HOW DOES A fishing and blueberry picking expedition to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota turn into being a best man at a campground wedding, you ask? Easily, is the answer.

Last week, I took a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) where I met up with my son, Brooks, at a remote campground, albeit a drive-in campground, off the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marais, Minn.

Our purpose was to pick blueberries first, then switch our attention to fishing a couple of lakes where supposedly northern pike, trophy smallmouth bass and lake trout fight for the honor of grabbing hold of your lure.

Brooks has made many trips to the BWCA over the past 15 years, with a 185-mile canoe trip through there plus a good part of Canada’s adjoining Quetico Wilderness his longest outing.

He also has picked blueberries on many of those trips. He picks, not in measures of quarts, but gallons. In his best years, according to him, if he cannot pick a gallon in 30 to 40 minutes, he considers the spot not worth picking.

This year, the blueberries betrayed us. In two days prior to my arrival, hitting all his tried and true spots, he picked a grand total of 1 quart. Upon receiving that info, I decided our time would decidedly be much better spent trying to catch all those voraciously hungry fish.

He took me to a lake that is 200 feet deep at its deepest part and measures slightly better than 1,000 acres. A hot, sultry day with brilliant sunshine, we shoved off in his 18-foot canoe with our intentions aimed at smallmouth and pike.

I rigged up with a Rattlin’ Rogue about 5 inches long if you stretched the tail treble hook straight out behind. In a matter of about three casts, I had my first smallie. That “trophy” barely matched the lure in length. Casting up against a rocky outcrop that stretched vertically above the water for at least 50 feet, I caught several more in short order. The whopper of the bunch might have stretched to 7 inches on an honest ruler.

I switched to a deeper running CountDown Rapala of about the same size and had much the same luck. Leeches on a slip bobber and a large plug cast on a second rod yielded about the same results for Brooks.

I was all for finding a new guide when finally, I had a solid hit. My graphite spinning rod bent double and visions of a 6-pound smallie began to fill my head. After a stout battle, I landed not a smallie, but a pike that weighed 5 pounds on an honest scale.

Casting and retrieving along a shoreline as beautiful as any I’ve ever seen, in places sporting stretches of awesome rock ledges 200 yards long and 50 yards high, we caught fish; not big ones, but fish. Brooks did get the trophy for big smallie of the day, a massive 12-incher.

A 7-inch rock bass slamming a No. 4 Mepps bucktail earned me the trophy for that species. In the end, while the fishing lacked a little in trophy quality, being on a gin-clear lake with scenery to die for, it was a great outing.

Then, it was off to the wedding. Late that afternoon, the bride and groom to be, good mushroom hunter friends of Brooks, arrived at the campground with Boston terrier Cora Belle in tow. A lovely young woman, who I already need to apologize to for not remembering her name, arrived to perform the ceremony. Kayla, a very accomplished school social studies teacher and equally expert photographer, also arrived.

At the lakeshore below our campsite, with a huge rock outcropping across the narrow body of water for a background, the short ceremony was performed. At the outset, I demanded that if I were to be an official witness I would have to be considered the best man, relegating Brooks to maid of honor status. Gordie, my yellow lab, and Cora Belle, wearing a collar adorned with flowers, were the other witnesses. They starred in several of the wedding pictures.

When the “I dos” were said, photos all taken and congratulations given to the newlyweds, it was time for a campfire-cooked feast and several toasts, $1,000 a bottle bourbon for Brooks and Lance (the groom), wine for Stephanie (the bride), beer for Kayla and my usual dollop of Crown Royal were served.

The wedding dinner consisted of home-pickled asparagus and wild onions, homemade pesto and salsa for appetizers. Whole Roma tomatoes, and yellow and orange sweet peppers were roasted over the campfire, followed by venison and oryx backstrap for the main course. The latter was my first taste of that African antelope species and it was delicious.

Eventually, Kayla had to head back down the Gunflint Trail, while I had the good sense to retire to a cot in our tent. Old people, I explained, have the good sense to go to bed by 9 p.m.

It was a long 310-mile trip home the next day, but though my time in the BWCA territory was short, it was well worth it. Next year, I see an early June trip in my future when, as they were this year during the first trip north for Brooks, the walleyes will practically fly into the boat.

Maybe Kayla will even come to document my fishing success.