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Spending quality time with Mom fishing

Today and tomorrow marks Minnesota's Take a Mom Fishing weekend.

During this time, mothers can angle without a current Minnesota fishing license.

There is no fee or registration, you simply go fishing!

Fortunately, this year there's no conflict with Minnesota's walleye opener weekend and Mother's Day for Sunday brunches and celebration.

My own mother has always welcomed the opener, Mother's Day and her birthday within a few days of one another. Her birthday is May 10.

Last year I wrote about her encouragement, patience and perseverance when I, at a much younger age, hooked what I thought was a monster pike and gave up in fear of such a creature.

She battled the beast to boat-side, laughed when we discovered it was a log and never complained as she rowed our boat for over an hour across the windswept lake.

There haven't been many fishing trips where my mom and I shared the boat alone. But on those few occasions, I've always learned a lesson.

One year, my mom and I decided to fish for walleye together, without dad, somewhat early in the season. We used Northland Roach Rigs with whole nightcrawlers trailing on the single #4 hook.

I caught a couple small walleyes and some pesky perch broke our worms in half with their aggressiveness.

I reminded my mom that she needed to put on a new crawler once a perch bites it in half. That is, if she wanted to catch a walleye.

A few minutes later she reeled in her line and only a nub of a worm remained on the hook. Then my mother (gasp) did the unthinkable.

She dropped her line again, without re-baiting.

"It'll be fine," she assured me. I'm not one to question or contradict my mother's rationale.

Minutes later she proved me wrong as her rod arched over the weight of a fish bigger than anything I had landed that evening.

She didn't smile, but a look of determination furrowed her brow and she grimaced. Yet she still managed to squeak out the words, "I knew I'd get a fish on a piece of a worm."

I was ready to eat crow, but more prepared to eat the walleye on the end of her line. The fish surrendered and I saw the white of its belly as it writhed toward the net.

My smile contorted as I hoisted the fish into the boat, since the walleye had miraculously, err, unfortunately, turned into a sucker.

Yet her rousing laughter and smile, despite my disappointment, made me grin as well.

My mother has taught me the qualities of patience and kindness, but also the attribute of stubbornness, in a good way. Some call that "tenacity."

We all might not have the perfect "bait" to catch a walleye in life, but finding enjoyment and success in the surprises and accomplishments along the way are what really comprise our character. Focusing on what we have is more important than focusing on what we don't have.

"Thanks Mom".