The “wild” side

Alan and I met during a fishing trip to Lake Athabasca. The fishing trip started like any other, with a heart-pounding float plane ride from Fort McMurray accompanied by my friends. As we approached the 7th largest lake in North America, we witnessed one of the most unbelievable sights I have ever seen: the whole lake (with the exception of the bays) was frozen solid!

The next few days of fishing turned out to be epic as the pike became more aggressive with every warming day, chasing top water baits and just about anything you could throw their way. We would finish each day with a couple boats chipping ice from the main lake for use in cocktails that night and sharing stories of the day’s adventures. We were being invaded by a large Canadian black bear every night getting into everything, including stealing a dry bag that had a very expensive pair of Swarovski binoculars attached to it.

The owner of the business was excited to be away from the main lodge for a while, where his wife was keeping his compulsive drinking to a minimum. He was getting lazier and more out of control every day, with our evenings turning into a series of stressful debates that never went anywhere – much like talking to my ex-wife.  The week finished, my friends left and a new guy from Ireland arrived. A pike expert by the name of Alan Broderick was looking to invest in the lodge and was staying for a month with his guests fishing the following week. The stage was set, I was to fish with Alan and show him what I had learned the previous week and explore some new areas in search of lake trout spots and pike staging areas.

Jeff, the owner, was so drunk every day that we would have to come back from fishing, cook dinner, clean and prepare for the next day. One night in the middle of our trip we found Jeff face down blowing “dirt bubbles” passed out and oblivious to what was happening. It is a wonder he was never violated by that pesky black bear that was in the camp every night. The next week Alan and I fished, explored, talked business and became great friends. This is when the concept of Wild Fish Wild Places was born, and the next summer we were on a plane with a film crew 50 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Who would have known this chance encounter would lead to a life-changing adventure in search of the people who live to fish and the people who fish to live? Check out and “like” Wild Fish Wild Places on Facebook for updates and pictures and follow us on Outdoor Hub for exciting fishing stories!

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