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I grew up in beautiful Northern Minnesota between Grand Rapids and the small town of Hill City. I was far enough away from the activities of city life so there were only minimal hobbies to pursue.
My parents kept a strict leash on me in the younger parts of my day. My Dad loved the outdoors and taught me all his tricks and trades of fishing and hunting, although he was not a professional by any means. My memories of Dad, also known to us as the “Rockstar”, are very vivid today and still point me in the right direction be it on the water or just down the road in life. Nothing beats the memories we shared in the boat or in the woods. I often look up front and smile remembering the time fishing the Jesse Lake Father's Day tournament when I caught Dad out of the corner of my eye jigging a 6 inch shiner, leech, and crawler altogether on one hook. “That is how you catch the big one”, He said. After yelling and screaming at him to switch to what was working, I know now that he was actually utilizing three presentations at once, so if a fish was hungry for a minnow, leech, or crawler, maybe it would have bit Dad's hook. Dad did have a knack for fishing and hunting and he always found enough success to keep things interesting and exciting.
Dad got me to where I am today in the outdoor world. Ever since I was old enough to fish or hunt, he was taking me. As I got older and developed my skills, it turned into me taking him fishing. I always thought I needed the most technological advanced equipment. Dad was there to provide me with everything, especially when he purchased the family boat, which I can say seen more water than he knew about. He was the one who taught me, it’s not all about succeeding, it's about having fun, and that is what Hang Loose Outdoors is all about.
As I found my passion for the outdoors through my parents and my friend Dan Neary, who I have known since my diaper came off; I have been following this passion. Let me say a few things real quick about Dan. Dan taught me a great deal about the outdoors. We would bicycle 3 miles on muddy logging roads out to Mt Ash Lake dock day after day and catch crappies, pike, bass, and dogfish no matter if it was raining or snowing. Let me add, Dan and my brother also thought it was cool to whip me with bulrushes and cattails when the fish weren't biting, but that didn't scare me away from the thrills of catching hogz. Oh! what we used to do in our childhood days!
Once fishing from the dock moved into fishing on Upper Red Lake during its crappie glory days, I found I needed money for gas and munchies. I started working at Ogles Foods during my high school years. Here, I met Adam Godfrey. Adam and I clicked in a days’ time and have been there for each other ever since. Adam taught me pretty much everything I know about ice fishing as all Dad and I would ice fish was Mt Ash with stick poles and bobbers. Let me say though, I remember how many fish Dad and I caught.
After high school I attended Itasca Community College and received an A.A.S degree in forestry natural resources. I then transferred to Bemidji State University and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in G.I.S. For those of you who have no idea what G.I.S. is; G.I.S is making maps, working with informational databases, and performing spatial analysis. I mean, how do you catch fish or shoot deer without scouting and utilizing aerial photography, topographic maps, and 3D models?
During the Itasca Community College days, I met Randy Topper, Craig King, and Randy Greniger. During these days I started bringing my video camera out on fishing and hunting trips. Video footage was stacked up trip to trip for quite some time. One day, Randy decided to make a name for our crazy videotaping group, ”Hang Loose Outdoors”.
Today, Hang Loose Outdoors is all about sharing our excitement and skills with others. There is nothing I enjoy more than watching poles bend over in my Lund boat. I love teaching people about fishing and letting people enjoy the thrills and excitements of a day on the water.
When I'm not guiding and teaching others about the great outdoors, I am studying and educating myself. Tournament fishing is what I look forward to each year. I learn many new things every single tournament. There is nothing that makes the hair stand on the back of my neck like the rush of time, tactics, and decisions. Tournament fishing adds extra tactics to my arsenal each year....
When I'm not fishing, guiding, hunting, or promoting the outdoors, I can usually be found at home spending time with my beautiful wife and wonderful daughter. COME JOIN ME IN THE BOAT THIS SUMMER!