• Rich Engelbrecht

Kooper the Dim: The Fisherman’s Friend

Updated: Mar 11



Kooper, my 8-year-old yellow lab-mix is an integral part of our family. I have written about his antics and adventures previously, and he continues to reinforce the nickname of Kooper the Dim.

I like to fish. Living on the lake and being retired enables me to enjoy this sport. I fish from my dock and my boat. Kooper is always by my side. I have my fair share of luck and have been fortunate enough to actually catch a few here and there. Northern Pike, Large and Small Mouth Bass are my catches most of the time. When I do, Kooper goes into action.

On my dock he will lay in the sun and watch. Closely. Somehow he senses the instant I catch something. He is up and underfoot trying to see what’s coming in, meanwhile I am trying to pull in my catch and not end up in the water tripping over him.


Kooper is a water dog. He would rather be in the water than anything else. So occasionally he will not be able to contain himself and if he sees the fish break the surface, he decides that the best way to help me is to jump in and chase that fish back to me. I am then faced with trying to land a fish and keep it away from getting tangled with an enthusiastic, swimming, Kooper. It can be an elaborate dance.

When I get a fish up and out of the water [as briefly as I can, I typically return them to the water], Kooper has his own ritual with them. He dances around me in excitement as I pull it from the water. I get the hook out and the ritual begins. He has to give the fish a close look and then a good sniff; all the way up and down it. He will then give it a quick lick.


I will sometimes have my wife take my picture with the fish if it is a good size. Kooper dutifully sits beside me for the picture; after all he was instrumental in the catch.

When I return the fish to the water, the ritual continues. Kooper watches intently where the fish enters the water. He likes to give the fish a fond departure. He will kneel down in the front with his butt in the air, and stick his whole head in the water. The barking begins; underwater. The water boils and bubbles around his head as the underwater barking continues. Occasionally he comes up for air. He has been known to be so enthusiastic that he sometimes leans over a bit too far and falls in, much to his surprise.

At that point I am usually laughing so hard I have to stop fishing for a while.


It is a similar situation if I am out on my pontoon boat. I like to fish the south end by the Inlet. Kooper perches himself on the back of the boat, where he watches his watery kingdom and waits to see if I catch anything. He sometimes will see a fish in the water and will launch himself from his perch in his attempt to chase that fish to me.

Try getting 100 pounds of dog back into a pontoon boat without ending up in the water yourself. I have unintentionally been in the water on more than one occasion.


If I do happen to catch anything I am then trying to hold the pole, grab the net and stop Kooper from assisting me in his own way. Again, not always successful. Sometimes it must look like the Keystone Cops have arranged this spectacle.

However, I cannot conceive of going fishing without him. He is always by my side, loyal and involved in the activity. And, he is always good for a laugh.

On a side note, I took him with me to view the pike and walleye spawning run in the Inlet in the spring. Big mistake.


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