Out of sight and dynamite!

Scott proudly holds his first fish. He liked the velvety feel of the skin.
Steven Wintemute
Off the Hook

Over the last five or six weeks I’ve had the pleasure of working with and getting to know a young man named Scott. Scott has been working as an editorial intern with us through REES Internship Training Project. Scott is an excellent writer and Scott is blind, has been since age 3.

Scott is a very proud, determined, educated and outgoing individual. I like to talk and I especially like to talk about fishing. One day when I was filling Scott in on my latest fishing adventure he mentioned that he had never fished before. “HUH? Seriously?” I said. “That’s terrible!”  I told Scott. “That’s just not right. We must do something about that right away!”

Five minutes later I was on the phone with good friend and Manitoba’s best catfish guide, Todd Longley. Todd owns and operates City Cats Guiding Service. Todd and I agreed on a time to go catfishing on the Red River just outside Selkirk. I let Scott know that on his last day of work with us he was to bring a change of clothes and a rain jacket. Yes, Scott, we are going fishing!

Scott was very excited but not as excited as I was. I love introducing people to the sport of fishing and enjoy the looks on their faces as they land their first or biggest fish ever!

Catching on quickly
Once on the water and on one of Todd’s most productive spots we threw our lines out and waited. It wasn’t long before Scott’s rod buckled and he had a fish on. This was a big fish. After a lengthy and tiring 15-minute battle Scott landed his very first fish. A 36-inch, 30-pound channel catfish.

What a way to start the evening! Now comes the still-harder part, trying to hold the fish for pictures. If you’ve never caught a big catfish you’d have no idea how strong these fish are. The fish are slippery, and have lots of attitude! Scott’s smile was ear to ear as he tried to hold the fish for the picture and you could tell he was excited and nervous at the same time.

After a few quick pictures we released the fish back into the water and continued to fish, laugh and fish some more. It was a great evening and as we packed up to head back to the boat launch I asked Scott if he wanted to drive the boat. An even bigger smile appeared on his face and he quickly jumped into the captain’s chair.

With a little guidance from Todd and me, Scott drove the boat down-river back to the launch. I could tell he was excited. Scott thanked us for taking time out to take him fishing, but what he doesn’t realize is that we were the ones who were truly thankful.

Scott taught us a valuable lesson that evening. Be thankful for what you have and live every moment like it’s your first time. Thanks Scott for that valuable reminder.

Our August issue of Lifestyles55 will offer Scott’s perspective on his first time fishing!

Steven Wintemute is general manager of Pegasus Publications and editor-in-chief of Hooked magazine.

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