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NORTH STAR

by John Jonelis

We catch 647 fish here in 4 days.  On average, that’s a pike every 2.8 minutes.  This place is wild, unspoiled, perhaps like this continent a thousand years ago and summer feels like spring.

Huge northern pike.  Gorgeous scenery.  What man can resist a fishing expedition?

I am visiting my favorite startup company—North Star Executive Outpost on Knee Lake, Manitoba.  It’s a paradise—a northern pike factory in the breathtaking Canadian wilderness.  No roads.  Accessible only by air.  Just one lodge on a 50-mile-long stretch of pure water where God and God alone stocks these hearty fish that grow to such prodigious proportions and feed so ferociously.

Six hundred forty seven fish.  Don’t believe me?  I assure you, we keep an accurate count.  Got to.  Boat bets.  Loop Lonagan and Jim Kren will skin me alive for lying about a thing like that.

On day #2, a pike manages to hit my lure before swallowing its previous meal and yes, I count two fish caught on one cast.  The bite is on!

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Shore Lunch

Every day we pause to catch a few fat walleye and then land our boats at a likely island to participate in a great Canadian custom—shore lunch.  The guide cuts wood, builds a fire, cleans, cooks, and serves the fish.  My favorite restaurant of all time.

So many wonderful ways to cook fresh fish.  Beer batter walleye, honey-garlic walleye, traditional walleye with all the trimmings.  A different dish every day, followed by desert.  If you have not yet experienced this wilderness feast, you are in for a treat!

Nothing tastes better than fresh walleye.  It’s a delicacy elsewhere in the world, but nowhere near as good as walleye up here.  These are fresh from of a cold clean body of water—live until cooked and eaten.  Up here, they grow big and thick, with luscious and flaky meat.  I have room for just one.

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Hunting Pike

We spend our days on these pristine waters in open boats, making long casts with stout rods, our heavy lures retrieved at speed.  Attacks by northern pike are sudden, savage, and frequent, with water churning at line’s end.  To our surprise, walleye also strike our lures with tenacity and vigor.

But on day #3, the air grows unusually warm for this far north, and the bite slows.  I put away my heavy tackle and slip out a fly rod.  We glide into a calm bay, looking for big ones sunning and digesting an afternoon’s feed.  We are hunting them.

My guide spots a monster pike 50 feet away and I cast a 10-inch fly at it.  It refuses my offering and paddles away ever so slowly.  “We’ll find it again!” says my companion.

And we do.  I tie on a bigger fly (it looks more like a mop), cast it past this fish, and draw it into the kill zone, then twitch it to entice the lounging lunker.  As I watch, the big fish gradually turns toward my bait and lazily moves on it.  With great care, enormous jaws close over my lure.  I set the hook hard, feel weight and life at the end of my line, and see the huge pike pull against me.  Fish on!

A shiver runs down my shoulder.  Then the big pike charges our boat and I strip line fast, spilling coils around my feet, trying to keep a load on my rod because any slack and that barbless hook can easily fall from a bony jaw.  The pike continues to charge and swims directly under the boat.  Plunging fly rod into water, I work around the bow.  The pike continues to run in the same direction, taking line at will—line that burns through my grip until it spools off the floor, pulls taught, and tugs at the drag on my primitive reel.  The reel gives me an advantage.

Powerful shakes and malicious tugs, then the pike’s 25 pounds rolls in my leader, but hook holds fast and this northern pike finally goes to bottom, still as rock.  The water is clear in this shallow bay and I see my fish and keep pressure on.

Eventually the big pike concedes, and perhaps more out of curiosity than fatigue comes to our gunnels.  My guide and I both gasp. There’s always something awesome about a thick, powerful fish measuring in the mid 40’s.

We net the pike, snap a quick photo, and the trophy goes right back in the lake to swim away and fight again. I can barely express the draining satisfaction of hunting, battling, and landing a pike this big.  Maybe I’ll catch him again next year.  Then primal shouts, a congratulatory handshake, and I relive the fight in my mind all the many miles back to our lodge.

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Revival

After a hard day fishing, this old man needs food and rest.  Management proves courteous and professional and refuses to let me suffer.  We sit around our beautiful log cabin in blissful comfort, sipping beer and telling stories with suitable embellishments while eating steak, ribs, and other satisfying fare.

Up here, summer nights don’t get entirely dark.  By eight o’clock in the afternoon, we’re playing at the pool table, shuffleboard table, and poker table.  Then we shower under deliciously hot water and sleep soundly under warm quilts, on firm and expansive beds.

On the appointed day, we board our bush plane at the lodge’s private landing strip and fly home for dinner.  If you live in Chicago, a true wilderness isn’t really that far away..

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THE PLACE:

North Star Executive Outpost

http://northstarresort.ca/

Check for a cancellation if you want to book this year.

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VERIFY MY NUMBERS:

Fish frequency calculation:

3 fishermen, 4 days on the water

less 1.5 hours/day for shore lunch

= 30 hours fishing and running around in the boat.

30 hrs / 647 fish = avg 2.8 min per fish caught

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Photography by John Jonelis

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READ “WILDERNESS”

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. Please perform your own due diligence. It’s not our fault if you lose money..Copyright © 2018 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved
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Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, Canada, Cleantech, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship and Politics, Fishing, fly fishing, Jim Kren, loop lonagan, new companies, pike fishing, Startup, startup company, vc, Venture

BEST GIFT

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by Mark T Wayne

“Whaddaya think is da best Christmas gift o’ dem all?” Loop Lonagan puts this puerile question in a peculiar verbal form he calls the American language just as Donatis Ludditis and I innocently raise a Christmas toast at that notable Chicago landmark, Ludditis Shots & Beer. The place offers several distinct advantages.  Our host never presents a bill for our proclivities and the back room houses our magazine offices.

“I got best gift! Is this!” Ludditis states his case in his Lithuanian accent, and passes fancy boxes across the table. “This one for you, Mr. Wayne. Is Christmas!”

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Ludditis’ combo glass

I tear off the bow and wrapping paper, and then study the packaging a moment. Pictured on the exterior is a shocking freak of glassware—a combination beer and shot glass.

Ludditis quivers with excitement. “See, you must only wash half so many glasses! You like? Is good?”

“No.” This curt observation issues from the foul Lonagan creature.

I stretch a leg and carefully squash his foot under cover of the round Formica table and he instantly emits a mist of good whiskey from his tightly closed lips. Never permit a boot heel to go idle when the opportunity arises. Meanwhile, I ingratiate myself with our host. “Such a fine gift, sir! I accept it with profound appreciation and gratitude! This most excellent glassware shall fill a special place in my extensive liquor cabinet!”

Ludditis gives a little bow along with a flourish of the hand.

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Chicago landmark

“But,” I continue, “I believe the man that sits betwixt us hints at something on a far grander scale. Perhaps he seeks the ultimate gift that one can receive.”

The table goes silent, so I set about to stir the creative juices.  I clear my throat. “Before any serious hypotheses are put forth, may I suggest that we set some rules for the game?”

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Donatis Ludditis

Ludditis interrupts, spreading his arms wide. “American million-dollar bill! Five feet long! Good gift!”

Lonagan is massaging his injured foot. “I s’pose da greatest gift of all—what ever’body really wants—is da eternal salvation of yer immortal soul.” He looks up from his foot with a curious and piercing gaze. “Just a handful o’ faith unwraps dat package, ‘n’ it’s fulla God’s grace ‘n’ love. Joy on earth ‘n’ heaven in da hereafter.”

“Who amongst us can buy a thing such as that?” I bark the words. And quite privately, I am shocked! Shocked, I say! I never considered the execrable Lonagan capable of formulating such a deep and sensitive notion. Since when did the man get religion? As a confirmed atheist, this sentiment makes me itch like a boy wearing coarse woolen underwear.

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Mark T Wayne

“It’s somethin’ you ain’t never gonna unnerstand, ya old crank,” he says with evident conviction. It is Lonagan’s turn to pour shots from our dusty bottle of single malt and he proceeds to do so. “Nobody buys off God. Salvation is free! But ya gotta open da gift t’ own it.”

His words raise the hackles at the back of my neck and interfere with my normally placid demeanor. “What possible value, sir, is a gift that is free for the taking by any derelict off the street?” I honestly have no idea what this lout is driving at. I know of rumors that Lonagan took a first in finance at the University of Chicago’s graduate program, but to hear his vulgar turn of phrase, his vernacular of deeze and doze, one would take the man for a complete idiot. There may be something there that explains his secret to success—maybe. I will study the matter.

“I change,” blurts Ludditis. “I agree with Loop. Forever with Creator is better than million-dollar bill. Is Christmas!”

I quickly gather myself and recognize a need to set reasonable limits if we wish to come to a practical conclusion. “Gentlemen, I will delineate the rules of the game:

  • “The gift should serve some specific utility.
  • “It must require fervid imagination, and fevered preparation
  • “A large monetary outlay must be expended—but something of a size that one of us might actually be inclined to shell out.”

I fill the combo glasses and everybody downs another shot.

Without warning, Lonagan slams a meaty fist to the table.  Then he blurts out something totally inappropriate. “We gotta do somethin’ fer Jonelis.”

One never knows what to expect from this fellow.  “I fail to follow your train of thought, sir.  Perhaps you refer to the gift of which we speak.  Certainly I can think of no individual less deserving than Jonelis, unless we care to speculate about you.”

“C’mon, use yer brain.  I’m only here ‘cause o’ him.  Same with you, Don.”  Then he squints at me.  “But I dunno where YOU come from, MISTER Mark T Wayne, with yer mass o’ bushy white hair ‘n’ yer musty old white flannel suit dat never gets smudged. Ya crummy hack writer!  Whadidya do? Fall outa da 19th Century by accident er somethin’?”

I square my shoulders and look down my nose at the man. “I do not hail from your gutter, sirrah. Through my literary efforts, I enjoy the pleasure of knowing both King Arthur and Tom Sawyer, but never have I come across the likes of you.  Should you care to indulge further in personal invective, I may be excused for requesting satisfaction.  Pistols at dawn is the usual procedure.”

Ludditis cracks a walnut in his naked hand and then scatters the pieces on the table. “You want fight—go out in street! Not in my place! Is Christmas!”

Ludditis is an amazing fellow. Not only is he a powerful and possibly a dangerous Lugan, but the man is also pushing one hundred years of age.  He refills the diminutive end of our glasses with the skill of an accomplished bartender and we all consume our shots of single malt.  “I vote Mr. Yonelis.” Ludditis always pronounces it that way. “That make majority. What we give him, huh?

Lonagan runs a finger around the larger rim of his combo glass until it raises a faint musical pitch. “A monetary gift, eh? Well I ain’t givin’ da guy no Lexus with some sappy red bow on top. That ain’t worth nothin’ t’ him.”

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Lexus sales event

Ludditis: “Maybe we get for him hair transplant. That cost lots and lots of money. I think he look good with hair.”

Lonagan: “Naw, he likes his shiny dome. Brags he don’t even comb it. What Jonelis wants is t’ enjoy God’s creation.”

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God’s creation

Again Lonagan’s spiritual reference grates at my nerves, but his genius amazes me. I must seize his notion, build upon it, and bring this conversation back to the physical realm. I make another pronouncement: “Gentlemen, I have a satisfactory answer.”

They both turn to me like schoolboys.

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Jonelis

“I believe I understand the man’s deepest cravings.  He yearns to experience the wilderness, but not its inconvenience.  In this age, such a thing can be done!

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Wild nature

“I know a place where a man can immerse himself in wild nature—where no roads exist for hundreds of miles—a place dotted with thousands of pristine lakes rimmed with Jack Pine and Aspen forests. Populating the woods are bear, moose, deer, and untold numbers of avian species.

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Ecotourism

“The waters are teaming with an entirely natural and burgeoning population of gigantic Northern Pike, which by afternoon, lounge so thick in the bays that a man can walk across the water on their backs! Shall I continue?”

They both nod with eager and toothy grins.

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Island sactuaries

“In this place, a man indulges in the savagery of nature. Living off the land. Yes sir! Exercising one’s right as an animal at the top of the food chain—except, of course, for the great bear.

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Wildlife

“Such an excursion exerts a powerful pull on one’s primal urges and instincts, which lie hidden beneath that rumpled business suit. A brief experience of such raw pleasure will leave an indelible mark of satisfaction on a man—a feeling akin to bliss, followed by an insatiable longing to return to this wild paradise forthwith and forever. I believe the term ECOTOURISM is currently in vogue.”

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Shore lunch

Lonagan’s chin is cupped in both hands and he’s grinning. Then he breaks from his dream and inspects me with one eye. “Ecotourism—ain’t dat fer tree huggers?”

Ludditis returns from a quick trip to the bar with a fresh bottle. “Why you think this idea work so good?  John no hug tree—what he do?”

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Log cabin

“He lives in a log cabin heated by a wood fire! He drinks water straight from a virgin lake! He battles monster fish with hook and line. He wolfs down fresh meat for sustenance. That is what he does, sir!

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Heavy tackle

“I know a place almost inaccessible to most and untouched by human hands—unchanged since the last ice age. The largest unspoiled land mass in the world—almost entirely devoid of human habitation! A trackless wilderness of immense beauty and majesty!

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Trusty boat

“I speak to you of the Canadian Shield—a landscape of exposed bedrock, created by severe glaciation during the ice age. This is the ancient geological core of the North American continent—a place more than four billion years old!”

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Canadian Shield (in red)

The sharp intake of breath, the squeak of a chair, then silence. I continue:

“This planet’s Boreal Forest, rings the Northern Hemisphere, and a good third of it lies on the Canadian Shield! Yes sir! Canada’s Boreal landscape contains more lakes and rivers than any landmass in the world! It is estimated that the region contains over two million watersheds—the largest intact forest on earth, with millions of square miles still undisturbed by roads, cities or industrial development! Picture that, gentlemen!”

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Boreal forest

From their glazed expressions, I can only assume they picture it in their minds eye.

“In the northern reaches of Manitoba—at the 55th parallel—we find the perfection of conifer and aspen forests and an uncountable quantity of ancient lakes, some over fifty miles long, each with hundreds of rocky islands. That sir, is the northern fringe of the forest. North of that lies tundra!

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Boreal forest – Manitoba

“And fish, gentlemen—fish in untold abundance! I know a place where one can set out in a rude boat and catch a hundred fighting Northern Pike in a day by hook and line using spoons and streamers—some fashioned by one’s own hands!

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Trophy pike

“And this, gentlemen, is Jonelis’ favorite lake in all the world. Given a choice, he would live here.”

Lonagan rouses himself. “Hey, I love dat place too. Ever’body dats been there does.”

“Certainly, certainly. Not even a churlish cad could fail to express such a sentiment.”

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Trophy pike

“But it’s 50 below up dare now. Farenheit!”

Is the man deliberately obtuse? Any fool knows one must travel those parts during the proper season.

Ludditis appears greatly agitated. “I lose track. You put old man out in cold? Is Christmas!”

“Certainly not at Christmas!  No sir!  At this time of year, a man makes his plans and rushes to secure a booking, hoping one is still available.

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Another trophy pike

“No, I do not intend to be rude, Mr Ludditis. I speak of North Star Outpost on KNEE LAKE, Manitoba.  A luxurious wilderness haven, available during THIS lifetime.  A place where awe and wonder forever change you.  It lies due north of where we now sit—modern transportation whisks you away to this paradise in the space of a few hours.  There are no roads.  Airplane is the only practical access, and it can be reached, at most, three months of the year. 

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Accessible only by air

“What do you say, gentlemen? Shall we provide the means for our mentor, our friend, to taste and enjoy the delights of this earthly paradise?”

Lonagan lets out a deep sigh. “I wonder if he’s gonna ask us to go with.”

“Perhaps. Consider that if one wishes to wager at poker, it is necessary to bring companions.

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Nightly poker

“The same need serves us well if he longs for a competitive round of pool in the evening after a refreshing hot shower.

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Game room

“Gentlemen, I propose a toast!” Ludditis and I clash our combo glasses in a hearty cheer. “To the greatest Christmas gift!”

And Lonagan joins our toast.  “Dat money can buy!”

 

Read: WILDERNESS

Go to: HOW TO TREAT THE OLD MAN

 

Contact information:

North Star Executive Outpost

Knee Lake, Manitoba

Call Hope Levenhagen 1-800-563-7151 hopelevenhagen@northhavenresort.ca

General email info@northstarresort.ca

Address N28W23000 Roundy Drive, Suite 102

Pewaukee, Wisconsin 53072

 

Sources

Charts and Maps—The Manitoba Museum. Wikipedia. MS Office.

Photography by John Jonelis.

Glassware distributed by Samsonico USA

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2016 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Chicago Ventures

HOW TO TREAT THE OLD MAN

20150624-_JAJ0962by John Jonelis

Here’s the right way to treat your old man:  For Father’s Day, take him where you’ll boat 402 hard-fighting northern pike, the trophy of a lifetime, and as many fat walleye as you want—all in four days.  That’s 4 minutes per fish—not counting walleye!  Maybe the Old Man’s memory isn’t showing signs of improvement lately, but he’ll remember this trip the rest of his days.  It’s a glimpse of paradise.

He knows this lake and longs to go back.  With the right encouragement, there’s no way he can turn down your invitation.  But what if he can’t bust free?  Let’s say he gives the usual objection that he’s too busy.  Here’s what you do:

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Justification

Figure out what’s got him tied down.  In this case it’s Chicago startups.  So you point out this is one of Chicago’s hottest startups and qualifies as a business trip.

Sure, it’s way north of the North Side.  It’s north of the 55th parallel.  That puts it at the northern fringe of the Boreal forest.  North of that lies tundra.  Last year the ice still measured four feet in early June.  But according to Mark T. Wayne, it qualifies as a Chicago Startup for two good reasons:

  • Most all the patrons either hail from Chicago, once enjoyed that honor, or pass through O’Hare Field on their way.
  • This is only their second season of operation.

They don’t even stock the waters.  You cast barbless hooks and release every fish unharmed—except, of course, the big fat walleye you eat for shore lunch.  Ever experience waters as virgin as that?  Wanna go?  I guarantee he’ll say yes.

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Fresh Walleye for Shore Lunch

Solitude

A huge part of the value of this excursion is the solitude of the north woods.  Solitude has no price tag, so shoot the works!   Surprise the old man!  RENT THE WHOLE LODGE!  Sure, the facility holds 25 guests.  So what?  It’s only money!

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Think of it—just the two of you.  The only habitation on the lake.  No civilization for hundreds of miles!  No roads.  No phones.  Nothing but a 45-mile-long stretch of ice-cold drinking water.  150 islands.  More shoreline than Lake Michigan.  Fir and aspen trees as far as you can see.  Beaver, deer, and bear.  The bald eagle.  The blue heron.  The loon.  Loads of pike and walleye.  A comfortable boat and the best fishing guide in Canada.  A top-pro staff that caters to the old fart’s every whim.

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Did I remind you to get a big plane?  There’ll be 40 empty seats on that turboprop when it whisks the two of you from DuPage Airport to this wilderness paradise.

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That empty plane gives a good, strong first impression.  Don’t underestimate the value of a first impression.  And the stewardess has little to do but serve drink after drink to the old goat!  Congratulations on beating the O’Hare rat race!

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Your destination is a 4,000 ft. landing strip carved out of the forest and paved with gravel quarried on site.  The harvested trees make up the raw material for building such a facility.

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Comfort

You pick this particular outpost because it boasts all the amenities and you know the Old Relic loves the lake with a passion.

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Suppertime, he sits quietly on the deck, gazing at the magnificent view as if in a trance. You grill up a thick steaks and he tucks his away with obvious relish, then pats his profound middle and pronounces himself satisfied.

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Remember how old he really is.  Fishing from a plush swivel seat will wear him out, even after that nap at shore lunch. No, he doesn’t have any energy left in him tonight—not even enough for a quiet game of chess.  But don’t let that trouble you.  At that latitude and time of year, the day peaks at 17 hours and 22 minutes of sunshine.  Neither of you will see the dark of night and you’ve got the place to yourselves.  So just tell him stories till he happily nods off.  Then slip over to the lodge to sharpen your skills at the pool table.

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Don’t Laugh

Show the old codger some respect.  He doesn’t deserve it and sure doesn’t get any at the office.  It will take him off guard and make him happy.

  • Don’t laugh when he dresses in camo from head to foot so the fish don’t see him. He really believes it helps.

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  • Don’t chuckle when he flails away with his fly rod while you’re fishing spoons with a fast reel. Sure you cast twice as far as he can.  Sure, you boat a pike before he completes his first cast. Sure, you boat another before he strips in six feet of line.

He finally hooks a five-pound hammer handle.

Naturally you put away your rod as soon as he hooks that little fish.  You stand mum as he plays it for a ridiculously long time.  You don’t even snicker when he mentions his light tippet. Sure, you could’ve boated five more lunkers in that time span and you’re itching to get back in the game.

You refrain from casting your lure. You praise him effusively. You give him a sense of victory and you’re patient. That pike he just caught has rows of sharp teeth that will destroy his hand-made creation. Eventually he must run out of flies and start fishing your way.

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  • Don’t gloat when the Old Fogey finally switches to conventional tackle. “After all,” he says, “the fish are so aggressive, it’s inefficient to fish a slow retrieve.” But he insists on using a fancy and expensive bait casting setup rather than simple spinning gear. Naturally, he experiences the usual backlash incidents and you boat more pike every time he digs a mess of line out of his reel. At such times you avoid snide remarks that others will thoughtlessly make, such as, “I’ve yet to catch a fish while my lure is in the boat.”

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  • You intend to use just one lure the entire trip. Your tackle box merely carries spares of the same design. His carries every pattern known to man. Don’t criticize him for constantly switching baits. He acquired this habit over decades of fishing unproductive waters close to home and he’s trying to match the hatch. Avoid such comments as, “Fish are not impressed with the time you spend fiddling with your tackle box.” No, let him stalk his prey slowly, in his own way as appropriate to his age.

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  • Show an extra measure of kindness. Give him the boat’s casting deck for the whole trip. He’ll appreciate that. Don’t make derisive comments when he asks the guide to mount the swivel seat up front. Remember, his feet are as old as he is.

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  • Don’t laugh when his expensive 16-inch-long stainless steel needle nosed pliers goes over the side. That can happen to anybody.

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  • Hold your tongue when the Old Geezer methodically de-barbs the hooks on that snazzy new lure, using a special and expensive tool. He then plops the bait into the lake, forgetting to attach the line. It sinks to the bottom before the guide can reach for the net. You’ll be glad you remained silent when he gives you a wan smile and says, “I forgot to remember.”

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  • There are plenty of legitimate ways to lose lures.  Like that monster pike that strikes right at the boat, just as the Old Fossil lifts his lure from the water.  As you and the guide watch, it shakes its awesome head once, twice, three times, straightens out a new and expensive 50 lb. titanium leader, and then makes wake as it swims away with a precious hand-painted spoon.  Naturally you’re thinking, “I hope that thing tastes good,” and “I wonder if that paint job will give the fish indigestion.”   But of course, you keep those comments to yourself.  Losing a fish that big hurts real bad and you want to treat the Old Man real good.

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  • Don’t scoff when he wonders where on the lake you are at any given time. Admit it. You don’t know either.

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  • Above all, hide your smirk when, every day, you outfish him almost 2 to 1. He’ll face the numbers when he pays off the bets. He’s not so competitive these days and after such terrific quantities of fish, he really won’t care if you get more than he does.  He may even prefer it, and where does that leave you if you crack wise?

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I Got the Whole World

You and the guide untangle a small Pike from the net.  Eventually, you look up to see the Old Man’s line snagged on another rock.  As usual, he keeps his rod bent in an exaggerated manner and his line taught way too long —  just to make sure.  There’s no movement whatsoever.  He’s telling you it’s a big one, but even the guide doesn’t buy it. “You’re towing the boat,” he says softly.  Yeah, the Old Reprobate’s got bottom.  But you humor him and in a couple minutes you’re glad you did because his reel slowly goes click, click, click.  That’s life at the end of the line!  Something with a lot of weight!

When the fish decides to swim, it peels off line fast and at will, making the reel sing.  That happens again and again — every time the Old Man works it close.  You get several good looks and cry out in awe like any faithful son.

Finally, the monster tires and doesn’t shy from the boat.

Now it’s safe in the enormous net.

The Old Man hoists it and you snap a photo.

Have you ever seen a pike so healthy?   That fish measures 43 in. and weighs maybe 30 lb.  He caught it on a homemade lure and it puts him in the record books a fourth time.

And it’s Father’s Day!

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Now you note fresh tooth marks across that lunker’s midriff.  That also happened last year when he brought the magazine staff up here.   The guide will bring you back to this spot to cast for that bigger one nobody saw—an opportunity of a lifetime!

The Old Man is bending over the side of the boat, gently reviving the fish.  Pike are sprinters, not marathon runners, and after the long fight, it’s exhausted.  He slowly moves it back and forth, forcing water through the gills.  Artificial respiration.  It finally requires a rap to the head to wake it from its stupor and the trophy pike slowly, slowly disappears deep into the cold clear lake.

And that’s how to treat the Old Man.

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The Numbers

(Because of standard boat bets, you keep an accurate tally of northern pike.  All fish are caught on barbless hooks and released unharmed. 4 days on the water, less shore lunch = 27 hours in the boat.)

27 hrs / 402 northern pike = 4 min. per pike by actual count.  You don’t count walleye because they’re too easy to catch and this is a protected northern pike habitat.

62% by Son, 38% by Old Man.  Naturally you refrain from gloating and you don’t even consider saying, “If you stopped fooling around, we’d catch more fish.”

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How do they get a big ornate pool table and all that other stuff to such a remote place?  Check out the episode of Ice Road Truckers that involves a winter convoy to this lake over the frozen river system leading to Hudson Bay.

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The Hot New Startup

This is North Star Executive Outpost on Knee Lake, Manitoba, a protected pike sanctuary.

northstarresort.ca

Talk to Hope Levenhagen at 800-563-7151

hopelevenhagen@northhavenresort.ca

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Personal Notes

This advice is for others, because you, my son, adroitly accomplished it.

Heartfelt thanks to Curry Fequet, Doug Woodland, Lynn Peters, Hope Levenhagan, and the entire North Star crew for giving the Old Man a slice of heaven on earth.

Read BEST GIFT

Read ROUGHING IT

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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press.

www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com

Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

All photos by the author.

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2 Comments

Filed under angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, Canada, Chicago Ventures, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Mark T Wayne, vc, venture capital

CLOSER TO HEAVEN

Canada 2014-8843ATas told by Mark T Wayne

Danger and deprivation make up the joys of any wilderness expedition. Have you ever heard an adventurer speak of anything else? I have not, sir! Our bold band is bound for a rare excursion! Today, we hope to try our mettle against the Canadian Wild!

I wake early in a Winnipeg hotel eagerly anticipating the last leg of the trip to our remote outpost. To my disgust, this day again serves up low clouds, fog, and thunderclappers chasing in from the northwest. Time is running thin. If we cannot reach our destination today, we must return home, tails between our legs, helpless victims to the evil of modern air transport. So far, our party has lost two souls and a full day of fishing! We will not tolerate any more delays!

Bad news! Winnipeg International Airport is closed due to the perils of nature! I expect we will remain in this teaming metropolis until the weather lifts and we return to Chicago, discouraged, demoralized, and none the wiser.

Jonelis gets on the horn. I hear the name Loren Bukkett uttered and then John cuts the connection and announces he has arranged a flight! My esteem for the man moves up an inch—a mistake as events will reveal.

Mark T Wayne

A shiny new van arrives to haul eight hearty survivors to our bush plane. Bill Blair immediately crawls to the roof of the vehicle—a surface large enough to accommodate his enormous torso—and lies down for an opportune nap. We run a couple straps across his midsection, just as a precaution and the rain holds off, allowing Blaire a peaceful sleep all the way to the floatplane. His rhythmic rumble elicits rude hilarity from one-and-all. To appreciate the fidelity of his snore, one must grasp the scale of the man. Call him the Paul Bunyan of Chicago.

One wonders how a pontoon plane will break water with such a giant aboard.

That question becomes a matter of serious financial speculation among our rowdy crew. But Jonelis smiles knowingly and refuses to indulge in the wager. I admire integrity in an expedition leader. A gentleman never bets on a sure thing. And his refusal portends foreknowledge! Vision! On the other hand, he booked this trip and actually may know precisely what to expect.

I will outline the plan as I understand it: A bush plane will insert us deep in the Canadian Wilds. Our destination is 500 miles north of Winnipeg—far north of Musky habitat—a land where the ferocious Northern Pike gets its name and grows to prodigious proportions. No towns. No roads. Nothing but Jack Pine, Birch and Big Lakes for hundreds of miles! That is right sir! Our magazine staff is headed for a fishing excursion in the lake country of Northern Manitoba and maybe—just maybe we will survive the journey.

Pontoon Plane - Flintaero

 

Friends experienced in this sort of travel give me to know that it will require as many as three Cessna floatplanes and two fuel stops to haul the lot of us to such a remote locale. We will slowly wallow through the sky, each plane well over legal weight with barrels reeking of gasoline and cases of beer serving as passenger seats. Such a trip requires the entire day. We arrive near dark, our guts puked out, refusing food and barely able to walk.

I ruminate on the veracity of this horror story and whether our plane will make three trips, when our van abruptly stops at a private strip beside a neat King Air—the most lavish of executive turboprops—tricked out in soft leather seats. When Jonelis borrows an airplane, he does the job right!

This is his friend’s craft, but John betrays that it is essentially identical to one the lodge charters. Apparently, such luxurious transportation is the norm at outposts so far north.

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Someone forgot to fit this plane with pontoons. After we untie Blaire from the roof of the van and jar him awake, I inquire.

Turns out, the typical floatplane route is impractical for such vast distances. Our outpost actually carved out a landing strip in the rugged forest, quarried their own gravel, and used the trees to build cabins. That is raw determination, sir! Perhaps in the lower States we have forgotten but the frontier spirit still lives in the North Woods!

This plane comfortably accommodates all eight of us—and by removing two seats, even Bill Blaire settles in without difficulty. He uses a convenient luggage tie-down in lieu of a seatbelt. This is real flying as originally intended. SPEED—wonderful SPEED is the order of the day, just as it was in the glory days of aviation. No execrable lines. No officious and probing security! No ground delay or gnashing of teeth! This ain’t Chicago, Mr. Mayor!

Rather than a full day, this trip will take under an hour and a half! We will be on the water and fishing by 10:00 this very morning! We are getting closer to heaven!

Bush Pilot

I have been told that I will meet a crazed bush pilot—one such as Brian Dennehy—Rosie from the motion picture NEVER CRY WOLF.

A Bush pilot’s job may seem dangerous to American sensibilities, but flight in the wilderness requires a combination of skill, intrepid resourcefulness, and dauntless courage lacking in our unionized flight crews and their innumerable regulations.

No pilot appears.

Jonelis hands a magnum of Grant’s whiskey to the vile Loop Lonagan, and while our group passes the bottle and indulges in coarse jokes and raucous laughter, my suspicions start acting up: How is it that our plane will depart when those at a major international airport do not?

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Once Jonelis sees us securely strapped in our seats, he personally slips into the cockpit and dons a set of headphones. I take that to mean only one thing!

No bush pilot is crazy enough to make the journey in this weather!

My instinct for survival goes into full panic mode. With wisdom born of a long life, I fumble with my seatbelt. I wish to disembark this flying coffin—IMMEDIATELY!

My hands shake and over my loud objections—before I can set myself free—the props are spinning!

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With no other airplane in sight, we immediately take off into the gloom!

I am now closer to Paradise than my original intention! Reversed is my strong aversion to all those meticulous safety procedures at O’Hare Field! I now favor the other side of the argument!

Dark cloud cover swallows us. Violent turbulence throws me about in the seat and I tighten my belt so as not to violently strike my head on the roof of the cabin.

Jonelis’ mad voice oozes from overhead speakers as if this were any other day. He speaks in that slow confident drawl common to all pilots. “This is your captain speaking. Due to favorable tailwinds, we will reach our destination at zero nine hundred. Please keep your seatbelts fastened in case of turbulence. In the event of a low ceiling at or destination, we will divert to Thompson.”

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Presently we dive then level off. Then without warning, we break free of the clouds. Our “pilot” has discovered smoother air, and indeed, the rugged ride abates—somewhat. I glimpse views of wilderness scenery.

Then that insanely calm voice again: “You may move about the cabin. Refreshments are located in the box at seat 2B. Please keep your belts fastened while seated.”

I crouch low and squeeze down the aisle to the front, where I help myself to delightfully hot coffee, a pleasant breakfast of Egg McMuffins, and five tiny bottles of Jack Daniels Sour Mash. I squirrel these treasures in my pockets and hold the rest tight to my chest as I return crabwise to my seat.

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While the rest of the passengers continue their wild celebration, oblivious to the danger, I speculate on the lunatic at the controls. Does he know how to land this thing?

In the space of an agonizing hour, Jonelis is circling.

Outside the little window, I spot an airstrip. Is it the right one?

As the madman shoots the approach, the aircraft again bucks and yaws like a bull at a rodeo and I spill sour mash across my fine white suit. A roaring wells up in my ears, and my head aches.

I utter my final prayers.

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Go to next installment – FISH STORY

Back to beginning – ROUGHING IT

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Photography by John Jonelis. except for Mark T Wayne, Patrick Dennehy from Tail Slate, and Pontoon Plane from FlintAero
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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2014 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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2 Comments

Filed under alcholics, big money, Bill Blaire., Canada, Characters, chicago, city, Innovation, Innovation and Culture, Invention, investor, loop lonagan, Mark T Wayne, new companies, The City