Hooked on fishing

Mike Ellis has been fishing with a group of friends in northern Wisconsin for over 30 years. Their annual tradition of fishing at Chippewa Flowage resulted in more than just good times. It also spawned the creation of his first, self-published book “Why Do Men Go Fishing? A Humorous Collection of Verse and Prose Regaled.”

Through his many years of fishing, Ellis has gathered many stories. While the fisherman admits some of them might be exaggerated, the poetry and tales are all based in his experiences. For Ellis, the book serves as his way of giving back to the activity that he’s enjoyed for decades.

“After you participate in any sport for so long, you kind of want to pay back to the sport,” Ellis said.

“Why Do Men Go Fishing” is divided into three sections. The first, “Traditions,” discusses how the sport is passed down through generations. The second, “Vacations,” reflects on how the sport serves as a release for those who participate. The final section, “Obsession,” discusses ways that Ellis has experienced fishing for many years. He said that determination toward his sport comes in many ways. Namely, the rivalry between man and beast that develops when a big fish gets away.

The book also includes a series of fictional short stories, or as Ellis calls them, bonfire tales. The stories chronicle the adventures of a boy named Tommy, a resident of the fictional town of Sawmill Lake during the 1920s. Ellis said Chippewa Flowage, a lumber area, inspired the location for the stories.

“The roaring 20’s work for me because there’s quite a history up there,” Ellis said.

Ellis’ book is the first that he’s written. He used an online program, CreateSpace, to self-publish the book. While the writing process was easy for Ellis, who said he’s a natural storyteller, formatting the book proved a challenge.

That process was discussed Monday night as Kendall Young Library hosted a visit from Ellis. He also read several passages from the book, answered questions and signed copies for buyers.

“Why Do Men Go Fishing?” can be purchased online through Amazon.