Sims squeezes love of fishing into busy schedule

HERSEY — George Sims is among many individuals who just doesn’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that he would like.

But the teacher and baseball coach at Evart still tries to put in as much time with his fishing rod as possible.

“I have two kids in school and one in day care,” Sims said. “My two oldest ones are at the age where I can get them out more. At 6 and 7, I had them out ice fishing this winter and we were out fishing a lot off the boat last summer. In the winter for ice fishing, I usually go to Haymarsh for a couple of private lakes around here.”

In the summer, where ever there’s a dock, Sims usually finds his way to get there.

The past winter ice fishing season was curtailed by warmer weather than usual, but Sims still had a chance to get out.

“For the kids, it was nice that it was that warm,” he said. “If it was any colder, they wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.”

It was a shorter season than usual but the fish were biting for Sims who enjoys going after bluegills.

“The kids like to catch pike and bass on the tip ups,” he said. “Steelhead fishing is starting. It’s probably been going on for a couple of weeks. I like fishing the PM (Pere Marquette). I have a buddy who has a charter’s license out of Ludington. If I want to get some salmon or some meat, I’ll call him and we’ll go out on the big lake.”

Sims has traveled out west a couple of times.

“My uncle is actually from here, he graduated from here, Marshall Morlock,” Sims said. “I went out and helped him build his cabin in Montana. We were there for a month. A couple of years later, we went back out there. I helped him out. There’s a lot of trout fishing out there.”

Sims hasn’t been out west as often since he started raising a family.

“I love being out west,” he said. “It’s been a few years. But I’ve made trips, we’ve been fishing in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. People here in Michigan don’t know how good they’ve got it.

“Let’s put it this way, I was out fishing the Black River which is supposed to be one of the greatest trout rivers in the nation and I happened to run into a guy out there in the middle of the woods and I told him I was from Michigan. He wanted to know why I wasn’t fishing for steelhead on the PM. He’s way out west on the Black River and he’s talking about the Pere Marquette back here in Michigan

“It makes you realize how much we have here and how people from other states would like to be here.”

Sims, a Big Rapids native, said he’s been fishing ever since he’s been able to walk.

“It was from my dad (Mike Sims) mostly,” he said. “He used to be on the bass fishing circuit and used to do pretty well. He was invited to some tournaments down south and in Missouri. He was pretty serious into it.”

Sims focuses mainly on fishing.

“But I do love to rabbit hunt and partridge and pheasant hunt,” he said. “I’m not into deer hunting. We used to have beagles when we were younger and did a lot of rabbit, partridge and grouse hunting.”

Sims lives along the Muskegon River in Hersey.

“I grew up on the Muskegon River in Big Rapids,” he said. “It’s hard to find a spot anymore where you’re not running into people. That’s really the only difference about being out west. It’s so sparsely populated out there. There’s only a half a million people in the state of Wyoming. It’s easy to find a river or creek out there were you’re not going to run into somebody.

“In Michigan, we have more fishing, but it’s a lot more pressure, in my opinion.”

Sims is optimistic over this fishing season.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” he said. “It’s weird being this early. It does make me a little nervous about some of the fruit trees. It’s still the middle of March. Every year we have frost to kill things. This year, it seems like everything is coming a little too early.”