The fisherman's tale

Monday, June 6, 2005

Ron Niswonger believes he was born to fish.

He's been doing it since age 3, first in the creek in front of his parents' Southeast Missouri home and now in professional fishing tournaments around the state.

"It's magic, that's all I can tell you," Niswonger said. "When I was little, heaven to me was sitting on a bank watching the cork disappear under the water."

Niswonger used his concept of heaven to combine his two favorite hobbies -- fishing and writing. The Jackson man recently published his short story, aptly titled "Heaven," in "Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul.""I've been writing forever, since grade school, but I didn't know if I was any good," he said.

Niswonger started freelancing stories about bass fishing for MidAmerica Outdoors magazine and Super Bass Tournament Trail Magazine, but was still unsure of his talent.

His wife, Ruth, encouraged him to submit a short story to the "Chicken Soup" series. His was among 150 of 600 entries chosen for the fisherman edition.

"That was confirmation for me that I've got a little bit of an ability to express myself," Niswonger said. "Writing is creating something, it's like being an artist."

Fishing is an art in its own right for Niswonger.

"It's challenging. It's so hard to become very good at it because there's so many different variables," he said.

Niswonger is currently working on a second submission to the "Chicken Soup" series.

"I think it's a big accomplishment because so many people send stories in," Niswonger said. "The neat thing about the 'Chicken Soup' series is all the stories come from the heart."

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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