Father, son fishing in 50 states in 50 days

Posted July 28, 2009, at 12:20 a.m.

Jeff Turner and his son, Taylor, are spending their summer in very close confines as they complete a journey that has been years in the making.

A bit too close, at least one of the Turners might say.

“Being in an RV together, you know a lot more things about each other now. Probably more than you want to know,” 17-year-old Taylor Turner said during an interview with Dave Simpson of ABC-7 last week. Simpson, for the record, was flying solo for the day, getting some video for the “Going Outdoors” segment we produce for his TV station each week.

On Tuesday, he caught up with the Virginia duo as they neared the end of a quest to fish 50 trophy waters in 50 states in 50 days.

The Maine stop, during which they fished the Penobscot River near Howland with guide Kevin Tracewski of Tracewski Fishing Adventures, was their 42nd state over a 39-day period. The cost of a one-day fishing license in Maine is $11.

The trip began in Pennsylvania on June 13, and will finish up in Hawaii on Wednesday. Jeff Turner said they’d end up driving nearly 14,000 miles, flying a few thousand more, and would hopefully finish the trip with memories that will last a lifetime. He said he was inspired to take the trip by a book he read seven or eight years ago that espoused finding adventures to live and battles to fight.

“Some of this is to rediscover some things that I would have liked to have done when I was younger,” Jeff Turner said. “My son is 17, a rising high school senior, and I felt like if we were ever going to do something where time wasn’t our enemy, this was really the only summer we had left to really do something sort of extraordinary.”

Thus, they planned the itinerary for about a year, then jumped into an RV and began fishing their way across the nation and back. They also set up a Web site where anyone who likes can donate to one of three charities.

The Turners have fished four “doubleheader” days in which they conquered two states in one day. They fish four-hour sessions in each state, and as of Tuesday they’d caught 34 different species, Taylor Turner said.

“We’ve learned an awful lot,” Jeff Turner said. “It’s kind of like going to college — fishing college — for a summer. Every guide teaches us something new.”

Taylor Turner counts catching 10- and 12-pound rainbow trout in Nevada as his trip highlight, but allowed that the Maine leg of the journey was likely one of his top three favorites.

Jeff Turner has an easy explanation for that: In Maine, they caught lots and lots of fish.

“In four hours the best we’d ever done was 50 fish. That was North Dakota,” Jeff Turner explained. “We slaughtered it [on Tuesday] We caught 68 fish in just under four hours.”

Taylor Turner is just as quick to point out who earned bragging rights on the Penobscot.

“I beat him today,” Taylor Turner said with a grin. “I caught 38.”

For more information on the Turners’ journey, check their Web site at www.fish5050.com.

Fort Kent muskie derby on tap

Organizers are gearing up for the sixth annual Fort Kent International Muskie Derby, which will be held from Aug. 7-9.

The derby boasts a possible purse of $35,000, and the angler who catches the longest muskellunge will take home $3,500 in cash.

Dave Kelso contacted me last week to say that if more than 264 anglers enter this year’s derby — that’s the number of entrants in the tourney’s fifth edition a year ago — the prize pool will expand and pay anglers through the top 10 places.

In past years, the top three adult and youth anglers have won cash prizes.

The tournament takes place on the St. John River and all of its tributaries, including the Fish River and the St. Francis River, Beau Lake and Glazier Lake.

The entry fees: $35 for adults and $15 for those age 15 and under.

And as has become a tradition at the event, the fishing’s only half the fun: A variety of other events, including fireworks and a street dance, are planned for the weekend.

For more information or to register for this year’s event, go to www.fortkent-muskie.com.

Access state parks for free

The Maine Department of Conservation has announced that it will observe a free-access day for Maine residents at state parks and historic sites on Saturday.

The event, which is being called “Maine Day,” is an effort to further share the state sites with their owners: The citizens of Maine.

“These parks belong to the people of Maine — they belong to you,” DOC Commissioner Patrick McGowan said in a news release. “With the support of Gov. [John] Baldacci, we are opening the parks and historic sites for one day to all Maine people.”

Maine has 47 state parks and historic sites that are run under the management of the DOC’s Bureau of Parks and Lands. According to the DOC release, more than 2.2 million people visit those parks and sites each year.

jholyoke@bangordailynews.net

990-8214

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