A ‘Grimm’ fishing opener
While the fishing opener is normally a day for celebration, this year’s opener was a day of bittersweetness with the passing of Charlie Grimm, 67, who died from a massive stroke.
The world lost a skilled angler, but more importantly, the Wisconsin fishing world lost a man who was a huge part of the original Madison Fishing Expo (MFE) that donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to improving fishing in our state. He was a kind soul who could brighten anyone’s day with a simple smile. The current Wisconsin Fishing Expo (WFE) would not exist without the original MFE, and without Charlie Grimm – it’s unlikely either would have been around or at least have had as great of an impact in making fishing better in Wisconsin.
He loved a good joke, a good glass of wine, and baby-sitting his grandkids.
I remember fishing with him on Lake Mendota one summer and catching giant smallmouths with ice-fishing rods and small jigs. He’d just laugh when people drove past, looking at us as if we were nuts.
“Anyone can do it the normal way,” he said. “These ice rods and 2-pound test make it more fun. Having fun is what it’s all about, right?”
He was all about just having fun and making other people happy.
He’d retired from the postal service a few years ago and from the expo business four years ago, when the WFE took over the duties from the MFE.
“Heck, if I can help out, let me know,” he said to me. “Otherwise, I’ll just sit on my stool here and catch up with people from our expo and other guys I only see this one weekend out of the year. I might grab a free doughnut or two, also.”
You could tell that he was liked, as there wasn’t a moment in the day that he wasn’t chatting with someone. Sometimes it was members of the old MFE board, other times it was guys from the Yahara Fishing Club, and other times it was just fishing buddies. It didn’t matter who, there was always that “Grimmer” grin that made everyone happy to know him.
The night before the fishing opener the world lost a really good stick. But it is my guess, as a man of faith, he is smiling from heaven, knowing that he’ll never have to deal with a jet skier buzzing his rig. The boat ramp will never be crowded. He’s probably catching a 4-pounder on 2-pound test … without a mosquito in sight.
Tight lines, Charlie, you will be missed. But your legacy will live on. All who knew you were surely as misty-eyed as I was on opening day, but know this buddy – you can bet that with every fishing opener from now until the end, you will be remembered when all who knew you make their first cast.
Click here for Grimm’s obituary. He had requested that any donations be made to the Yahara Fishing Club.