David Ellingson 2016-08-12 18:01:15
FISHING, TECHNOLOGY ￼AND UNCLE LESTER Have you noticed how high-tech the world of fishing has become? As I paddled through stretches of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, I have seen lots of “gear” on fishing boats that helps anglers find and catch fish. Perhaps I am old school, but I thought fishing was about learning where the holes were from years of studying their habits, trial and error on the water, and fish tales from old-timers. Satellites that can follow my movements from space scare me and give me some compassion for my underwater brothers and sisters trying to elude “fish-finders” from above. One of my dad’s 10 siblings was Lester. Uncle Les was the family fishing guru. As I paddled through that stretch of water on my 2,300-mile kayak adventure down the Mississippi in 2012, the spirit of Uncle Lester and I communed. Really! Picture a round, rosy-cheeked, white-haired man with a straw hat and bib overalls. Lester was a rural mail carrier primarily so that he could fish after delivering the mail. Two of his sons became college professors, so he was a smart fellow. But his applied study was the life and habits of fish within 50 miles of Decorah, Iowa. Uncle Lester knew where the crappies, walleye and striped bass all lived because he spent time on the Mississippi. The river and its creatures had been his teachers. One summer I took my son Erik to meet Uncle Les. I knew this master fisherman would deliver the goods where his father had generally failed. So off we went to the river. He asked, “Erik, what do you want to catch?” Erik said, “Anything!” We crisscrossed the river in his beat-up old fishing boat, stopping at one hole after another. At each spot we caught a lot of fish. Erik was amazed at our success. But I wasn’t surprised because I knew that my uncle was a real fisherman who did it the “old-fashioned” way. I suspect this was the kind of fishing Jesus had in mind when he called his disciples. This article is adapted from Paddle Pilgrim, an Adventure of Learning and Spirit, Kayaking the Mississippi River, an account of Ellingson’s 2,300-mile paddle adventure down the Mississippi River (available on Amazon). Member David Ellingson is a college professor, Lutheran pastor, master gardener and father of five grown children. He resides near Seattle and is a member of First Lutheran of Richmond Beach. www.dellingson.com
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