By PATRICK SLACK
The fifth annual “Fishing with the Pros” fundraiser brought 21 professionals to the Minnesota Fishing Museum and Falls Ballroom to share stories, tips and even a few secrets, April 13.
But most importantly, the group wanted to enjoy the sport’s past while getting more people involved in its future.
“It’s really important to preserve history and to promote fishing,” said Ray Gildow, author of “Legends and Legacies: A History of the Nisswa Guides’ League.”
“The people here have made this thing hum,” he said. “They’ve just done a fabulous job, not only collecting and preserving history, but presenting it in a way that’s easy to understand.”
One of the things that keeps children away from the sport is if their parents don’t fish or they don’t have access to fishing, Gildow said.
That’s where professionals and guides can step in and volunteer.
Getting children hooked early is key because, “Once a fisherman, always a fisherman,” said Steve Pennaz, former executive director of the North American Fishing Club and current host of the television show “North American Fisherman.”
Events like these help do that by showcasing the enjoyment the sport can bring, he said.
“It’s fun to celebrate the legends of our sport,” Pennaz said. “When you have such a gorgeous museum, it’s hard not to visit.”
“It’s one of those places you can spend hours at and close yourself in memories, come back, and do it all over again,” he said. “It’s just a spectacular place.”
One of the leaders in sonar technology, Bruce “Doc” Samson, said that local residents can find some of the best fishing in the country wherever they turn.
“All Minnesota fishing is good fishing,” he said.