I was off to a slow start the Tuesday back at work after the most amazing weather and good fishing over the May long weekend. At lunch the gorgeous weather persisted and it meant getting up from my desk and going for a walk in the sun. The Durand neighbourhood south of City Hall in downtown Hamilton is full of great historic and some beautiful up scale homes and it makes for a nice stroll. I try to take a different route on each walk to explore and I know this particular route I had passed by before, but never realized this one feature at the corner of Bay Street South and Robinson St.
Decorated along the length of a stop sign pole was flowers and two candles at its base. I almost walked past without slowing my paces, but something intrigued me to look closer.
My toes nearly at the base of the two candles on the ground and without my reading glasses on, I focused on the picture of the person from which this memorial display was in remembrance. It was to my surprise a young man holding a Musky. I am not sure why it had a profound effect on me, but I stepped back and knew this was important.
The first thought was about how I might have passed by without a change in my stride as I made my trek back to the office, but something stopped me.
Then most important thought was how it wasn't the fish that stopped me to take a look, it was something else. Essentially it was the person first that brought my condolences to pay informal respects, who happened to be a fisherman holding a fish. Discerning what that might mean, it became apparent that after a weekend like we had of incredible fishing, when social media feeds were literally flooding our mobile phones with hundreds of fish pictures that your thumb swipes past quickly in disregard for the moment of which the photo might have been taken. The deeper meaning to the great catch is the experience that the fisherman had just been a part of when the picture was taken.
On Saturday May 21st a friend of mine named Jason Schall from the southern states was up to experience more of what Ontario fishing has to offer. In particular, he desired to fish on Lake Ontario with his goal to catch the final species of salmon to complete the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) prestigious award certificate called the IGFA Salmon Royal Slam. Catching a Chinook salmon would round out his list of salmon species required. At nearly 8 am, a baritone yell of excitement and victory pierced the light wind and turned our attention to our friend Karl’s Lund boat marked OKUMA, trolling past in the opposite direction. No words are required for this picture and what it says about this special moment.
The picture of the young man holding the Musky for which the Bay Street and Robinson Street corner memorial was in remembrance of Jordan Jull. He passed away on November 3, 2014 2 days after his 23rd birthday when he lost control of his motorcycle at that intersection. Why did we have to loss another young angler when we already have too few? I don’t know Jordan, but looking at him holding that musky, I feel like I know him because I knew what that moment feels like when you hold that great catch. A “Fish of a Lifetime”
Even with the rat race of our daily lives, as a fisherman I know habits like scrolling past pictures of fish in my feed is another example of missing the true meaning of that great moment in life. It really is, and should be, about the fisherman holding the fish.