Fish stories often seem too good to be true.
The story of Wayne VanDyke and Erich Carlson isn't one of those. Instead, it's a classic case of hard work, perseverance and a passion that, when mixed together, resulted in a prestigious walleye tournament win this past weekend.
Most people dream, but few actually pursue those dreams.
Not so for VanDyke and Carlson who have traveling the fishing tournament circuit for some time now. While recreational fishing is fun and relaxing, tournament circuit fishing is fun, but stressful. Those who participate have to work jobs flexible enough to allow for time off - not just for the tournament but also for a day or two to pre-fish a body of water.
Tournament winners are rewarded financially for their effort but for every winner, there are also many fishermen who come close but ultimately fall short. All of those people had to pay for lodging, food, and gasoline for their boats, as well as for the vehicles used to haul the boat and trailers.
Thus, it's especially gratifying to see the two local men win the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit and National Team Championship in Sault Ste. Marie last weekend. Not only did the two walk away with money and a lot of hardware, they also will be featured later this year on outdoor shows on NBC Sports and the Pursuit Channel.
The weekend was a gratifying finish to a passion that began for both men on local bodies of water like Thunder Bay or Hubbard Lake - places many of us fish as well. Last weekend that pursuit took them to the St. Mary's River, where they used their knowledge gained here and put it into use there.
It was an impressive victory for two men who have an inspiring story to share.
Congratulations to both.