Jesse Williams

The Short Story of Jesse Williams

My life of fishing began when I was very young. I was fortunate enough to grow up on Upper Mission Lake north of Brainerd, Minnesota in a family that lived to be in the outdoors.

My life of fishing began when I was very young. I was fortunate enough to grow up on Upper Mission Lake north of Brainerd, Minnesota in a family that lived to be in the outdoors. My parents would take me out regularly while they fished and my first fish came over the side of our old Lund tri-hull on a jiggle stick rigged with a worm; the rest as they say, is history.

My friends and I fished year round as most of my closest friends shared not only the passion for fishing but also lived on area lakes as well. Docks, peddle boats, row boats, canoes, shore-fishing rivers; it was all part of the equation to fish every day we could.

I started in the fishing industry at the age of 13, supplying the two resorts on the lake with angle worms and nightcrawlers. I was then hired by The Guide Shop in Crosslake to do the same, and soon after I was called upon by Nesheim’s Bait in Brainerd as my prices were competitive and I kept up with demand. I dug up angle worms during the day and picked crawlers throughout the night, even hiring some of my friends to help out. When Nesheim’s closed, it wasn’t long before I was offered a job at my favorite hangout, Oars-n-Mine Bait and Tackle in Crosby; they figured I was there enough and knew where everything was, I might as well be paid to be there.

I had a conversation one day with a customer that at the time didn’t seem like much, but turned out to have a lasting impact on my life. As we discussed bass fishing techniques the gentleman asked me if I had a boat of my own and if I would be willing to take he and a friend of his out for a morning of fishing, so he could see how to put some of the techniques to use. “Call it a guide trip,” he said, adding that he would be willing to pay me for my services. After our outing was over he explained that he and his partner had traveled all over the continent hiring guides for fishing outings and that our trip that morning was one of the most enjoyable they had been on, and that I should try my hand at guiding for real. The fire was lit.

I have been managing Oars-n-Mine for roughly 12 years now and have been guiding in the area ever since. I also run two area multi-species fishing leagues and fish competitively on a bigger scale both open water and on the ice. My wife Nela and I have two amazing children that fortunately for all of us love to fish and hunt, so we spend much of our free family time doing just that.

As a fishing guide, a retail employee within the industry and as a father I have two firm beliefs that I preach every day when it comes to fishing. The first is to use good equipment so everyone involved will be able to enjoy the experience the way you want them to. Owning a nice functional rod and reel is not only crucial to your success but could be the difference between having a family that loves to go fishing and having one that would rather just stay home and not deal with the potential hassles. The second is the best time to go fishing is when you can. Of course everyone would love to be out there when the action is hot and heavy, but just being in the boat or on the ice is good for the soul any day, any time.

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