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A Father-Son Memory

juin 16, 2016

Baseball fanatics memorize batting averages and ERA’s. History buffs study dates and documentaries. Paul Capecchi researches Canadian fishing lodges.

The lifelong angler has received hundreds of brochures, watches fishing shows more regularly than the nightly news, and attends the St. Paul Sportsman’s Show every year on his birthday weekend to talk with as many lodge owners as possible.

“I always like to dream about possible fishing adventures,” Paul said. “I order the Canadian Fishing & Hunting map each year which shows all the lakes and lodges available in various regions of Canada. When I go to the Sportsman’s show I bring home enough lodge brochures to fill up a recycling bin.”

“Right or wrong, I would rather read about fishing lodges than spend time reading any great, classical book. It’s fun to dream about fishing, and you never know what you might discover.”

A couple summers ago, Paul discovered what he called a “dream lodge” when he flew into Aikens Lake with his son, Tony. Despite studying the photos on Aikens’ brochure, website and Facebook page prior to the trip, Paul was surprised by how beautiful the lake, river and surrounding forests look in person. Not to mention the Aikens accommodations.

“The main lodge, Lost Lake Luxury Outpost and Great Grey Owl Mini-Lodge are spectacular,” said Paul, who stayed in a Master Angler’s Row suite but toured the other accommodations with hopes of returning for a three-generation family trip when his grandkids get old enough. “They are far superior to any other fly-in facility.”

At home in Minnesota, Paul primarily fishes for pike, muskie and bass (purely catch-and-release) so he was extra excited about fresh-caught walleye for shorelunch. He wasn’t disappointed.

“To me, the shorelunch was the highlight of each day. The shorelunch sites are set-up so well in scenic spots, with the nice cooking area and picnic table all set up,” said Paul, who appreciated the variety of ways his guide prepared the fish. “I even enjoyed the daily shorelunch more than the wonderful dinners at the main lodge, and that’s saying a lot!”

He loved catching and eating the walleyes, but other species in Aikens Lake also provided Paul with excitement.

“Our guide really listened to what we wanted to do and tailored our daily events specifically to us. When we wanted to try going for big pike in the afternoon after catching a ton of walleyes all morning, he was all in,” said Paul, who caught several big pike up to 41 inches long.

The next day, Paul and his son caught their first-ever lake trout, a beautiful 32-incher. “We were catching walleyes at the time so we had light tackle and light line, so it was nerve-wrecking as the big fish stayed down deep and went wherever it wanted to,” Paul said. “We were SO excited to finally get it landed. Lake trout are a pretty fish and it was cool just to see one in person.”

Paul encountered another “new” species to him that same afternoon, a caribou.

“I had never before seen a woodland caribou, so it was fun to spot one and then get the boat very close it,” he said. “We always enjoy the wildlife part of our Canadian fishing adventures, and Aikens has plenty to see.”

Seeing the evening stars––and witnessing the night-time walleye bite get red hot––was a thrill for Paul as well. 

“I had a blast fishing just the two of us at night,” Paul said. “Right before dinner our guide dropped a marker for us at an excellent spot so we had an easy time going back out there after supper and absolutely hammering the walleyes during the night bite. We were catching walleyes so fast it was almost unbelievable.”

Suffice it to say, Paul wants to catch as many fish as possible every day on the water. The nearby portage lake, Bonaventure, is known for producing fast and furious walleye action, and for that reason it is on Paul’s hit list for a future trip to Aikens.

“To me, that is one of the strengths of Aikens––that they provide a wide variety of great options that you can choose from, all at one place,” Paul said. “They don’t use a one-size-fits-all-approach. There’s variety in the lakes, the fishing, the accommodations and even the various packages. We did the early arrival option so we got an extra day of fishing, and some extra time to visit with Pit, Patrick and Julie.”

Paul has gotten to know Pit and Patrick by attending the Minneapolis Shore Supper each year, where the duo gives a brief Aikens presentation and visits with Aikens guests and friends over dinner and drinks.

“Pit and Patrick are great individually and as a team because they complement each other’s strengths and seem to genuinely like working together,” said Paul, who won a drawing for a fishing reel at last year’s shore supper. “I think it really helps that they both worked their way up the ladder at Aikens, so they know the entire operation. And obviously they know the lake inside and out from their extensive experience guiding and having spent countless days on the water.”

As for Paul, he’s looking forward to spending a few more days on the lake himself next summer, when he returns with Tony for another father-son adventure.

“Any time spent with my favorite son is time well spent,” Paul said, neglecting to mention that Tony is also his only son. “Our time as Aikens is something I will never forget.”