Outdoor Adventures

Posted 5/12/21

I Gotta Vent By Brian G. Schommer The Minnesota Fishing Opener ranks right up there on the “Importance Scale” as a birthday, anniversary or even Christmas. Those that consider themselves …

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Outdoor Adventures


I Gotta Vent

By Brian G. Schommer

The Minnesota Fishing Opener ranks right up there on the “Importance Scale” as a birthday, anniversary or even Christmas. Those that consider themselves dedicated anglers generally are preparing for the big day months in advance. Well folks, if you are one of those people, the long-awaited opener is just days away. Saturday, May 15th marks another Minnesota Fishing Opener and for the first time in many years, there is no conflict with Mother’s Day. In talking with a few of my close buddies who land in the dedicated angler category, while Mother’s Day is not throwing a roadblock into their plans, many other wrenches have fallen from the toolbox of life and have landed smack dab during their ability to get out onto the lakes to catch some fish.

Terry Fuchs of Cottage Grove and Kyle “Benson Outdoors” Benson are two guys that place high priority on the art of fishing. These guys are not only two of the nicest men you could ever meet, but also legends of the lakes when it comes to knowing how to catch fish. If you do not believe me, just ask them. You will be amazed at the vast knowledge that is shared by these two when it comes to tactics, strategies and knowing just what bait to use when seeking a trophy walleye, or for that matter, any other species of gamefish that you desire. Because they are genuine people, not many people request photo proof of their adventures. It is just accepted as fact that they are telling the truth because people who fish never embell… stretch the tru… ummmm… maybe we need to start asking for photo proof. Those photos will not be coming this opener, however, as more important to these two than fishing is family (fishing is a close second). I can guarantee a few fish stories from them later this summer, but for now they are assisting with plans for each of their “babies” high school graduations. Congratulations to Nick and McKenna (Park and Hastings, respectively) for your great accomplishments. Terry and Kyle… how about the three of us go drown some minnows this summer. It will make for a great Outdoor Adventure. If you have not figured it out, the focus this week is not so much on the fishing opener as it is on priorities. For some, there will be no higher priority than going fishing.

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Hats off to you and may you have the best of luck possible. If fishing takes the backburner to other things this weekend, so be it. One of the most used, if not overused phrases in our vernacular as of late has been, “You do you.” In short, at least according to the urban dictionary on the internet, this is the act of doing what one believes is the right decision, being oneself. While this phrase is so commonly used, even ad nauseum from time to time, it is easily questioned if those saying it believe it? The conversations usually start out with “You be you…” and then, when the person states their decision or belief is, the follow-up to “You be you…” is something on the lines of, “you cannot really think that?” Somewhere our society has detoured from the path of “agreeing to disagree” and has began walking a much different road of “I am right, you are wrong and if we do not agree, I have to defriend you on Facebook.” This is generally followed by something like, “Okay Boomer” or several other applicable comments that are to take a shot at a person’s generation.

Is it time to stop this societal spiral and get the train back on the tracks? No matter your opinion, “You do you.” It is my thoughts that it is indeed time, high time, and maybe even way past due time to grab the locomotive of life and firmly put it on the tracks to “Respect Town.” If you want to ride this train with me, just know all are welcome. If you are not onboard, no issues. “You do you.” I know there are a few readers saying, “You are off the tracks pal, this is an outdoors column, and you are getting all philosophical, preachy and even a bit of that other “P” word that you vowed is never going to be part of this column.” None of this is written to be that other “P” word and as I mentioned to a State Senator this past weekend, they all drive me nuts. You are right though, I am off the typical rails of Outdoor Adventures and as the guy that is responsible for writing this little literary gem (semi-precious gem at best), like it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, it is a columnist’s prerogative to share their views and opinions from their perspective. If you do not agree, guess what… we CAN agree to disagree. If you need to blame someone, as seems to be another societal thing, blame our publisher John… he printed this column.

From an “outdoors” perspective, “You do you” is quite fitting. This weekend, there may be over a million people on Minnesota lakes fishing. Without doing the exact math, that is close to 20% of the population of the land within the borders of our great State of Minnesota. The number of fishing licenses sold in Minnesota is consistently in the range of 1 million to 1.2 million and, when older seniors and children who do not need licenses are factored in, the state may have closer to 1.4 million anglers. It is a good thing we have over 10,000 lakes. However, not everybody is into fishing. How ridiculous would this scenario be? Say someone who is “way into fishing” like my buddies mentioned earlier reply to someone who is not into fishing, “Well, if you don’t fish, I cannot be your friend.” Pretty ridiculous, right? Or, if a person who was really into hiking around the lakes said to one of my fishing buddies, “Lakes are for hiking around, not fishing, so if you don’t hike, I cannot be your friend.” Completely ridiculous. If you want to fish, fish. If you want to hike, hike. If you want to bike, camp, go site-seeing, hunt, jog, run marathons… “You do you.” If you want to pick up garbage that others left lying on the ground, “You do you.” Another phrase that is overused today is “Don’t be a Karen.” To all those named Karen, I am sorry someone decided to use your name to coin a phrase that certainly could be quite annoying to those who share your name. I know many “Karen’s” and they are great people. Point is, if we all just be who we are, and more important, start respecting each other’s right to their own opinions, views, and beliefs… that is one-step to getting the train back on track.

Thanks for letting me vent (like you had a choice). You did have a choice to continue reading and if you are still here, thank you. Outdoor Adventures is coming up on one-year of being published (began after the Hastings Journal’s first publication). The trek to the Cottage Grove Ravine Park has not yet happened nor have we gotten out to Schaar’s Bluff. Future columns will certainly contain experiences from this columnists’ perspective of those two outdoor activity hotspots that our area is blessed with. Hopefully, Terry and Kyle will take me up on that fishing experience where finally some photo proof of their expertise will be shareable. (It’s all good guys, I know how to photoshop). The column will at times get off the rails. The guy writing the column has the tendency to do that and it usually is with good intentions. For now, get out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors as you wish… “You do you.”