Al Nohner of Bemidji shared this tale of lost fishing gear after reading Brad Dokken’s column about lost fishing gear :

BEMIDJI – I read with interest your latest article on lost gear. (“Most anglers know the pain of losing item of fishing gear,” Page B6, Feb. 13.) That, plus an international overboard incident, happened to a friend on a fishing trip years ago in Canada.

Gary Vanselow had a handmade fishing rod, a gift from his family complete with his own name and a guarantee for replacement if anything ever happened to it.


WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

We were fishing in Canada in an 18-foot Lund boat with an open deck for three pedestal seats. As is common in these boats, the interior edges of the boat had elevated storage containers on both sides that ran from the front platform to the stern. I was in the front seat, with Gary in the middle. We were trolling for walleye on Lac Seul in Ontario. Thankfully, everyone wore a lifejacket, a required attire in any boat when fishing big or small water.

I was angling on the starboard and Gary on the port side of the boat. You can imagine my surprise to look up and see Gary walking at a brisk pace, bent at the waist, on the top of the port storage container until he disappeared by stepping off the end of the boat. After we retrieved a soaked and cold fisherman from the water, he explained what happened.

He had put his prized rod on the storage container to retrieve something from his tackle box. Suddenly, the rod started moving toward the stern. He chased it right into the water but failed in his attempt to save his gear. Obviously, a very large (we assumed, to make him feel better) northern or walleye hit his jig and claimed his rod. After returning to camp, drying out and warming up, he took a rather common rod/reel combo and wounded pride back on the water.

Months later, to everyone's surprise, the rod maker replaced the rod Gary had lost at no charge..

Gary was a favorite fishing partner of mine, and he made many trips from his home in Rochester, Minn., to Bemidji to try our luck at walleye, northern and bass. Sadly, Gary died in 2005 at the age of 53. I miss him dearly. But fortunately, the Lac Seul fishing trip is one of the “keeper” memories of our good times on many lakes that preserves his spirit in my mind and heart.

Sign up for the Northland Outdoors newseletter

Do you have a fishing story you’d like to share with Herald readers? Please send, along with jpeg photos (if available), to Brad Dokken at