Gary Lindemann of Coarsegold got my attention from the first time we spoke a couple weeks ago, when he asked if he and his friend Alan Davis might be able to set up a fishing trip at San Luis Reservoir.
Gary begins telling me that he and Alan are experienced anglers and that they wanted to learn more about striper fishing. Then he adds that he would love to catch one over 10 pounds, which would be a personal best.
“That’s not easy!” I answered.
Gary responds: “Roger, I understand, but I’m a very lucky guy and I’ve found that I almost always get the biggest fish. My secret weapon is two special jade rocks I got a few years ago from a friend I was visiting in Alaska right before I was going to a nearby lodge to fish. He told me to believe in them and that I would catch the biggest fish at the Alaskan lodge I was going to the next day – and I did! It’s been that way since. You’ll see!”
Whoa! But there was more:
“Rog, I’ve also had a few health issues over the last few years but I’m OK to fish. I had a liver transplant due to cancer in 2014 and then later in early 2016 they found a tumor in my heart they had to remove by cutting me wide open. You’ll also need to be patient with me because my short-term memory has been affected by the operations and I may forget what you just said. Just do it again, I’ll get it!”
His issues were no big thing to him, but getting a shot at some stripers was! I really wanted to give this guy an awesome trip – he deserved it! Besides, he had some “lucky fishing rocks” I had to see!
I picked them up at the dock and we took off for one of the big coves and began trolling the area. Gary reached into his pocket and brought out two palm-sized, gleaming jade rocks. “These are going to give us a big striper today!” I had to laugh! I could see that he was obviously enjoying every second. He was right where he wanted to be. It was contagious.
The stripers were biting and we released about a half-dozen nice fish in the first hour before I moved to another area. It wasn’t long before Gary hooked a big one. After a long fight, we netted a 30-incher at over 10 pounds. He pulled the rocks out and shoved them under my nose. “I told you!” he gleefully said. We celebrated with high fives as the big striper swam away into the depths.
Later, Gary confided, “After my big operations, the love and compassion for fishing I had back when I was angling with my dad and grandfather was reignited. At that point all I wanted to do was to go fishing with my friends. Now, I’m always plotting my next trip.
“My long-term goals are to stay healthy, help others, spend time with like-minded anglers, share what I know and be part of something good.” No pity parties here.
Gary’s contagious excitement and positive attitude reaffirmed for me that maybe we can’t always control our circumstances, but we can choose to focus positively on things we can control – like our attitude and willingness to uplift and serve others first. Lastly, he reminded me that keeping our deepest dreams alive is what makes life special.
Never give up!
P.S.: Alan is considering how to market the rocks!