Mike Yurk pens fifth book
Mike Yurk recently published his fifth book, and his latest work deals with fishing stories largely from the immediate Hudson area.
The "Mallalieu Lake Chronicles" is a journal of his experiences in a single year of piscatorial pursuit. It's a little different angle than his previous efforts, which include two novels and collections of articles and short stories.
"It's a journal of a year of fishing," Yurk said during a conversation in his comfortable town of Hudson home. "It's not a diary, just a record of anytime something of interest happened in the course of a year. Most of it took place in this area, St. Croix County and Polk County."
The retired Army officer said he wrote about items from the time fishing gear comes out of storage for opening day to the end of the season and beyond.
More than a few of the chronicled events refer to the fact that fishing lures catch more fishermen then fish. He said he has seven tackle boxes full of all kinds of lures but on at least one occasion the most reliable means of fishing was one of the oldest - a night crawler an a bare hook.
He professes his love for two favorite lures, in his early days the Silver Minnow and currently the Shad Rap.
Yurk, 59, also reports on fishing expeditions outside the area during the year, including a trip to Panama for peacock bass.
"I caught one that was about three pounds, and it fought like one twice as big," he said.
Other trips include voyages to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, Porcupine Mountain in Michigan and Canada.
He recounts the details of weather, size and type of fish caught, and shore lunches among the anecdotes. A reader's mind wanders to the smell of the wood fire and fish sizzling in hot grease, the tug at the end of a line and zing of the drag and the call of the loon over quiet water during an evening in the wilderness.
Yurk said he wrote the piece several years ago then reworked it for publication. All his published work has been accomplished in the lower level office at his home.
So far, he said, the financial results of his labor, books and magazine articles are "barely paying my way. If I didn't have an Army pension, I might be waiting tables," he said.
But all in all it's been a good experience and something he always wanted.
"Every since I was a kid, I wanted to write," he said.
Yurk grew up on the edge of Oshkosh where he could literally go out his back door and be hunting and fishing in minutes. Later on he worked as a reporter for newspapers in Oshkosh and Appleton.
"Newspaper work was a good experience," he said, and one he credits with developing his writing technique. "I write a piece, let it sit, then go back and clean it up, do some editing and rewrite," he said. "That's about it."
Newspapers taught him to get it down right the first time, a necessity to meet a daily deadline, he said.
Yurk, as usual, has some stories in the works for future publications including a book he expects out late in the year titled "A View from the Lake," another collection of fishing stories. He continues to write a regular column for Outdoors Weekly magazine, something he has maintained for three years.