Through the Years
Just like any other young kid growing up in Northern Ontario during the sixties and seventies, I was into fishing. My fish of choice at the time was the speckled trout, also known as the brook trout. From the time I was ten years old, I did most of my fishing in small creeks and rivers around my home town of Schrieber, Ontario. I would wake up early in the morning, grab my fishing rod and worms that were stuffed with moss into a milk carton, and off to the little creeks and rivers I would go. Most places I fished were only about fifteen minutes away from my house by bike. Looking back now, it's funny to think that all I would tell my mom is, “I'm going fishing with my friends” and off we'd go. There would be no questions asked.
When we fished those small creeks, all we would use were a hook and worm or a small spinner at times. We would sneak up to the banks of the creek and cast into the water's edge. I would always try to find an under-cut bank or a log that fish could be hiding under and cast as close to it as possible. It wasn't too often that we didn't bring home our seven to ten inch speckled trout. It seemed like there were a lot more fish in the creeks back in those days compared to now. Through the years, I continued to fish, and went on many fishing adventures with may dad and my friends. We would go deeper into the forest, into lakes and rivers that not many people have seen, in order to catch the trophy fish. Of course like most anglers I do like to fish for all species, however my favourite fish still to this day is the speckled trout. In my opinion, it is truly the most beautiful fish of all.
When I was in my early twenties, I got away from fishing. I was doing the things that most twenty year olds were doing back then. Time passed and as I got older, I went back to something that I missed - fishing. When I was thirty, I married Cheryl Bailey and to no surprise, her father loved to fish as well. A year after we were married, we had a daughter, Jessa. As soon as she was old enough, I took her fishing...She didn't have a choice! Three years later, along came our son, Mitchell. As my children grew, Jessa's interest in fishing declined, but thankfully Mitch has always loved it. Now at 22 years old, he has caught some pretty big fish of his own. Looking back in time and how I used to go fishing when and where I wanted, I don't think Cheryl or I would have let our kids take off alone to go fishing at that young age. How times have changed!
Over the past 15 years, I began a hobby of making my own jig flies for fishing. I used to buy jig flies from Lorne's Cameras or D&R Sporting Goods in Thunder Bay. However, the person who used to make these jig flies quit making them and they were hard to find. I decided it was time to start my own jig fly tying. When I first started, they did not look that great, however, over the years they have improved. Mighty Mitch and Jungle Joe's Jig Flies was created! Thanks to my father in law, I met Roger Mayer who had a website called Thunder Bay Fishing. This site had everything you wanted to know about fishing. Roger advertised Mighty Mitch and Jungle Joe's Jig Flies on the website and things started to take off. One of my first orders came from Gord Ellis, an Outdoors writer for the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal and Senior Editor of Ontario Outdoors magazine. Gord mentioned my jigs in the paper and magazine and before you knew it, I was getting requests from all over Canada and the United States! Over the years, my hobby has expanded to a full fledged small business. My wife and son designed this website w so we could increase our exposure and sales. In addition my son created a Facebook page to help spread our product though social media.
Our jigflies are also sold at stores throughout Ontario spanning from Thunder Bay to Hamilton as well as stores in Quebec, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan! Mitch and I have attended sporting shows and craft shows around Northwestern Ontario. It's always great to talk to people who have used our jigs and have had good success with them. Through the years I have taken thousands of pictures of friends and family on fishing trips. I enjoy looking at them and remembering the good times. Mitchell has already left to pursue his education, but thankfully he has continued a love of fishing to this day. I hope one day, he'll take out the old albums and show them to his kids and have lots of fish tales to tell of him and his old man!