My First Time Salmon Fishing

I don’t think my father realized the fire he lit inside of me that day. Neither did Travis Sweiringa or Dan Burgess. I couldn’t have been older than four, thus the reason my memory of that particular day is a little foggy. Certain events, however, we all have similar memories and experiences, will never be completely expunged from your mind. I don’t remember exactly how many fish we caught, although I am sure those three guys were gracious enough to let me turn the reel a few times as a young boy and a newcomer. Several things still stand out to me from that day that I will share with you.

The Vastness of Lake Michigan:

A core memory of mine is hopping onto Travis’s old Smokercraft for the first time. Long before the sunrise, we motored through Pigeon Lake in Port Sheldon for what seemed like forever! I can still hear the hum of that four-stroke Mercury and smell the burning gas as we rolled through the channel toward our destination. I can picture the look of the “ocean” in front of my eyes as we neared the end of the channel, and even more so as we trolled and the day went on. One hundred feet of water seemed like an unreachable number to a four-year-old’s imagination!

The Equipment:

I’ve taken many first-timers out on Lake Michigan and they are always impressed with the gear and the setup of the equipment we use to catch these fish. It was no different for me on my first adventure. The buzzing sound the downrigger wires make in the water, the different rods and lures, heck, trolling in and of itself was a foreign concept to me. I still remember, once all the gear was set and the sun started to peak Dan asked me which rod I thought was going to catch the first fish. I was, and still am from time to time, awed by the magnitude of it all, developed and thought of by someone much smarter than I.

Lifelong Friends:

For those of you that have not had the privilege to know my dad, Travis Sweiringa, and Dan Burgess, these are three men who have shaped me into who I am today. From a fishing perspective, but also a human being perspective. The bond you have with those you spend time with on the water is hardly comparable to anything else. These guys put up with me, and fished with me through my childhood years. All of the questions I had, all the excitement I had for this sport. The patience they showed me throughout the years is noteworthy and appreciated. As I get older, I see them less. People move away, boats get sold and less time is spent together. However, memories and stories don’t fade. I will cherish that first outing, and the many more to come after it, forever.

My first time salmon fishing was not a barn burner of an outing. What I have come to realize over the years is it isn’t about the fish you catch-it’s about the people you come to know. It’s about the drive, the passion, the anticipation, the smell and taste of coffee at 4:30 in the morning. I hope you remember your first trip out on the big pond. I hope you still get to fish with your old fishing buddies. It all started for me in those few short hours we spent that morning on the Smokercraft.

Wyatt Boetsma

I’m a REALTOR and outdoorsman. When I’m not having adventures fishing or hunting, you can find me showing houses and helping homebuyers make their dreams a reality. If you’re looking for a home or piece of property anywhere in the West Michigan area, I can help you find it! Contact me to get started!

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