“My sister and my mother were not interested in fishing. So it was my dad and your dad and the boys. And we’d have brandy when we’d catch a fish. My dad would open the big green tackle box and bring out this silver flask and we’d all have to have a snort of brandy. Bill would light up a cigar, my dad would be lighting up a pipe. And my dad would be cold out here and we’d be fishing anyways and he’d reach into the tackle box and bring out this bottle of camphorated oil, and we’d all be rubbing our hands with camphorated oil because that’s supposed to help make our hands warm.” – Patti Kulig reflecting on fishing with her father.
This week, we meet an old family friend of mine. Patti Kulig and I had arranged to meet on the Mississippi River near Fountain City, Wisconsin to target bass and northern pike. It was a chilly November day, Veteran’s day Actually. Patti’s father, Ed, and my grandfather, Bill started making this annual pilgrammage back in the 1940s. They did it to honor the friends they lost in the war, they did it because the courthouse was closed, they did it because the fishing was good. Ed and Bill have since passed away, but each Veteran’s Day for nearly seven decades, an Adler and a Kulig have fished this section of Mississippi. It was up to Patti and me to keep the tradition alive.
Patti grew up in Independence, Wisconsin (or as locals pronounce it, Innapenance) and from a very early age, she loved the outdoors. But the times weren’t quite ready for Patti’s gender-breaking interests. “Early on, I was drawn to fish and back in the 50s that was sort of unacceptable. Girls were supposed to be in dresses and can cans and doing that stuff but I would have rather have walking around with a cane pole and a can of worms.” But Patti’s interests led her to some hard times. “I’m really grateful for our dads and our grandpas that fished and instilled in us the love of the outdoors. That really saved my life. Saved my life in more ways than one. It’s always great to be here because everything else goes away.“
We managed quite a few nice bass but this time the silver flask stayed in the big green tackle box.
Two Adlers and a Kulig
For More information on Wisconsin Women in The Outdoors, visit their website here.