Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 53

The life of a Wawa walleye wizard

BY SCOTT HADDOW

Wild Northerner staff

For Jamie Robinson, fishing has always been about family.

Growing up in the Nipigon area, Robinson was going on walleye trips with family by age four. He was riding his bike down to the Nipigon River to fish by age seven and going for fly-in fishing journeys with his grandfather, who always had a float plane, and his father and two uncles, who also flew planes.

As a youth, Robinson was instilled with the sense of family and fishing. These values naturally bestowed upon him have stayed with Robinson true and strong to this day now that he has his own family, with wife Carol-Anne and children Lindsay, 19, and Brett, 17. Whether it is for recreation or serious tournament angling, Robinson, 44, has always made time for family to be involved.

“I have been fortunate enough to grow up fishing and experiencing some great trips with family,” he said. “My wife and I continued this tradition from when the kids were born and we are lucky enough they both love all the outdoor activities we enjoy. We have all fished tournaments together at various times and hopefully the traditions will continue with the next generations as well.”

Robinson is a Wood Measurement Officer for the MNRF, living in the Wawa region. Robinson is also one of the top walleye anglers in northern Ontario, having fished the Northern Ontario Walleye Tour since 2003 and earning six of the last seven tour Angler of the Year awards.

It is Robinson’s approach to tournament fishing which might hold a big clue to his success year after year. He simply goes out, puts his skills to the test and enjoys the experience no matter what. It works because he is a consistent and perennial contender in tournaments.

“I am a competitive person by nature,” he said. “It is who I am and what I do. I think I may use more brain power fishing than any other activity. I enjoy the challenge of trying to catch the largest fish in each lake and locating fish. I even have a hard time just fishing for fun because even once I find and catch fish, I am wanting to leave to see of I can find more in other locations. I have never fished any event or lake new to me or not that I didn't believe I could be consistent enough to be in the Top 10. This doesn't always happen. I try to stay positive and fish with confidence and enjoy the day no matter the outcome.”

Carol-Anne grew up fishing with her father. She had her own deep-rooted passion for angling. It made it an easy transition for Carol-Anne and Jamie when they met and married. In the early years, the Robinson clan spent their holidays and spare time fishing and going on outdoor adventures, all four seasons. The kids were doing outdoors stuff such as ice fishing and moose hunting with their parents and family members days after being born.

This family has always been close and Robinson is the driving force behind it thanks to his genuine character as a father and husband and person.

“Each member of our family is a spoke in the wheel of balance,” Carol-Anne said. “Jamie is our level headed, reasonable one. Jamie has a kind heart and is an excellent, caring, reliable husband, father and family man. From chores with horses, to getting up early to get one of the kids to a school event departure, to household chores, to hockey dad, he gives his time endlessly to whatever needs to be done, to keep all of us moving forward smoothly.”

There is no denying Robinson and his wife have made a lasting impact on their children.

When Brett was seven, he joined dad on the fishing tour and helped him win a few events over the years. The decade’s worth of lessons on the boat and on the water from a father intensely passionate about fishing have been a positive for Brett, giving him a veteran angler’s sense already.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to fish with my Dad during tournaments as it has been a great experience for me,” he said. “The competitive spirit while being with my Dad is great. Spending time out on the water deciphering fishing tactics and how to best utilize electronics has been invaluable. The most important lesson is to remain calm and focused, to fish against the fish, even when things seem to be difficult.”

When Lindsay was 12 days old, her father and mother had her at the ice shack on the lake in winter. Her father had provided good guidance which helped Lindsay form her core values and how she approaches life.

“By growing up and participating in outdoor activities basically since birth, I have learnt many skills as well as values that have helped me on a day to day basis,” she said. “Being kind or appreciating my surroundings, are probably the most reoccurring themes my father has thought me. I have learned to appreciate my surroundings as well as be kind not only in the outdoors and towards mother nature, but as well as to utilize these on a daily basis. Growing up with my family has also thought me how to help sustain the outdoors, in order for us to keep enjoying the beauty of our area.”

Fishing has been a providing presence in the Robinson family life. Earning success in tournaments have benefitted Robinson with snowmachines, ATVs and small boat and motor packages and helped him catch on with plenty of top industry sponsors. It has also made them mainstays in northern Ontario. There is no other place for the Robinson family.

“Fishing has provided a better life for my family and not just the prizes,” Robinson said. “It has given my family too many adventures to count and hopefully many more to come. I love living in northern Ontario for the solitude it provides. No matter what outdoors activity you choose, if you would like to do it and only enjoy only nature and the company you keep while not battling the crowds, northern Ontario is the place to be.