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Published July 25, 2013, 09:17 PM

Off The Beaten Path: Finding your passion

DEVILS LAKE — American poet and author Henry David Thoreau once said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

DEVILS LAKE — American poet and author Henry David Thoreau once said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

For Big John Adams of Devils Lake, chasing his life’s passion trumps chasing walleyes.

At the age of 49, he gave up his nine-to-five job in the hotel business and is now a first-year fishing guide, a rookie so to speak, on Devils Lake.

“At a certain age, things are a bit more of a challenge, but I’ve always been in the customer service business, I’ve always been around people, it kinda comes naturally for me,” he said.

John moved here a few years ago when his wife Jane took a job with the school and he found himself wondering what he wanted to do.

“We talked about it and he was like ‘I really wanna do this but I’m not sure, whatya think?’” Jane said. “And I just said ‘Ya have to try it,’ and it’s so worthwhile, if it works and... how can you say no? I mean you can’t, he’s a good guy.”

Originally hailing from Western North Dakota, Big John’s passion for learning Devils Lake took a little time, patience — and a checkbook

“I spent anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 on guides,” he said.

“Thousands,” Jane said. “We’d come to Devils Lake and I think he’s used every guide service Devils Lake had to help him find how to fish the right way.”

“And they would take me out and we’d catch fish,” John said. “Sometimes I would even go alone.”

“I was really, really scared that he wouldn’t do really good at first,” said his daughter Libby. “And then he went like,” she snaps her finger, “he’d get a guide trip every time and it was really fun to watch him every week and know he was going to get a guide trip.”

“I think he’s just finding his passion,” Jane said. “It took him 49 years to find his passion, he found it and you have to go for it.”

“It’s not a midlife crisis with me to be honest with ya — it’s a passion,” John said.

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