Matt Anderson

think it’s funny how a pastime for one person can be another’s passion in life. A few days ago, I drove out onto a lake and parked my car. I piled up nearly 100 pounds of gear onto a sled and dragged it out to the spot where I planned to set up for the night to target walleye. By the time I got out there, my legs were burning, I was sweating and it was 15 degrees outside. Then it was time to set up.

Setting up means finding the right depth of water to set up my pop-up shanty, drilling three holes, drilling at least a dozen more around where the shanty will be for tip-ups and “hole hopping,” baiting and setting those tip-ups, pulling out the shanty and putting that up, anchoring it down to the ice so it doesn’t blow away in the wind, getting the heater going inside and finally sitting down for minute before really fishing. 

From driving to the spot to being set up and fishing, roughly an hour has gone by. It was roughly 3:30 p.m. then and I planned to fish well into dark – perhaps 7 p.m. or later. With a wicked cold front blowing in, temperatures were dropping quickly. That meant “hole hopping” wasn’t going to work out quite as planned, so I would be mostly stuck inside the shanty.

Long story short, roughly four hours went by in that shanty and I never had a bite. All that work; all the sweat, time, and money spent, and I had nothing to show for it. I hoped to at least bring home one fish that my wife and I could enjoy for dinner the next day. Nope. Nada. Zero. I packed everything up (another 45 minutes) dragged it to the car (another 10 minutes) and drove home.

Now here comes the crazy part: I can’t wait to do it again.

If you don’t like fishing, my night on the ice would probably be enough to keep you away from the sport for a lifetime, but for me it’s all worth every second. It’s my passion and I have no explanation as to why I love it so much. It’s just who I am and it gives my life meaning. 

If something drives you like fishing drives me, you know what I mean when I ask, “Why do we do it to ourselves?” We literally put our blood, sweat and tears into what we love and push ourselves to the brink on a regular basis. That night, the thought crossed my mind, “Why do I put myself through all of this?” Sometimes I ask that question with sincerity, but it never lasts long before I answer, “Because it’s what I love.”

I think most people have a passion, and I think we tend to stifle those passions in the chaos of our day-to-day lives. Maybe it’s poetry, music, sports, crafting, designing or anything else that makes you happy. It might seem trivial to others, but it means the world to you. If that’s ever the case, I beg of you to never undervalue your passion and remember why you put yourself through all those challenges.

I always welcome your comments, questions, and concerns. Feel free to reach out at any time.

Matt Anderson


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