Erik Springer from Cleveland.
Frank "Goat Boy" Denallo
Where are you boys?
Your Last Day Fishing
Erik Springer and Frank Denallo (Best Friends)
It was the 24th of September. The phone rang. It was my buddy Frank
Denallo from Cleveland on the phone. He usually calls me and jokes with
me and asks how the fishing was. This phone call was different. His tone
on the phone was different than usual. I could tell something was wrong
from the get go.
Frank and his buddy Erik Springer use to be clients of mine when I
guided. I did the guide thing with them a couple times and we became
good friends. When I quit guiding, I still continued fishing with them
each Fall and Spring when they drove up all the way from Cleveland to
Southern Wisconsin to trout fish with me. They always camped and lived
life to the fullest. Their camp site was a fun place to hang out.
Lots of camp fire stories/lies were told on the banks of the Kickapoo
River. Many beers drank and many wild crazy stories were told. Frank and
Erik loved to trout fish and it was evident in their zeal for the
There was friendly competition and a little rivalry. Frank and
Erik were the best of friends and it was a joy to fish with them because
it was obvious they loved fishing and really enjoyed each others
Frank and Erik had just been up fishing with me
about 4 days prior and they had an excellent 10 days fishing the
Driftless Area. They packed up their vehicle and head back to Cleveland.
I got a call from Frank to tell me that they had arrived back home.
They had five more days to fish and they were NOT going to waste a
second of it. They decided to hit the stream around Cleveland before
they went back to work.
I assumed Frank was calling me to give me a fish report. That was not
the case. Frank and Erik had fished non-stop for 3 days and Frank needed
to regroup and get some sleep. Frank and Erik made their battle plans
and Frank needed to sleep a little because he was burnt out from all the
fishing and driving in the last 2 weeks. Erik dropped off Frank and off
he went after noon to hit another stream before work called and
destroyed their wonderful vacation.
Erik did not make it to the stream. Frank was calling me from the
hospital. Erik must have fallen asleep behind the wheel and hit a tree
at 55 miles an hour. The impact was on the passenger side and the
vehicle was basically wrapped around the tree. If Frank had been in the
passenger seat he surely would have died.
Erik sustained many injuries and was on life support. He had a brain
injury and brain swelling and the doctors had him in a drug induced
comma until his swelling came down. Erik was on ventilator and had a
tracheotomy and breathing tube in place. He had many broken bones and
was NOT expected to make it. Frank was going to stay there as long as he
could and keep a watchful eye over his buddy Erik. They finally kicked
him out of the hospital when visiting hours were closing.
Frank has called me once a week since the accident. Two months ago Frank
called me and said out of the blue Erik woke up and wanted the
breathing tubes removed. Erik could not talk because of the surgery he
had to put the ventilator in place. Frank was so happy he called me
Erik has had about 5 surgeries since then and is now in
physical therapy to try to be able to walk again. Erik does not remember
the crash and lost lots of short term memory. He is already talking
about going fishing this spring in Wisconsin with me.
Life is precious. Life long friends are hard to come by. What is even
harder to come by is a good friend that enjoys your love of fishing and
the outdoors. The next time you go fishing you should treat it like it
could be Your Last Day Fishing.