Wild Northerner Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 53

Spring time means road time

BY SCOTT HADDOW

Wild Northerner staff

How far have you travelled to have the fishing experience of a lifetime?

Too far? Not far enough?

And the better question is, was it worth it?

Going on a big trip, for many anglers, is a commitment. Especially for those with wives and kids and jobs.

A 10-day trip is typically the starting point for a big trip in my parts and among the people I know.

A few years ago, I travelled with three good friends to north of Jellicoe to fish trout, pike and walleye in the vastness of remote northern Ontario. It was 1,100-km one-way from Greater Sudbury.

We took that challenge down in a 2003 Subaru Outback in the middle of May. It was awesome and crazy.

The long drive eventually got the best of each one of us, one way or another.

The drive up was compounded with one friend who needed to stop constantly to have a cigarette and washroom break. We started calling him the old man. I know, disrespectful to old men, but we did it anyway and laughed hard about it.

He added at least two hours to the drive up with his shenanigans. Maybe more.

We stayed at a hotel in Hearst the first night. It wasn’t glamorous, but it kept us warm and dry. The sleep was compromised by the stench of leaking gas from four grown men and plenty of laughing.

We arrived at the resort the next morning and fished hard for the next eight days. We caught walleye, lake trout and pike.

We blew two tires out. We got lost on several occasions. One road washed away after we had crossed it, forcing us to drive aimlessly until we found an alternate route back to the lodge. We hit a lake and fought strong North winds all day just to land one perch while being totally outclassed and out-fished by kids.

We were the only bozos to drive up to the resort in a car. Every one else drove trucks. We endured some teasing from the gentlemen driving the pick-ups. I ended it all on the third day when I spoke up to a group of snickering men. They asked if we had to ship our gear up here by bus because the car was small. I said it was no problem and then told them it cost us only $120 in gas to drive from Sudbury, 1,000+km away.

They stepped back and started praising the Outback for its gas mileage compared to the trucks. One fella said $120 wouldn’t even get him out of the camp in his truck. He was joking, but made his point. Still, everyone can appreciate good gas mileage especially when you point out how much more beer one can buy with the savings.

We fit the clothes and gear for four men, and we all over-packed, in the Outback and on the roof racks and a cargo basket plugged into the hitch. The car was sagging at times, but went 2,500-km round-trip, and another 250-km of drives around Jellicoe on logging roads, without too much trouble.

Would I do it again? Absolutely without question. Would I go for 10 days again? I would have no problem with it. I would be more at ease if it was one week next time.

I believe every angler must, at some point in their lives, take an extensive road trip and go far away. Not just for some good fishing, but to experience remote wilderness.

The scenery and wildlife up in Jellicoe was astounding. We saw bears, moose and eagles every day. We even watched two bald eagles fight with a golden eagle in the sky and amongst the trees.

Considering the season, I can think of no better time than now to hit the road and go for a fishing adventure.

Next time, we are taking a truck. We proved it could be done in a car. Next time, we don’t want to feel like circus clowns jammed tightly into a novelty car when we arrive.

Long road trips may take a long time, but they provide enduring memories. They also provide the opportunity to talk and re-connect with friends in a meaningful way -– LOL, because you are forced to sit about two feet apart from one another in a confined space.

Safe travels this season.