The ageless pursuit of fishing: Views from both ends of the age spectrum

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The Indoor Fishing Flea Market drews all ages, youngsters to seniors, to Rolling Meadows High School.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

Two dads I spoke with Friday had pulled their sons from school to fish opening day at Braidwood Lake.

The next day, I met Marilynn Tonn working a table for a seniors fishing club during the Indoor Fishing Flea Market at Rolling Meadows High School.

Both made my day.

A mom who called her son in sick so he could fish with his dad Friday emailed: ‘‘My son is a freshman on the bass-fishing team at his high school. And fishing is their life. . . . Hunting also.’’

I’m glad there are parents who know real life is more important than the rote of school. My dad pulled me from school for the opening of deer hunting from seventh grade on. I doubt I would do what I do now if he hadn’t taught me by that example to focus on the important things in life.

My dad, who turns 91 this year, was fishing until recently. We’ll see about this year.

Life is meant to be lived.

Marilynn Tonn dishing truth and real life at the Indoor Fishing Flea Market Saturday at Rolling Meadows High School.<br>Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

Marilynn Tonn dishing truth and real life at the Indoor Fishing Flea Market Saturday at Rolling Meadows High School.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

That brings me to stopping by the table for the GYC Fishing Club — ‘‘Friendly Seniors Who Enjoy Fishing’’ — and being enchanted by Tonn. She came to fishing late. Early on, she stayed in while her husband fished on trips north.

‘‘Then I went through menopause and lost my estrogen and increased my testosterone,’’ she explained. ‘‘My poor husband never knew what hit him. I would have him out fishing until 11 at night.’’

Almost every fishing club or business runs events for kids. There are almost zero for seniors. But from what I decipher from actuarial tables, U.S. men live more than 20 years past retirement age and U.S. women more like 25. That’s longer than the 18 it takes to raise a kid to something resembling adulthood.

GYC dues are $5 annually. Outings are all over: barge fishing on the Mississippi River, charters on Lake Michigan, largemouth bass on Newton Lake and local outings. The club meets at 10 a.m. the second Monday of every month in the conference room of the Rolling Meadows Senior Center. Call (224) 558-6428.

The outdoors should be enjoyed at both ends of life.

Veterans ice fishing


The LVVA Ice Fishing Derby, a fundraiser for veterans, has grown into a major winter event. This year, LVVA benefited TLS Veterans Outdoors. The derby finally took place on its third reschedule Saturday on Bangs Lake in Wauconda. The glory fish was the big northern pike caught by Robert Lauber of Mundelein.


Illinois’ third trapping and hunting season for bobcats had a harvest of 306 by trapping or hunting with 37 salvaged by the 1,000 fortunate enough to draw a permit. That was well under the limit of 375. In the 2017-18 season, harvest was 318 with 40 salvages. In the initial modern season in 2016-17, harvest was 130 with 11 salvages by 500 permittees.


Minooka’s Wyatt Pazdro and Sandwich’s Garrett Beatty are the two Illinois selections for the 2019 Bassmaster High School All-State Fishing Team.

Stray cast

‘‘Score House’’ reminds me of cabins 20 years ago, when there were annual gatherings for Illinois outdoors communicators.

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