word.     

Bro. Jose's wife works washing dishes at night for $50 a week.  He survives with a family of 7 on $500 a month but it is a struggle.  The expense of a van and gas to drive up to the village is hard on him.  We are still looking for a good 4 wheel drive vehicle for him to use and we hope to help him financially so that he can spend more time in the ministry.   His electric bill is only $5 a month but cars costs allot and I have no idea how they get by on $500 a month. 

It would be a real blessing is Bro. Jose could be like Bro. Fernandez and go through out the villages preaching the gospel and holding revivals.  Many people would hear how Christ loves them and be saved.    

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Buster and me in my new wool jacket with Sonja and the kids
Wow, visiting Quislag was like going back in time.  These folks live a life at 11,000ft that is very different from anything we would understand.  It was like going back to stories I have read about farm life from the 1930's. 

Here are some of the photos on facebook that show these friendly people.  I didn't take as many photos of their homes as I would like but it was very humbling.  One thing we noticed was they loved to have their photos taken.  We all took hundreds of photos and plan on getting prints so we can leave them with the villagers.  I don't think they have any mirrors to see themselves and they loved seeing the image in the camera. 
The inside of a home with guinea pigs running around
These folks are totally agricultural based.  They raise sheep, goats, pigs, and guinea pigs as well as several crops.  They eat the guinea pigs like we eat rabbit.  They have no running water inside their homes but they do have electricity.   They had very little furniture, basicly only a bed that 4 or 5 people slept in.  What is neat about the Andes in Ecuador is that the climate is so warm.  It's like being in Colorado high up in the mountains but it's summer all the time.  I loved the weather, it was cool, but not cold. 

Herding sheep
Each morning the children take the sheep out to the fields to graze and they have dogs that go and watch over them as well, then in the evening they bring them back to the pen.  These pens are right next to the houses and I will try and get more photos of some of the homes and pens on the next visit. 

I met three children that I really fell in love with.  Sonja, Christian, and Celia.  They and several other children took me on a tour of the village and they walked me down to the creek and back up to town.  We passed several flocks of sheep coming back into the village and the kids kept telling me what the words were for different things and asking me the English word.  One thing they kept doing was pointing to their knees and saying things I did not understand. 

They kept trying to get me to go down a path to some houses below and I didn't want to go down that path but they kept pulling me down there.  Finally, we went down that way and they led me to this one house.  I went in and they showed me a lady laying on a bed with her knee wrapped in a homemade bandage.  I now understood why they had been pointing at their knee and pulling me to her house. 
Typical Home in Quislag-they don't have heat or air conditioning

On the last visit Bro. Shockley has prayed for, and the Lord had healed, 2 deaf and mute boys and one club footed boy.  The villagers had seen this first hand and they wanted me to pray for her knee as well.  I was the only one there and could not understand what they were saying, but the boys acted out how she hurt her knee.  Evidently she fell down and injured it. 

I wanted to get Bro. Shockley to come down and pray for her but it was a long way to this part of the village down a very steep hill.  He couldn't come down and I offered to carry her up to him so he could pray for her but they indicated that she didn't want to do that because her knee was hurting. I have lots of faith in Bro. Shockley's prayers but was not so sure of myself.  Since there were no other options I decided to trust God and ask for his help.  

So I put my hand on her knee and prayed to the Lord to do a creative miracle and heal her injury. I prayed for my faith as much as hers.  She could not understand a word I was saying, but clearly they thought I could help.  I asked God to heal her leg so that her and the other villagers would know that God is real and that he loved them.  I prayed just what I had heard Bro. Shockley pray.  Mostly to use Jesus's name and ask for his help.

She did not get up and walk immediately, but I am praying and trusting God that when we return we will find her leg healed and another powerful testimony to show them God is real and that he loves them. 

All this healing talk may seem odd to my readers as it was to me until I walked into a Wednesday night service in Branson where Bro. Shockley was preaching and after the service he had a lady come up and he prayed for healing of her back.  After watching her hobble up to the front and then seeing her stand up straight and touch her toes my interest was peaked.  He then asked if anyone else had any back issues and I had been dealing with a bad SI nerve issue that my chiropractor and physical therapist had been working on.  It was still bothering me and I thought what can this hurt.  So I asked God to strengthen my faith as I walked to the front.  Seven of us walked forward and when he got to me he lined my legs up and said one was longer than the other and that we are going to ask God for a creative miracle to heal my back.  My chiropractor had told me the SI nerve caused my hip to rotate where one leg was shorter than the other.   

As he prayed he didn't even lay his hand on my head or yell or anything as you see on TV.  But I can tell you I felt something like an electrical shock shoot up my right leg, and Bro. Shockley said my legs were getting even.  I stood up and felt better but told him I wanted to go for a long run and test it before I said I was healed.  He then told me to come and watch as he prayed for the next lady.  She had one leg about and inch shorter than the other and I watched as he prayed for her and her legs also evened out.  I made it a point to see if he was pulling on her legs and he wasn't. 

As you can imagine all this totally changed my thinking on healing and increased my faith.  It also made me appreciate Gods love for me.  I wondered why God would use a miracle on someone who had strayed so far from the right path and had been so bad.  Clearly. God is a forgiving God who loves sinners. 

While I don't want to bore you with my story it helps explain how I ended up in Ecuador praying for a lady who couldn't understand me.  It may sound odd and a few years ago I would have called me crazy, but I have seen Gods love for me and even experienced healing in my back and like doubting Thomas, if it had not happened to me I don't know if I would believe it either.

Six year old Sonja and me in the new church

Hopefully, I will be able to report another miracle to you once we get back up there and get to see that lady again.            


Saturday, June 2, 2012


The Lord has blessed the trip so far. My plane took off late and we arrived in Quito about 10:00pm. Ecuador is in the same time zone as Missouri. Unfortunately my checked bag did not arrive and over 40 of us waited in a long line at baggage claim. After finally getting my claim ticket I learned that my bag would not come in until 10:00pm the next day.  We stayed at a hotel right next to the airport that was $17 a night per a person and it was not nearly as nice at the one in Reobamba. 

Hotel in Quito
I packed all my personal gear in my backpack except for a jacket and my hiking boots, so I was ok, but the shoes, socks and bibles I brought to give away were all in the checked bag. Hopefully it will catch up with me in Riobamba today.

Yesterday we looked at all the car dealerships for a good 4 wheel drive for Bro. Hose to drive so he can reach the village’s way up in the mountains where the roads are very rough and not paved. We made the beautiful 4 hour drive south to Riobamba and hit 10,800 ft at one point. Quito was at 9,000 ft and Riobamba is at 8,500.

Maria owns the Hotel here and Pedro who started this ministry witnessed to her a few years ago and now that she is saved she helps with everything.  She is also a trained nurse so she goes up into the mountains and helps with the peoples health care needs.  He hotel is so nice.  It has a courtyard and 34 rooms that are all different.  it is hard to explain because it is nothing like an American hotel.  It is clean with nice TV's and a great breakfast of fruits and other local naturally produced foods.  She said most of her guest are from other countries and her son runs a tour guide service. 

We had some great news this morning. We met a man staying in our hotel from Manchester England. His name is Phil Prescott and Bro. Shockley witnessed to him and he invited Christ into his heart. I had brought only 1 English testament with me to read for myself so I gave him that testament and he signed his name and we went over the scriptures with him. I had brought 25 Spanish Bibles but I never thought I would need an English Bible.

Phil is on a yearlong tour of South America and he is a hiker so we may try and hike the big tall mountain Chimborazo. It is over 20,000 ft tall and would be the tallest I have ever climbed. Phil already climbed a tall one up north so he may be to worn out to do the taller one here.

Today we head to the car market were everyone brings their cars to sell and then up to Quislag. That is where the church is that so many have donated funds to build. That is about 13,000 ft. I bet I wish my jacket was here.

So far it has been a wonderful trip and this country is beautiful and the people are very friendly! Plus God blessed us and Phil with a chance encounter that will change his life forever.

Take care and God Bless!


Thursday, May 31, 2012


I headed out to Ecuador with a few other church members from the Sanctuary of Hope.  Our church has helped build a small church in a mountain village and we are going to help them and a few other villages learn about Christ. 

We come back June 12th and your prayers would be appreciated while we are down there.  These people have very little and are in a very remote area.  Many of them have never even heard about Jesus. 

I will try and keep you updated to our progress.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day Three –Part 2, Looking for the BIG one

After I lost that monster smally I was disappointed.  He was so close and he got away, but when you are fishing as in life there is only one thing to do.  Keep casting.  You can’t catch a fish staring at the water with your pole across your lap.  

Courts and Grant paddling in the rain
We kept hugging the shoreline and throwing our lure into every crag and good-looking fish hideout we could see.  Dad and I led and Courts and Grant followed.  We did catch server nice Pike that we knew would make for a tasty fish fry that night but no big small mouths.  

Our goal was Bald Eagle creek and we were getting closer.  It was still a cloudy and overcast day and we had been catching fish so I was excited about getting to Dad’s secret spot where even Mom had caught big fish.  When we finally saw the creek I changed lures to a giant yellow rooster tail, as Dad gave me the final instructions on being ready to catch a fish.  He said Mom almost caught a fish on every cast 20 years ago, which added to my pressure.  

As we started up the mouth of the creek there was a huge rock on our right side and Dad said, “We always catch one here.”  Right after he said that I made a perfect cast to the edge of that rock and sure enough hung a nice Pike.  That made me a believer on how much of a honey hole Bald Eagle Creek was.  

Dad kept paddling and advising me on where to cast and I kept catching fish.  The water was really shallow and we could easily see the bottom as we headed upstream.  The grass and lily pads were thick against the edges and the Pike were sitting underneath them and attacking my lure with each cast.  The trick was to cast as close to the grass as possible without getting hung.  

We tried to stay quiet and cast without snagging but there were several casts where I threw to hard and caught the brush.  Each time Dad would have to paddle over to my snag and he would say, “You can’t catch fish getting hung up,” or he would ad, “Your as bad as your Mom at casting, can’t you cast any better than that?” 

Courts and Grant followed us up the creek and Grant was having a ball while pulling them in.  I don’t know how many we caught but we started throwing the “small” ones back.  We finally reached a point where the water was so shallow we had to stop and Dad parked our canoe so we could hike up to Beaver Creek and check out the Beaver Dam.  

It was only a few hundred yards to the Beaver Dam but there was no trail and it was an adventurous hike through rocks, brush and millions of mosquitoes.  I took my pole hoping to catch a monster fish in the Beaver Pond and when we reached the Dam it was a beautiful pond that looked like it should be full of very large fish just waiting to be caught by an adventurer brave enough to blaze and trail through the brush and mosquitoes.  Unfortunately, I didn’t even get a bite.

We headed back to our canoes, stretched our backs and headed back down Bald Eagle Creek.  After a very long day sitting in the canoe it felt good to get up and walk around, but the mosquitoes were so bad I wanted to get out in the breeze over the water where they didn’t bother us as much.  

Grant with his Big One
We had another fun time catching fish all the way down the creek and we were almost back to the big rock with Courts and Grant in front of us when Grant hooked his biggest fish of the trip.  He was trying to pull it in and his drag was screaming while Courts and Dad were coaching him on the finer points of fish catching.  I took the camera out and got the whole thing on film.  Grant pulled him into the boat and help up a very nice Pike for the photo op. 

It was getting late in the day so we headed back along the same shoreline for our campsite.  Dad kept paddling and I kept fishing but I was anxious to get back to the spot where I had hung my monster small mouth.  I wanted another chance at him and thought maybe he would bite again or his wife or Dad would be there to jump on my line.  Dad caught a few Walleye and I hooked a Pike or two as we got closer to the “spot.”

A couple of coves up when we were really close to shore I made a short cast off the point of a cliff that didn’t look very special and hooked a fish.  I was trying to real him in but my drag kept slipping and Dad looked at me and said, “Son you have to tighten that drag some or you will never get these fish in.”

I was thinking he was right and about that time he broke the water and I understood the reason the drag was slipping, I had another big smallmouth on the line.  As soon as Dad saw him he told me to get the net.  This time the handle was out and ready and I wasted no time in getting the net and scooping up my trophy small mouth!

He was BIG and I was happy!!  All the disappointment from losing that other smally was washed away.  I very carefully put him on the stringer and after that all I wanted to do was get back to camp and show Courts and Grant.  Of course after I calmed down and thought about it I made the point that as big as he was I knew the one that got away was even bigger.  
Me with my Monster

It was a somewhat uneventful trip back.  Dad caught another small walleye and we had to paddle against the wind across the last part of the lake to get to our campsite but I wanted to weigh and measure my fish. 
Dad left his fish scale at home because he thought it would be too heavy to trek in.  At his age every ounce was a burden so we didn’t have an accurate way to weigh my monster.  I got a 5 Pound bag of potatoes that Mom had sent and held them in one hand and my fish in the other.  They seemed about even to me and Courts double checked my accuracy and confirmed the weight.  It measured almost 19 inches and we estimated it was 5 pounds.  

I can tell you it made for a giant fish fry.  I love fish and I have eaten a lot of good fish in my life, but I don’t think fish can ever be as good as they are after a long day on the Boundary Waters.  There is something about frying some fresh fish that were just caught out of a lake that is so clean you can drink the water straight out of it,  in pure coconut oil that have been dipped in Mom’s secret cornmeal mix.

We had a wonderful evening sitting around our campfire and ate fish till we couldn’t eat any more as we watched the sun set in one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on earth.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  I learned that when the wind blows out of the West and it’s a cloudy overcast day, GO FISHING because fish do bite best when the wind blows from the West!  Next year I will volunteer to carry the 2oz fish scale into camp.