First time in over 20 years ... I Pick up a Hitchhiker Featured

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Here's Jimmy! Here's Jimmy!

So the other day I decided to hold off fishing Lake Simcoe's Cooks Bay until later in the afternoon.  I wanted to see if the deepwater largemouth bite was better later in the day - because so far this September, it's been non existant.  As I turned off Hwy 11 at Churchill, I saw a man walking along the road, who quickly decided to stick out his thumb when he saw me and my boat.  Why, after at least 20 years of sadly passing by hitchikers, I instinctively pulled off the paved road onto the gravelly shoulder is beyond me.  We've all become far more atune to the high risks of both hitchiking and picking up random hitchikers, but I did both quite frequently in my younger days- with a couple of fond memories to show for it.  Maybe i stopped this time because he looked so determined to get somewhere and I felt that hitchiking was not his regular means of travel. Perhpas it was simply I was tired of not trusting my gut instincts ... who the heck knows the real reason why,  but I unlocked the passenger side door and he gingerly climbed in.

The man was a senior - not fully gray and you could tell he tried to maintain a classy appearance.  He immediately revealed his destination and why he found himself hitchiking, "I had to leave my boat up at the Barrie Marina and make my way back down here to my marina at Lefroy Harbor where I live all summer ... where abouts are you going?" I let him know my launch site was two marinas north in Belle Ewart and he knew it well. He would just appreciate at ride as close to the lake as possible before I turned and he'd be happy to walk the rest of the way to his marina.

We shook hands and made introductions then began chatting and making small talk ... well mostly it was "Jimmy" doing the talking and I was happy to just listen. He was actually getting prepared for his trip back to Arizona where he lived when he wasn't back up here during the summer months. "I'm originally from Toronto but got tired of shovelling that crazy stuff that kept falling on my driveway all winter. As much as I still adore my lifestyle, Lake Simcoe and the weather when I'm here, I just love winters down there," he explained.  I'm pretty sure he said something along the lines of getting ready for his next cruise ship gig ... but he didn't elaboarate and I didn't press for details. 

When we reached the construction and road closure just before Lefroy he began to discuss how that work has slowed things down lately and he said I could just drop him off there while I headed north to my marina and he could walk the rest of the way to his.  I knew that was still a couple more miles and it was plenty hot and humid out there. Meh ... I told him, "I'll just take the detour the other way and drop you off at your marina - no big deal."

We chatted some more ... he was asking about a few fishing tips he could provide his young nephew who spent a lot of time fishing Sparrow Lake.  He mentioned the exact location (the old Torpitt Lodge) there ... and I knew of it and the lake extremely well. "I've fished Sparrow Lake since the mid 80's Jimmy and used to run bass tournaments out of there." He asked specifically for a couple lure recommendations and I happily obliged, "Top water's like a Rapala Skitter Pop worked early morning or dusk, jerkbaits like the Rapala X Rap and a tube jig". 

As we pulled up to his marina I confessed how long it's been since I've hitchhiked or have picked up a hitchhiker ... but that for some reason I felt oddly compelled to stop and pick him up.  He looked right at me, chuckled and said he was more or less in the same boat when he whipped his thumb out ... not knowing an easier way to get back to his marina other than the long walk in the Arizona like heat. "I saw you and your boat pull up and next thing I know out whips my thumb without hesitation". Before he left reached into his wallet and gave me his business card. "If you're ever down in Arizona Wil, be sure to look me up... "You're all right brother!"  I gave him my business card as well ... not for my day time job but for my little amBASSador Angling Services. 

So, Jimmy went to his marina; me to mine ... and I fished the afternoon away without much to report ... Yah the fishing was very slow and the heat almost intolerable for this mid September day but all in all I still had a remarkably memorable "fishing' trip.

When I got home and relaxed later that night, I finally pulled out his card: ENTERTAINER JIMMY SNOWDEN" Recorded Under Jimmy Nite & the Nite Train. I googled that and came up with this 1969 performance of Jimmy and his band: Jimmy Nite and the Nite Train  Seems like Jimmy has been singing good old time music both here and in the US most of his life and still available for gigs at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

I understand that sometimes 'getting there' can be an important part of your fishing adenture and sometimes is even more memorable ... but I have always thought of that more in terms of things like a remote canoe paddle in, the long bass boat ride to a prime spot in rough water or driving the ski-doo over make-shift trails to a hidden wilderness lake. Nope ... it can also be about a routine 20 minute drive from home on a paved highway to an everyday day lake that provides you with another fishing-related fond memory you'll always remember. Yep, fishing is a whole lot more than just about the fishing!