REED CITY -- Pat Wilson loves his fishing. But the Big Rapids and Reed City area resident likes the opportunities he sees right from his own backyard.

“Fishing is all year round,” he said. “Variety is the spice of the sporting life as far as I’m concerned. So I’ll do anything in fishing.”

The Muskegon River is a favorite spot for Wilson for perch and walleyes.

“I also salmon fish over at Ludington,” he said. “It’s been as good of a year as I can remember, for anything. It’s been fantastic. I think the DNR does a good job of making sure everything is managed and stocked. I have a lot of faith in those guys.

“I think plenty of guys fish. The reason I do well, I guess, is because I go to places where there aren’t a whole lot of other people. I pick and choose the time of day and the days. I’m retired so I don’t just have to fish on weekends. Lately, the perch fishing on the Muskegon River, below Rogers Dam has been good.”

Wilson was a teacher for 29 years at Reed City High School

He was born in Detroit and grew up in Ferndale. He then went to Central Michigan University.

For the fall semester he played football. He had an older brother in the U.S. Marines and joined the Marines for two years himself and served in Vietnam as a mortarman.

Wilson was in Vietnam 1968 and 1969. He then attended Western Michigan University which is where he met his wife, Helene.

He then taught near Kalamazoo for three years and in 1977 moved to the Reed City and Big Rapids areas. In 1991, he moved to Green Township in northern Mecosta County.

He played football at Central Michigan University the same time as George Vasicek, a former colleague with the Reed City School district and a Coyote football player in the mid-1960s.

“I taught at Reed City for about a year before George and I realized we played football together,” he said.

He and his wife, plus Vasicek, all retired in 2006. Wilson’s wife was an elementary instructor while Wilson taught special education in the high school.

Wilson coached football at Reed City in the 1980s on the freshman level.

When it comes to fishing, Wilson is a 12-month guy.

“George and I do a lot of steelhead fishing in the fall,” he said. “In November and December are the best times. Last winter, I was in Florida for a month and we did a lot of fishing on the beach.”

Locally, Wilson also has a fondness for ice fishing.

Steelhead fishing with Vasicek has had its memories.

“We also fish the Pere Marquette a lot too, steelhead mostly,” Wilson said. “The biggest salmon I ever caught was 33 1/2 pounds, on 8-pound testline off the end of the Frankfort pier at about 1:15 in the morning, casting the spoon. I’ll never forget that. I caught some big walleye and pike. I caught a 23 1/2-pound pike in Manitoba a couple of years ago.”

To have fishing success, “It’s a matter of wanting to do it,” Wilson said. “If you go everyday, it gets like anything else, old.”

Wilson is also an active deer hunter for the bow, rifle and muzzleload seasons, usually on his property. The biggest buck he’s shot is an 8-pointer in the U.P.

“Ever since they started shooting a lot of does, I see many more nice bucks,” Wilson said. “You see less deer, though, for sure.”

He also enjoys hunting for rabbits, partridge and squirrels.

“I like to wait until the first frost,” he said. “That’s always been a tradition. They say the first frost thins out any diseased animal. That’s what my dad and grandpa used to say.”

Wilson recalls getting starting in hunting and fishing through the influence of his father and both of his grandfathers.

But there are some ventures Wilson would still like to take.

“I keep having a dream where I see myself stepping out of a tent on the high prairie in Wyoming and I’m off to a distance with my rife,” he said. “I’d like to go mule deer hunting. I went elk hunting in 2007 and actually I had an opportunity to shoot an elk. It was 86 degrees and I was three miles from the truck. I figured it was so hot and to get it processed and not spoil and not have a heart attack...I just passed it up.”