This past spring, while chatting with my friend Aurele Charbonneau Jr., I learned he was thinking about getting back into fishing with his family.
In 2014 his youngest son Noah, then three, was diagnosed with posterior urethral valves, vesicoureteric reflux, and acute kidney failure. With the stress of traveling to the Childrens' Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, the financial strain on the family for Noah's appointments every 6 to 8 weeks for the next two years, and the two surgeries Noah has already been through, the latest this year, Aurele felt that being on or near the water would help relieve some of the stress he and his family where going through.
I couldn't agree with him more so during National Fishing Week, June 29 to July 7, I met Aurele and his sons down at the docks on the Mattagami River in Timmins one day with two rod/reel combos courtesy of Keep Canada Fishing. One red and one blue.
After Aurele introduced me to his sons, I asked them which rod they would like to have. Without missing a beat, Noah said the blue one which made me chuckle.
The plan for the afternoon was to spend some time with them fishing from the docks. With the temperature being 32 C, clear skies and no wind, Aurele and I decided that it wasn't a good idea to be out in these conditions with the boys so I told them that I would bring them out in my boat another day.
Over the summer, due to our schedules or weather conditions preventing us from getting together, we finally got out last Monday.
That morning saw overcast skies and light winds making for a perfect day to take Noah out due to his fear of boats.
When I meet Aurele and his family at the docks, I could see Noah was upset. With some encouraging words from his father, mother and big brother, Noah climbed aboard.
Aurele explained to Noah that I had to go a little faster so that boat would be able to to get up on plane to run better. Noah nodded, ok. After a couple of minutes, I tilted my head back while accelerating, which caused my hat to blow off my head, flying out of the boat into the water.
This drew a loud laugher out of everyone. As I turned around to pick up my hat, I could see that Noah was okay with being in the boat now.
Once in the area, I picked to troll some spinners with worms and leeches, it didn't take long before Noah brother Mason shouted, I got a bite. Unfortunately, Mason missed the fish. After losing several other bites, I decided to make a move to another area and set them up with drop-shot rigs.
After setting up everyone's rods in the new area and dropping them to the bottom, Mason, and Aurele yelled, "Fish On!" Aurele handed his rod over to Noah, and both Noah and Mason reeled in a catfish. A couple of minutes later, Amanda set the hook on a fish. She then passed the rod over to Noah to reel up a little Walleye.
After about an hour, the action slowed down, so I suggested we try another area I knew. Unfortunately, the second spot didn't work like I thought it would. So after a couple of missed fish, the boys were ready to call it a day.
As we pulled up to the dock, I told them that I would try and get them out to Cache for a fall fish, weather permitting. Once on the dock, they thanked me for the day and said they had a good time.
Later that evening I ran into Aurele. He once again thanked me for the day and that his family had a great time on the water. He went on to say, although we didn't catch big fish, my boys did catch fish, and that made their day.
I have to say that it was a pleasure to had this day on the water with his family. It brought back memories of a time when my father paddled my brother and me around in a canoe all day. It didn't matter the size or species of fish we caught. It allowed us the chance to forget about all the outside problems and difficulties we were going through. I believe this day did the same for them.