Me and Mary

My daughter Mary and I spent the Fourth of July week at Vermilion Bay Lodge.  It was the first time we had spent an overnight trip alone together and making that trip to VBL certainly seemed appropriate.  After arriving Saturday evening and settling into cabin 3 we awoke in the morning to the familar sound of the gulls on Gull Rock and a beautiful sunrise.  I never tire of these sights and sounds, my fondness for them only grows with each trip to camp.

Sunrise as seen from the porch of cabin 3.
Sunrise as seen from cabin 3.

Mary requested pancakes with fresh fruit and I was happy to oblige.  Preparing breakfast at camp is a far more enjoyable experience than the same when done at home.

Mary looking good in her Sunday church dress.
Mary looking good in her Sunday church dress.

After returning from Mass in Dryden on Sunday morning it was time to hit the water.  I asked Mary what she wanted to fish for, “muskie, I want to catch a 50 incher”.  That’s my girl.  We headed out and started fishing at one of my favorite spots.  It wasn’t long before Mary had hooked a decent fish.  She fought it close to the boat but that muskie wasn’t in the mood for having its picture taken and promptly said goodbye with a swish of its tail.  Disappointment for sure as she wanted to post her catch on Focus Fishing, but excitement that we had hooked a good fish.  Anticipation for a good afternoon was running high.  We moved to our next spot and Mary once again hooked a nice fish within 15 minutes of casting.  This one was more accommodating and seemed honored to have its picture taken with such an excited, young angler.

A very happy muskie girl with a heavy fish.  "Dad, I'm shaking!"
A very happy muskie girl with a heavy fish. “Dad, I’m shaking!”

After catching a few small northern we motored to our next spot, a weed flat between several islands that dropped sharply into deep water.  After quietly working our lures for a while Mary shouts “It’s a northern!”.  I look over the side of the boat and see a big fish with Mary’s bucktail in its mouth.  “Mary, that’s a BIG northern!”  Soon she is posing with her second big fish of the afternoon.

Mary grinning ear to ear with the a nice northern she saw eat her bait.  "It was so cool!"
Mary all smiles with the nice northern she saw eat her bait. “It was so cool!”

That evening at the camp fish fry Gord recognized Mary for her angling accomplishments that day, generating a hearty round of applause from the rest of the guests in camp that week  These are the VBL moments that create lifetime memories for a young lady (and her dad).  We ended the day with a few more hours of muskie fishing, not catching any more fish but having a wonderful time enjoying the lake.

A dedicated angler finishing her day on the water with a gorgeous sunset.
A dedicated angler finishing her day on the water with a gorgeous sunset.

A trip to Vermilion Bay Lodge is so much more than the fishing alone, as great as that is.  The wildlife, the sound of the train as you fall asleep in your cabin, sipping a beer on the barbecue deck while grilling diner and looking over the lake, listening to the wisdom of Gord while sitting in the screen porch, playing the walleye fishing board game, visiting with Susanne by the fireplace, it’s all what makes coming to VBL a “VBL experience” not just a trip to Eagle Lake.

Looking over Vermilion Bay while grilling and chilling.
Looking over Vermilion Bay while grilling and chilling.
The pelicans were conspicuous this year, even hanging out a Gull Rock.
The pelicans were conspicuous this year, even hanging out at Gull Rock.
Mary (and I) love the damsel and dragon flies.
Mary (and I) love the damsel and dragon flies.
Gord, he'll talk your ears off if you let him.
Gord, he’ll talk your ears off if you let him.

Before we ended our week Mary wanted me to teach her to fillet a walleye.  Of course, this meant we actually had to catch some walleye.  Fortunately, on Eagle Lake this is usually not too difficult, even for muskie fishermen who refuse to use live bait.  With a little coaching from me and under the watchful eye of the master, Gord, Mary did a very commendable job on her first try (Gord’s dull fillet knife notwithstanding).  Not a bone was found and doesn’t your first fillet taste a little better than the rest?

The fruit of Mary's labor. Yum!
The fruit of Mary’s labor. Yum!

My family and I have visited Vermilion Bay Lodge many times.  You might say my daughters have grown up there.  They learned to catch and release fish on their own and now, as a young woman, Mary has become an accomplished angler in her own right.

Mary proudly showing off the first northern she caught and released on her own.
Mary proudly showing off the first northern she caught and released on her own.

With each year my anticipation for and appreciation of our trips to the lodge grows.  Good times, excellent fishing, family bonding, this is what memories are made of…priceless memories.  Make time to fish, time for Vermilion Bay Lodge.  You never know what the future will bring.

A happy and thankful dad with his daughter.
A happy and thankful dad with his daughter.

12 thoughts on “Me and Mary

  1. I can’t tell you how great it is to see your post on fishing with your daughter. For many years now, I have been taking my daughter to Canada fishing and this year I will bring her to VBL for the first time. Most guys only think of fishing with their buddies, but fishing with your daughter is a step above!

  2. Please all let’s keep Vermillion Bay Lodge on the down low. We know it’s one of the most perfect places on earth with the best quality people you could ever meet but if you guys keep ranting and raving we won’t have a place to stay there anymore. Thanks Gord and Suzanne for all the wonderful times at fishing camp. I have never met such wonderful people as the two of you are. Sorry about the down low part but I want to be able to visit and fish for years to come. Hope all is well!

    1. Charles, there are many. Mary caught the fish she is pictured with on a standard bucktail. My personal favorite is a Suick Thriller, both the original and the weighted models.

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Testimonials

On behalf of the Boyes Group, I would like to pass on our sincere thanks for hosting the Muskie Madness Week and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at VBL and had a great time!! This was our 7th year on Eagle Lake and we have stayed at a few other lodges but VBL takes the cake hands down! You can definitely count us in for next year. I’m happy to see you post some of my pics, they turned out well. Thanks again Gord for a wonderful week of fishing and your stellar hospitality, you run a first class operation, we look forward to seeing you next year!

Trevor Benner

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