Remembering Al Meline

On July 2nd this year the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship lost a friend, a sponsor, a supporter and an angler with the passing of Al Meline at his home in Nestor Falls.

We fondly remember his joy in 1995, the Tournament’s inaugural year, when Al and his partner Jimmy Klick won the big fish prize. His pleasure and excitement was tremendous and indicative of the way in which he approached all aspects of life.

In the Tournament’s early years Al served as our Ambassador helping grow the field of teams working hand-in-hand with his close friend Al Lindner. Through Al’s efforts the fledgling event went on to become known and respected across the upper mid-west states, Manitoba and Ontario.

Al brought to the Tournament organizers the same driving philosophy he followed in his guiding business and tourist camp located in Nestor Falls. He always spoke highly of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship at every opportunity including defending us on area editorial pages.

We recall the year of his humorous, yet serious, attempt to win the prize for weighing-in the lightest basket of fifteen live fish during the three days of competition. His sharing with M/C Lionel Robert the challenge of searching for skinny 12” smallmouth bass and finding big ones, when they are not needed or wanted, is remembered as a highlight of the final day weigh-in.

As sponsors of the Reel Raffle, Alan and Sandra donated a weekend of accommodations, meals and guided fishing at their camp. Feedback from a local winner confirmed his aim of keeping customers happy. The winners had a great time. Their camp promotional brochures always featured their customers, smiling faces and big fish.

Al always had something to say on any topic or a story to tell while inviting everyone to visit Nestor Falls and enjoy a great meal in their camp dinning room. Close friends will fondly recall spending many New Year Days with Al searching for lake trout on the opening day of the new season.

Al enjoyed his time on the water, whether it was frozen, calm as glass or so rough there were “white caps in the minnow bucket”.

Most of all we remember and celebrate his courage. Al took on building his tourist camp after the first kidney transplant proving that his positive outlook on life was more than words. He encouraged others to live life to the fullest the despite the hand that had been dealt and only complained about things, not life.

We close our memorial to Al the same way he signed his letters:

“Keep your tip up - Al”

The Memorial Service for Alan Meline will be held at the Nestor Falls United Church in Nestor Falls, Ontario commencing at 2:00 P. M., on Thursday, July 14, 2005.