Member profile Bill Sonnett

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Bill Sonnett
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Location: Jackson Michigan

Member profile Bill Sonnett

Post by Bill Sonnett »

I was raised in rural northwest Ohio where there was plenty of corn and soybeans but little fishing water other than a small muddy creek and several local limestone quarries. There were 49 people in my high school graduating class of which only 3 or 4 boys were interested in fishing. The high point of my local fishing adventures were occasional trips to my Grandfather’s Summer cottage on Indian Lake 35 miles away. I developed a burning desire to fish any time I could reach water by bicycle or later by borrowed car. During High School I went on several long, all boys Canadian canoe trips sponsored by the Toledo, Ohio YMCA. In the Canadian wilds I found out what real fishing could be like.

When I attended The University of Notre Dame I made it a point to fish the two lakes located on the campus. There I perfected fishing for Carp with floating baits made from dining hall bread. When hooked on the surface those carp jumped as much as any Smallmouth Bass. After graduating from College, I spent four years in the Army, which included a 1968 tour of duty in Vietnam with the First Infantry Division. Returning to the States, I was assigned to the staff at the United States Military Academy at West Point where I also married my first wife (now deceased). The fishing on that Military Reserve was spectacular. Folks there were busy chasing undersized trout while I had many lakes to myself that were teeming with bass and enormous panfish. Upon leaving the Army I went to work for the Toledo YMCA as the director of their boy’s summer camp which was located on a small natural lake in southern Michigan. While there I helped develop a program that brought inner city children to this natural area to spent a week away from home. Later I worked for Toledo Public Schools as their Resident Outdoor Education Director for nearly 30 years. More than 80,000 sixth graders had this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Now in retirement, I spend a great deal of time researching early fishing tackle and methods as well as using, enjoying and experimenting with vintage tackle. My wife and I have a Summer cottage on that same small Michigan lake where I am free to try out old tackle and attempt to complete the perpetual “honey do” list.
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Wayne B.
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Re: Member profile Bill Sonnett

Post by Wayne B. »

Bill...I enjoyed reading your profile. I grew up in SW Ohio so we might have tangled lines fishing in Indian Lake back in the 60's.

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Jonathan P. Kring
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Re: Member profile Bill Sonnett

Post by Jonathan P. Kring »

I didn't see any mention of the "Wild Bill" moniker?

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Bill Muth
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Re: Member profile Bill Sonnett

Post by Bill Muth »

Fishing with Bill Sonnett is one of the most enjoyable ways that I can think of to spend a day. Bill is what ORCA and collecting in general are all about.

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john elder
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Re: Member profile Bill Sonnett

Post by john elder »

Nice write-up, Bill! I grew up in West Ohio (er...Indiana) at the same time, so pretty much the same waters, although we likely never crossed lines. I applaud all the great things you've done for kids and thank you for all your contributions to our Club and hobby!

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Bill Sonnett
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Post by Bill Sonnett »

Jonathan when I worked at the YMCA Camp in Ohio there were two BILL's working there. The other was extremely quiet. To tell us apart the rest of the staff referred to us as "Mild Bill" and "Wild Bill"-----the name stuck!

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Jonathan P. Kring
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Re: Member profile Bill Sonnett

Post by Jonathan P. Kring »

I just knew there was a story to tell! As the old comedian would have said, "some folks call me jon, some folks call me jonny, but ya doesn't has to call me Jonathan"!

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scottorock
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Re: Member profile Bill Sonnett

Post by scottorock »

Awesome write up, Bill! I enjoyed learning more about you. I live 35 minutes from West Point. My youngest sons lacrosse team played West Point Prep this afternoon. Small World!

bettybarr
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Re: Member profile Bill Sonnett

Post by bettybarr »

What an impressive fishing resume! And I love the carp story! I wish I could have been with you when you were at Notre Dame and I was at St Mary's Academy. I would have really had fun with those carp. Thanks for the stories.

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