Fishing is only one aspect of annual guys-only camping trip


It’s guys only this week, an annual, time-honored opportunity to be free of time restraints, job demands and other every-day responsibilities. A time to wear the same comfortable clothes all week, eat junk until it comes out both ears, and commit other less mentionable bad habits.

The rules are simple and unbreakable. No hats at the table, help do dishes, perform a daily chore such as sweeping or tending the worms, restock the firewood box, and burn enough marshmallows for everyone around the fire. We also require that boys must be five years old before they are included and that they, regardless of age, keep what happens in camp, in camp.

Our meals, planned for weeks prior, are special times when we gather around an antique table, elbow to elbow, caps off, and eager to engage the offering. It seems our trip always surrounds Father’s Day, and that means an above-average meal.

On the menu

This year it’s ham and all the right things, including cake. Other years it’s turkey and fixings. Our conversation centers on our fathers and each story brings even more good thoughts to the table.

It also a day for digging in one’s duffle to discover a hidden greeting card or Father’s Day wishes in one form or another. Card games are standard late-night entertainment as are roaring fires, flaming tales and more unhealthy snacks. Fortunately the cabin has a fairly well-appointed kitchen that features a propane range and refrigerator.

The facilities?

And yes, we also have an indoor bathroom. I guess we are getting soft but we have yet to concede to electricity, phone and all the other conveniences that could ruin a trip like this.

And yes, we gamble. Well not quite. This year’s big money involved handmade lures and the investment of a dollar bill. At that same vintage table, each angler built a spinner by threading colorful beads and shiny spinner blades onto a bit of fishing line.

Some creations were comical, others actually looked pretty good. The pot was to be won to the catcher of the longest walleye, caught on his hand-crafted lure.

One thing we never bet on is what kind of time we’ll have on the trip. We don’t bet because know it’s a winner every time and during the long 600-mile trip home we begin planning next summer’s trip.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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