By Mary Boyle
Lisa Liljegren of Mequon loves to go fishing, but she didn't grow up doing it. In fact, the hobby is quite new to her, and it wasn't something she was introduced to by her husband, son, or even a group of friends. Not only that, she doesn't go fishing on charter boats on Lake Michigan or on inland lakes or rivers up north. Nope. Her favorite spots are in and around the City of Milwaukee and her most common companion is a man she happened to meet while observing a relatively unknown but dedicated group of people who fish in the city. Her experience was more than just learning a new hobby; it inspired her to write a book called Cast: The True Story of a Mom who Learned to Embrace the Unknown through Urban Fishing.
Practically a memoir, Liljegren's journey into the secret world of urban fishing began while waiting for her son during his football league practices in Milwaukee. Having once worked for the Milwaukee County Parks system, Liljegren had already developed a love affair with the City's urban natural areas, but after she stumbled across a large group of people fishing at the Kletsch Park dam, watching them became her regular activity. Finally, she decided she wanted in.
Not wanting to appear completely inept, she contacted a park maintenance man who runs a fishing tournament at the Washington Park Lagoon to take her out and show her the ropes. Her husband, having meant to take their son fishing someday, had some sparse gear in the garage, so she grabbed what was there and got started. After a few embarrassing trips on her own, Liljegren met Angel on one of her expeditions, who has become a mentor and regular fishing partner. The 6th St. Viaduct near Harley is one of their favorite spots, and they've attracted the curiosity of the workers there, who often check in with them to see what's biting.
Liljegren says she has never felt in danger while on her urban fishing expeditions, "...but I did feel out of my element," which helped her to grow, not just as a fishermen, but as person. "It's amazing what you begin to talk about while waiting for the fish to bite. People would be surprised at what they'll learn about themselves and others." Part of what Liljegren learned was that, despite the variety of backgrounds and economic status represented at the fishing spots, once people begin to connect, they have a lot in common. "We all have the same problems."
Pre-orders of Liljegren's book, which is scheduled to be launched this April, are being sold now, and there are special fundraising options through Indiegogo which will help get the book published, including:
If you have a local book lover in your life, this could be a very unique gift! To preorder your copy or learn more about the story of Cast, go to: