July 11, 2013

Trout Fishing In Germany

I lived in Germany from 1978 to 1984. The trout fishing there is  legendary. The glacier fed streams were cold to say the least. While in  the Army there I decided it was much too rich for my blood.  I was an Army Sergeant there.

 Fishing in Germany was quite an undertaking.  There  were classes to get a license that cost nearly a thousand dollars and  after you took your "hard" test you had to rent the waterway you planned  to fish.  When you fished the waterway... you had to rent it from the individual or club that owns the rights for the waterway. Also you had  to present the trout to the land owner and if he wanted it you must give  it up.  No matter if it was a trophy or a dink.  My limited army income  made it nearly impossible.

While in the service I made numerous friends with locals.  My best  friend in Germany is called Jan Tomasak.

  I met him the first day I  arrived in country.  I flagged him down.  He was taxi driver.  He was a  college student working his way through Architecture School.  I asked  him to show me around the city.  Jan turned off his taxi meter and went off duty.  Jan showed me through every nook and cranny of Augsburg. This boy knew Augsburg.  We became best friends.  The years passed and the women passed but one thing stayed the same.  Jan was my best friend and would be for life.

Jan had dreams of big things.  He talked about retiring at age 40.  He  had the drive and I thought it could be possible.  I departed Augsburg  Germany in 1984.  Jan had his first architecture business already started.

Five years after I returned to the USA I invited Jan to Wisconsin to be my photographer for my wedding.  He jumped at the opportunity.

  It was  my wedding day and Jan was down in the basement of the church with me.   We were standing at the back door of the church in the basement. He  opened the door and told me: "This is your last chance to escape."  I  just smiled and told him: "No way." His response was : "Good, I  would have tripped you and carried you inside if you did something so  foolish. This one is a keeper."

Jan flew back to Germany that next day.  We went to visit him a couple times in the '90s.  He was becoming quite the business man.  His business was flourishing.

 He even talked about expanding to the East  when it opened.  The East opened.  Jan was the man.  He went in to the  old country and made some good business investments.  He sold all his  holdings and bought 12 apartment buildings in Augsburg.  That same year he invited my family to the Millennium Ball he was throwing in the Czech Republic .  It was a black tie affair with all guests being transported to the Castle in the Alps by a eight white stallion carriage.  Evening  gowns were a requirement.  It was too rich for my blood but I was really  impressed by Jan's success.

Five years passed and I had to listen to Jan saying he was retiring that year at age 40 and we needed to come visit him.  He wanted me to go trout fishing with him.  He was a member of the Munich Fishing Club.   They owned all the rights to southern Germany for trout fishing.  I was  to be his guest with no fees or school required.  The Guest Pass needed  to be carried with us.

July 2005 Barb and I went to Germany.  I was planning the trip for six  months prior.  One month before we went I sent a big package over with  backup fish clothing and all sorts of gear.  I had it planned down to  the last detail.  I was going to spank some German trout tail.

Barb and I arrived in Munich on a Thursday morning. The fight was non-stop and I tried to sleep on the plane.  I was too excited.  I could not sleep.  I drove from Munich to Oberau in a rent a car. I was spent.   I needed to sleep.  We checked in to the Edelweiss Hotel at 11am.   Barb and I were fast asleep.

At 1pm there was a knock at the door.  We rolled over and ignored it.   The knock was louder the next time and lots longer.  I answered the  door.  It was Jan.  He wanted to go fishing.  I told him I was beat and needed to sleep a while.  He was insistent and said he wanted to just drive around and talk about fishing and do a little scouting.

Jan explained to me that we were going to fish in the Leinbach River and it was 10 minutes from my hotel.  I thought what the heck.  There was nothing wrong with scouting.  As we drove he told me the German Fishing  Regulations.  Between the 2 of us we had a one day pass and we could catch one meter of trout and then we had to quit.  The Munich club had a  strict "NO CATCH AND RELEASE" policy.  Any thing we caught no matter  the size had to be kept.

We got out of his van stream side and he started gearing up.  I told him  this was only a scouting mission.  I needed to sleep.  He told me: "You  can sleep when you are dead....We are fishing."  I protested.  I told  him I needed to get my gear out and waders and boxes.  He handed me the rod he had already strung up with a Mepps odd ball looking spinner I had  never seen before and said"  "It is time to fish."

He told me the trout were hard to catch and don't feel bad if we didn't catch anything.  I took my wallet out of my blue jeans and took everything out of my pockets and off we went.  The streams were tiny.   The only place they widened was where the glaciers emptied in.  I tried casting from shore but I couldn't reach where I wanted.  My wife Barb got bored with watching us fishing and went wandering.  I waded right in to the stream up to my waist.  The streams were ultra cold.  After the  shock of the water and some serious shrinkage I placed myself in a good casting position.

Twenty minutes later I had THREE 15 inch trout and I was done fishing.  All the months of preparation and shipping of gear was over in 20  minutes.  Jan just smiled and said: "More time to go to local beer fests  and enjoy the sights."  We went to my friend's home in Oberau and cleaned the three browns and cooked them on the grill.

Two days later we were at Jan's retirement party.

July 10, 2013

I Don't Like Snakes

With the dog days of summer comes the days of me speaking locally.  A couple weeks back I spoke at Riverdale Summer School.  Today I spoke at Bethel Care Cove Day Services and at Bethel Home Maplewood Terrace in Viroqua.

The second group of the day was a lively bunch at.Maplewood Terrace  They all loved my Trout Don't Live In Ugly Places Presentation.

 I explained to them before I presented that were a few snakes and spiders in my show.  Avis the young lady in the light blue with the white necklace told me she was not going to stay if my presentation included snakes.  I told Avis I would go over the snake pictures quickly so I wouldn't stress her out and so she would stay.
All the ladies loved my show.  Avis liked it about the best.  Avis and I both knew a common person in Gays Mills and she even knew my family.
When I speak at nursing homes I explain to the residents that my presentation is not all about trout.  It is about the beautiful places they live and the other animals and insects they share that beauty with.  Many are not anglers but they appreciate the outdoors and they picked a few wildflowers as children and got muddy and wet as any angler.