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A North Woods Fisherman

 

“Saw a lot, did a lot, fished a lot, did OK.”

~ Alfred Krejca, 2000, age 95 ~

 

Book Excerpts

 
… “I cast the Johnson Silver Minnow across the weed bed as far as I could. The old Pflueger Skilcast reel hummed and stopped as my “educated thumb” reacted to the splash over the weed bed. Handing the rod over to Dad, I kept the boat positioned and watched and waited as his arthritic hands slowly crawled the spoon back to the boat. Due to macular degeneration, he could not see when the retrieve was complete and relied on the swivel of the wire leader hitting the rod tip to indicate it was time for another cast. He handed the rod back. I cast again, he retrieved. The last day of that week’s fishing trip, we repeated this scenario for several hours in my personal, somewhat desperate, attempt to give him a better chance at catching one more of the lunker pike that for so long he had loved to catch. Unfortunately, the fishing gods in Stevens Bay, Lake of the Woods, that afternoon did not reward him with the potential bonus fish we were after. The past week spent on the water had proved difficult, but not impossible nor completely fruitless for this tough old guy.
 

“By that year, 1996, at age 91, Alfred Krejca on numerous trips, had explored, camped, and fished the Canadian side of the lake for 60 years, and had chalked up a prior 9 years of trips in the wilds of northern Minnesota. Sixty+ years earlier, just down the shore a half-hour troll away from where we now fished, he and his friend, so much younger and so lost, had motored up to the beach at the Indian reserve to ask directions. The two weeks of camping and fishing in the wilderness, the first of many in this area, had just begun. Picturesque details of all these trips continued to surface for Al, who had an amazing memory and over the years revived the sometimes humorous and always interesting stories of his north woods wilderness adventures in a very consistent manner with anyone who would listen. The lighting of a campfire during a north woods trip, in particular, would enable the start of another round of his past adventures.

 

“In backup of his stories, he had accumulated a rich kaleidoscope-like legacy of pictures, diaries, correspondence, and anything else that related to his favorite reason for living.

 

“This is the story of this humble ordinary working man who loved both nature and fishing, and who, in his words, ’Saw a lot, did a lot, fished a lot, did OK.’”

 


 

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“The following postcard ribbing his fellow workers was sent to Al’s friends at the bakery:

 

“Hello, Gang,

 

We arrived at Lake of the Woods, the weather is sure cool.  I feel sorry for you boys. Am going out to get the big ones now. Everyone’s getting a plenty.

 

Alfred Krejca”

 


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“The period from Al’s Canadian trip in 1942 until the end of WWII in 1945 was influenced by wartime travel restrictions…

 

“Al found that by riding his bicycle to work year around in summer’s heat and winter’s cold, and limiting automobile trips, he could save enough gas coupons to permit travel into northern Minnesota, if not Canada. This was another indication of the degree of his addiction to the north woods, since he had to be at work at 3:00 in the morning, and the 5 mile sojourn by bike might include rain, snow drifts, and always darkened streets.”

 


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“…I must take a moment here to explain something that was always quickly noticed by the listeners about Al’s story telling. Al had a way of telling his stories by creating classic automated effects that were almost as memorable as the story itself. Al liked to explain this story by a slow pulsating vertical hand gesture, simulating the fish slowly moving through the water, and not stopping. His later repetitive retelling of this big fish story, especially the accompanying gestures, became one of many truly classic performances and continues to this day to be lovingly retold, complete with gestures, by some of his younger fishing friends.”

 

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In-Fisherman Magazine Book Review:

 

"..captures the flavor of the years as they pass, in word and through old pictures. It's fun to read..."

 

~In-Fisherman Magazine 2009