Fishing is very competitive in my family for those of us who love to fish. It’s a friendly competition; but a competition, none the less. We spend a lot of our time fishing at our family cabin in Wisconsin. It’s a place I’ve gone to my entire life to swim, water ski and most of all fish.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved to fish. My dad took me, my two sisters, Holly and Stephanie and brother Matt out fishing as soon as we could walk. Holly, Matt and I caught the fishing bug while Stephanie found it rather boring (unless she was catching fish).

We’ve caught many fish throughout the years and always tally the numbers on how many fish each of us caught and who caught the biggest. My dad even has a fishing log dating back thirty years or so. 

Fishing has taught me many valuable lessons throughout my life with the most important one learning the art of patience.

One summer a few years ago, the largemouth bass fishing was on fire. All of the bass we’ve caught and released throughout the years finally had gotten nice and big.

My son Lukas, my nephew Logan and Holly all caught their first 5-pound bass that summer. My dad had already caught at least 10 and even a few six pounders. I started to feel the pressure! It got me thinking about maybe getting a plaque for the cabin and have it read,  “The Big Wood Lake 5-Pound Bass Club.” When I mentioned it, everyone thought it was a great idea.

As usual, I raced up to the cabin one Friday night anticipating a great night of fishing. It was my sister Holly’s birthday and she had driven the long drive from Balaton to spend time at the cabin. There’s only room for three people in our fishing boat, so Holly, my dad and I went out to fish for the evening after dinner. We were all using 7-inch sinking pumpkin seed Gulps for bait (very stinky).

My dad has named all of the fishing spots on Big Wood Lake, and we headed to a few of them that August night, but none of us even had a nibble. We are all getting frustrated. The sun was starting to set so we decided to go to the south of the isle bar which is a long bar connected with a double island, and try the spot before we headed back to the cabin.

I told Holly and my dad that even though I hadn’t caught a five-pound bass, I was still going to buy a plaque for the cabin with the names of everyone in the family who had caught the big one.

As soon as I said that, I cast my line out and ... boom! A hit! I set the hook and I could tell it was a big one. I was really hoping it wasn’t a catfish or a northern because I really don’t like taking those fish off the hook. Suddenly the bass jumped out of the water and I was excited! I let my drag out, and told my dad to get the net. There was no way I was going to lose this one. I reeled the bass in and my dad said, “it looks like you made the club” with a cigarette in his mouth.

I looked at Holly and said “happy birthday” with a smile on my face. She was laughing so hard and I asked her what was so funny and she said “do you realize that you caught this bass right after you said you were going to buy that plaque for the cabin? It’s divine intervention.” 

I thought I had my largemouth bass to mount and put on the wall at the cabin. However, my dad weighed the bass and it was nearly six pounds. I questioned his rusty weight scale from the 1960’s and he said I should put it back in the lake and wait until I catch one that is at least six- pounds. So after Holly took a picture of me with my bass, I said a bittersweet goodbye and put it back in the lake. 

Another fishing story for the books. I did get the plaque with the names of the five-pound bass club members of Big Wood Lake. They are: my uncle Del, my dad Jerry Logan, Lukas, Logan, Holly and me. But there is still room for more.


Noelle Olson is the staff writer of the Shoreview Press. She can be reached at 651-407-1229 or

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