Stray Casts: Giving up annual trip to Lake Anywhere was easy decision

Readers of this column in the Wellington Advertiser for nearly ten years might remem­ber that the Stray Caster has spent a week in July each year fishing at a place he referred to as Lake Anywhere.

It was so named because the owner asked that its location re­main a secret because it is Paradise on Earth and he did not want it cluttered up with tourists, Tim’s coffee cups, and McDonald’s wrappers. The Stray Caster honoured his re­quest, and has never revealed its location. It was dubbed Lake Anywhere because there are lots of lakes in Northern Onta­rio just like it, and people can go out and find their own – and have a ball, just like the Stray Caster did.

This year, things are a little different – although the loca­tion shall remain secret.

That is a little awkward, though – and somewhat frus­trating. After 11 years of never winning one of those fabulous Carla Schott T-shirts for the biggest pike or the biggest walleye, The Stray Caster fin­ally got lucky last year. Captain Mike Stanwyck was doing a drift less than half a mile from the cabin when the Stray Caster felt a hit. Seldom has a fish come to the surface and been captured so easily. It hardly felt like a fight. Captain Mike slip­ped the net under it and sug­gested it might be a decent size. It won the contest by a quarter inch.

The problem is, that fabu­lous T-Shirt has the name of the lake on it. So, for the past year, the Stray Caster has kept it at the bottom of the dresser draw­er, lest anyone see the name of the lake, and thus the location for the past 12 years at a secret lake.

This year, after a dozen years of visiting that lake, the Stray Caster reluctantly told Cap­tain Brian Schott, who orga­nizes the annual trip, that he would not be attending this year.

There are varied reasons as to why, but one was over­whelm­ing to a guy who can be a klutz on the lake, not to mention around the cottage.

The Stray Caster has written several times previously about our two latest fishing compani­ons, Hellene, 12, and Matthew-Adam, 7, both of whom are cele­brating birthdays in the next while. They love to fish, and they regularly bug the Stray Caster to take them fish­ing. While his time is limited these days, the Stray Caster has obliged as much as possible.

But there was a more im­portant reason for staying home this year, and it has to do with how the Stray Caster came to meet his newest fishing com­pani­ons. It has to do with a won­derful lady who happens to be their mother. Her name is Anna, and after this week’s posting, that name is likely to come up in this column more often.

The reason is simple. The Stray Caster is getting married this month. Yes, there will be a Mrs. Stray Caster – at least until she hears about that moniker. We had talked about a date in August, but it seemed unfair for the Stray Caster to go off on a fishing trip for a week in July with no firm plans for a date, place, et cetera. Con­se­quently, the Stray Caster called Captain Brian, and bowed out.

He learned later that about 17 guys were on this year’s trip, which will make for a busy camp, and keep the cooks hop­ping, not to mention the dish­washers. The Stray Caster wished everyone a great time, and, as this is written, the guys are on the lake. We miss it; no doubt about that.

But, just hours after this col­umn is posted on the Wellington Advertiser web site, the Stray Caster will be wing­ing his way with Anna to Cal­gary on a honeymoon. And no, the Bow River is not featured in our plans. (Fishing tackle was just to much to drag along. Maybe another year.)

But, Banff is on the itiner­ary, and there are rumours that long-time fishing companion Mark Moser and  his lovely wife, Gerri, will be passing through around the same time Anna and the Stray Caster are there. As well, Shaker Mah­on­ey moved west a few years ago, and there is a chance of running into him, too. The regulars at Lake Anywhere say the trip is different without Big Mo.

True. But count on one thing. The Stray Caster will definitely be wearing his biggest walleye T-Shirt when we meet Mark in Banff. The Stray Caster is tired of hiding it in a dresser drawer.