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updated: 2/5/2014 10:22 PM

Time to reflect on a contemplative endeavor

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With the snow up to my ears, it was too tempting to recall a day from not-so-distant past. A much warmer, fish-friendly day.

I couldn't scare up a partner, so I spent my time on the water fishing -- and talking -- to myself.

I slowly drifted along an outside weed edge on Bangs Lake, and was casting to weed pockets as I moved along.

It was one of those days when the fish were apparently hungry. Every third or fourth cast produced a strike.

The bass weren't huge, but rather in the 1- to 2-pound range. I alternated between using whacky-worm style Yum Dingers and Little Action Mac pre-rigged worms.

And since I didn't have to converse with anyone on this morning, I decided to review some of the e-mails I had recently received that just happened to be focused on the very sport I dearly love and appreciate.

Appreciate, you ask? You bet.

For me fishing is the best life-soothing agent available.

Anyway, I had this tremendous strike on the Mac. I reared back, set the hook a couple more times and hefted a 4-pound largemouth into the boat.

After I released the fish I went back to mentally sorting out what a chap with the initials F.G. said to me in his e-mail sent to my web page.

"I fished for 20 years, Mike, and never had a good time," he wrote, "and all I ever caught were tiny sunfish. So what's the big deal about your sport and the junk you write about every week?"

I don't have to defend the material in this column, but I can and will defend the sport I dearly love because what it does for me.

I went through some pretty stressful times when I lived in Minneapolis. After my regular job as a radio news network correspondent, I guided out-of-town anglers on Lake Minnetonka.

I always asked the people I was guiding if they minded if I fished with them as well. Most said it was OK.

I'm telling you this because no matter how many days, what the number of hours happens to be, and what I have to do to get to a specific fishing location, I can never get enough.

So there I was, on the front seat of my comfortable 17-foot fishing boat catching bass, an occasional bluegill, and appreciating every second of the outing.

There was another missive sent to my web page that described that person's feelings when he's on the water.

T.W. wrote: "I started listening to your outdoor show five years ago and also started reading your column at the same time. When you wrote about flyfishing the small streams in south and central Wisconsin you managed to get me to try flyfishing for the first time. I started catching panfish in a tiny stream and then graduated to bass. I now know what you're feeling when you have a fly rod or spinning rod in your hands. All of it is exhilarating."

I moved to the east end of Bangs and inspected the weed lines. I could see quite a few bluegills and bass moving around in the shallows. I flipped a Mini-Mite in front of one largemouth, and sure enough the fish went for it. The only mistake I made was using a super, ultralight rold and line with that cast, plus 2-pound mono.

The fish moved off into the deeper weeds. Line raced off the reel's arbor I finally decided to tighten the drag and see if I could turn the fish. It worked.

I netted and weighed a 5.4-pound bucketmouth, and at the same time thought about T.W. and his feeling of accomplishment.

Thanks for sharing the excitement, pal.

•Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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