Mike Yurk’s sixth book is hot off the pressMike Yurk is arguably the most prolific writer in the area. The 60-year-old town of Hudson resident has just published his sixth book, “A View From The Lake.”
By: Jon Echternacht, Hudson Star-Observer
Mike Yurk is arguably the most prolific writer in the area.
The 60-year-old town of Hudson resident has just published his sixth book, “A View From The Lake.”
Like his previous books, there is an outdoor theme, primarily fishing stories, in the collection of articles that make up the tome. Most are of his experiences in the upper Midwest, with several asides to exotic spots such as Canada, Key West and Mexico.
To those of a certain age and memory, several chapters deal with the nostalgic past in hunting and fishing lore.
The opening story is a lament to the passing of the Mitchell 300 spinning reel now of a bygone era. It was a revolutionary piece of piscatorial paraphernalia in its time.
Another brings back the memory of the Herter’s catalogue of hunting and fishing gear. The company was headquartered in Waseca, Minn. It was a well-established mail order business for top drawer hunting and fishing equipment during the 1950s and 1960s before expansion killed it. The catalogue contained everything you would want or need to function in the outdoor world.
Another article brings back the memory of probably the first and arguably still one of the best outdoor shows devoted to hunting and fishing around the world – the American Sportsman hosted by the sportscaster Curt Gowdy for the most part. It was big in the 1960s and 1970s and conjured dreams of big game hunting and fishing for many young men in the Midwest including Yurk, who recalls a fantasy born of watching the show fulfilled later in life.
Yurk, a retired U.S. Army officer, started his writing career for newspapers in and around his native Oshkosh before he joined the service. “It was absolutely great training,” he said. “You get use to producing.”
He said the newspaper training also helped him in the Army. “I had command of two companies,” he said. “My soldiers were the highest decorated in the unit. It wasn’t because they were that much better. It was because I could write a good letter of recommendation.”
“There are people who are better writers than I am, but they aren’t published because they can’t deal with being rejected,” he said.
“Getting rejected by a publisher may have nothing to do with the story,” he said. “There may be other circumstances involved.”
“I take the attitude that if my story is rejected, it is too bad for them, I’ll try somewhere else. “I once had a story rejected six times by the same magazine, same story same magazine, before they accepted it.”
Yurk said although he has six books published, he isn’t getting rich and he is thankful for the Army pension that allows him to pursue his chosen craft. His royalties amount to “not quite enough” to pay for his fishing gear.
Yurk said it will be quite some time before he runs out of stories to tell. He has a collection of articles called “Notes from the Dockside,” ready for the publisher and expects it out in the winter or next spring.
“It’s not a ‘how to’ book on fishing, but mostly observations,” he said. He also writes a column by the same name for the Star-Observer scheduled to appear in the sports section on the first and third weeks of each month.
He is working on a future book that will include two novellas and a long short story.
Yurk said he writes all year round, but more in the winter than summer. “I carry notebooks with me all the time to jot down ideas that come up,” he said.
He has a book signing scheduled for Sept. 11 at Bert’s Café in downtown Hudson from 2 to 4 p.m. His new book is sold at the establishment.
In the meantime his dance card is pretty full this summer. He has a trip to Red Lake in northern Minnesota scheduled and a Canada Fly-in trip after that, guests coming by later in the summer and always the St. Croix River not far away beckoning him to wet a line.