I’m happy to announce I’m the latest addition to this awesome smalltown, award-winning newspaper. I will be writing and working on a part-time, freelance basis. If my name sounds a little familiar, don’t worry, you’re not seeing double. I’ve been writing to and for the paper for many years now. Just not in an “official” capacity. I’ve always loved Mille Lacs Lake and the coverage the paper gives it, and I am proud to now be a part of it. My wheelhouse in writing has always been outdoor-related and usually concerns the subject of fishing.
I’ve loved Mille Lacs since I was a little kid and my dad would come up here from the cities, always returning with a nice batch of fish. I can remember asking him as a small child, “When can I come?” And he would always reply “When you’re a little older.” Back then, he was fishing out of a 14-footer with a 9.9-horsepower motor. So it didn’t have a whole lot of room in it. When I was around eight or nine, he bought a 17-foot Thompson mahogany lapstrake boat with a 60-horsepower Johnson. It had a closed bow and even a little v-berth under the front with cushions. I thought that boat was huge.
I can remember many days out there with my dad fishing – well, sort of. My dad was fishing, and I was more concentrating on not getting seasick. But if the waves were big enough, it wouldn’t take long before I would go green. My dad would always tell me to “look at the shore.” I don’t know about you, but that never worked for me. After I would chum the fish until I had nothing more to give them, I would end up under the bow on the V-berth taking a nap. Occasionally I’d wake up and ask dad how many fish he’d caught. He’d tell me and then ask me if I wanted to go to shore, but I would always tell him, “nope, I’m OK,” and go back to sleep. We enjoyed decades of fishing on the big lake, even through the supposed “dead sea” years of the ’80s.
Fast forward 25 years, and I bought a small resort on Lake Bemidji with eight cabins, a house and a beach. It was a place I could run myself with the help of some cabin cleaners. It was perfect. Then I met my future wife Karen, and we had two children, daughter Meredith and son David. As time went by, we realized we were just too far from our families in the cities and decided to sell and move closer. Garrison was about half way, so we found a place there, thus renewing my romance with Mille Lacs. A little later we had our third child, our son, Noah, at the Brainerd hospital, and that completed our family. Now he’s 16 and our last one at Onamia High School. Time really does fly when you’re having fun.
No matter what happens with the regulations on Mille Lacs, it will never deter my love for the lake. Every time I look at it, I’m in awe just like when I was a young boy. The endless views, the giant waves and powerful ice movements are all hard to articulate with just words. You have to see it and experience it for it to really sink in. At least that’s how it works for me. And of course, you can’t beat the world class fishing. So I look forward to working for the paper, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do.
Erik Jacobson is a Messenger staff writer.