Tiny Fish But a Big Lesson!

Written by Dave Mercer on July 19, 2013

It seems that us Anglers are obsessed with big fish. No matter where you fish or what you fish for, it’s all about catching the biggest fish. Don’t believe me? Then think about all the fish you have ever caught. Chances are the ones you remember the most are also the biggest.

Well, I can officially say, that all changed for me yesterday. Yesterday I weighed in five tiny fish that I will never forget. Not only will I not forget those five tiny fish, but I will always be thankful for those five tiny fish because those five tiny fish taught me a lesson I will cherish for the rest of my life. Well, maybe I better slow down a bit because it seems the fish are getting way too much credit here. The fish were just a small part of the day. The real credit belongs to a man by the name of Stuart Gosewitz.


Every year I compete in the Fishing For a Cure Charity Tournament held on Little Lake in Peterborough, Ontario. I used to think it was named Little Lake because of the size of the lake but after fishing it for the last four years I now believe the name has more to do with the fish. This year Chicago Blackhawks player, Bryan Bickell and I had the honour of being paired with Stuart Gosewitz. I have fished many of these types of events in the past and hey, by some crazy combination of flukes I have even won a few of these events. But because of Stuart, this one made more impact on my than any other.

Stuart Gosewitz is a regular guy. He does not stand out in the crowd. He as not won a Stanley Cup like Bryan, he is not a big mouth fishing show host like me. He is just a regular guy. You know the kind.  A real salt-of-the-earth, hard-working type of guy. We all know somebody like Stuart and unfortunately, the next part of the story we all know way too well.

A little while ago Stuart noticed a bump on his neck… You know where this is going. We have heard this same damn story way too much. That bump was cancer. Only a month and a half ago Stuart was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given two years to live. Think about it. He was a regular guy living life with lots of plans for the future and now because of this little bump on his neck some doctor is telling him he only has two years left to live. It’s not right, it’s not fair and none of it makes sense!

However, yesterday is when I learned that Stuart Gosewitz is not a regular guy. He may look like a regular guy but in fact he is the exact opposite of a regular guy. After receiving the news that he just got 45 days ago a regular guy would be buried in a pile of their own self pity. A regular guy would be so pissed off at the cards he was delt that there is no way he could muster a smile. Honestly, none of us would blame him one bit. But like I said, Stuart is not a regular guy. I’m sure inside he is pissed and raging made but he is doing something that we all talk about but rarely do. He is living every single moment to the fullest. His incredible positive attitude and outlook is nothing short of a miracle.

We spent all day in the scorching, hot sun and there was never a moment that he seemed sick. Sure, he may have felt that way inside but nobody but Stu will ever know that. All day I found myself watching Stuart in amazement. How can this dude be so up beat and happy with everything he is dealing with? Every once and a while his phone would ring and he would field calls from the classified ads he had placed to sell his toys. Toys that he had once cherished so much and now he is selling them because of the bump on his neck. After every call I totally expected him to show some sign of anger but it never happened. All day I watched an amazing person live every single moment to the fullest.

When it is all over, those five tiny little fish allowed our team to finish third in this event but if you ask Bryan Bickell and myself, we won because we got to spend the day with Stu. Stuart Gosewitz is not regular; he is incredible and should be an inspiration to us all to remember life is a gift and we should live every single moment.

Thank you Stu – I am not a doctor but I can tell you this, you are an amazing human being and if anyone can beat the odds and prove that doctor is wrong, its you!!!

Tags: , , , , , ,

  • Alex Martin

    Nice text Dave!

  • factsoffishing


  • madge12

    through tears i am reading this Dave thank you for writing this and sending positive healing thoughts to Stuart and his family

  • factsoffishing

    Thank you for the kind words Stuart is an awesome person that I was lucky to spend time with. Dave