By David Hill, Barrhaven West Councillor
I used to live in Northern Ontario. My brother lives there, and I had the opportunity to finish high school and then get hired in the local gold mine. It could not have been a more different community than Ottawa – most folks there either worked for the mine, Indigenous Affairs, the tourism sector or in supporting industries. Most residents were blue collar folks and those with higher education were trained principally in technical skills, like engineering, or worked in management.
If there was one common denominator, it was that most weekends you would find the traffic jam not on the road leading to the mine shaft, but to the public docks where you could find anyone from schoolteachers to contract workers to accounts payable clerks putting in their boat. I had gone fishing prior to living there but it was living with my brother that I had the chance to really add some science and sport into the activity.
Now, I will be completely up front – I am not the best fisherman out there, but I know enough to have found some real value in it. It is a simple process – drop your line with a small, weighted jig hook baited with a minnow and once it hits the bottom, pull it up a few inches from the bottom and wait… and wait. When you feel a nibble, let the fish keep at it until it until you feel a firm bite and then tighten the line and slowly pull it to the boat keeping tension on the line throughout. Yes there are some technicalities involved in terms of finding the right depth and temperature, but this is nothing that a local couldn’t help advise you on. And that brings me to my point. When my brother invited my family up for a week this summer to catch up with family and friends and to get out to catch some pickerel, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a week of family vacation.
Just having the chance to put the phone down for a few hours, to focus on nothing but some fun boat conversation, to feel my line jig and jerk from time to time, and to see the joy and excitement when family and friends that had never been out before would land a catch – be it a 4 inch perch or a 32 inch pike – was priceless. It is hard these days with the tether of technology. Many of us feel the need to always be plugged in and on-call. But my advice would be that everyone needs to recharge the batteries from time to time. This is the value of working in a team; we need to help each other take a break from time to time. If you think you might need a break – you probably do, and if you are not sure how to do it, a fishing trip may be just the thing you need!
There are lots of great places within a few hours of Ottawa. I have included a great resource link below. These provide great weekend fishing opportunities for families, friends, work colleagues, to get out of the office and focus on the mundane as opposed to the complex. I would recommend to anyone that hasn’t had the opportunity to give it a try – do so! Regardless of your catch, you will be better off for having had the experience .