Those who fished muskie on Indiana's fabled Webster Lake may remember Mark Meritt as an early guide. On Sunday, Mr. Meritt, 39, died in Minnesota.
According to Robert Tomes, the fly-fishing muskie guru from Chicago, Mr. Meritt had collapsed while at his son's hockey practice.
``I am just shocked,'' said Tomes, who was working with Meritt on a video about fly fishing for muskies.
He's right. It gave me the chills when Tomes called early this morning--39 is too young.
Javier Serna had introduced me to Mr. Meritt. Serna, who grew up in Palatine, was covering sports and the outdoors for the Elkhart (Ind.) Truth at the time.
That led to my introduction to Webster Lake, and Javier catching his first muskie. And me getting to hear Mr. Meritt's tale of Ethel, the mythical muskie of Webster.
What I most remember about the day came after we had the first follow to the boat. I asked Mr. Meritt how many of those he expected and he said 15 or 20. And I nearly blurted out that he was a liar. But that is exactly the amount of follows we saw.
That led to my introducing Tomes to Mr. Meritt. Which led to me tagging along to watch Tomes fly fish with Meritt on Webster. The day culminated with a muskie slashing off a weed line to take a Tomes streamer.
That was something.
Mr. Meritt then moved to Minnesota, where his main career was as a trainer for Best Buy, but he kept his hand in muskie fishing in Minnesota, that hot bed of lakes for muskies.
Tomes sent this link to the obit: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/startribune/obituary.aspx?n=mark-e-meritt&pid=136071360