The Young Bull and the Old Bull

Kevin sends the following from Beaver Island-

Have you ever heard the joke about the young bull and the old bull standing on a hill? If you haven’t, I can’t repeat it here. It’s not exactly family friendly. But I can tell you a story about fishing that demonstrates the little kernel of wisdom contained in that particular joke.

Bob Clouser is usually smiling. His eyebrows lift up when he speaks and his mustache and the long a’s of his Pennsylvania accent lend a down-home authority to his stories. I recently had the pleasure of spending three days guiding Bob for carp and smallmouth on Beaver Island. I had never met him before. He contacted me out of the blue and asked if I had any available dates. As luck would have it I did. A recent cancellation opened my schedule for a few days so I said come on up, I’d love to have you.

I was a little anxious about having Bob in my boat. I wasn’t anxious about my skills, I’ve been at this game long enough that I’m pretty confident in what I do. What worried me was that I might end up with three days of “the old bull” telling “the young bull” how to fish, especially if the fishing was tough. I have tremendous respect for experience, and Bob Clouser is certainly experienced, but a guide has to be in charge, and three days in a small boat can be an eternity under the wrong circumstances.

And wouldn’t you know it, the fishing was super tough all three days. But I was wrong to be anxious. Bob was great in every respect. We laughed and joked from coffee in the morning, through every cast on the water, to dinner each night. Bob’s level of skill was impressive and I was grateful to learn firsthand that one of the legends of the sport that I’ve committed so much of my life to did not inherit his praise from a lucky break- Bob has obviously earned his reputation by being an excellent fisherman.

Bob never second guessed a decision and only offered advice when it was needed and the advice he did offer was welcomed and helpful. In fact, thirty seconds of instruction helped my off-hand casting tremendously- “slow down, push the rod away from you and not toward the target.”

Bob loved Beaver Island on and off the water. He stayed at the Laurain Lodge and we ate at every place on the island that serves food. We never had a bad meal. The three days ended with promises of a return trip next year.

If you haven’t heard the joke, book a fishing trip and remind me to tell you. All my jokes are free of charge. Even the good ones.

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