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The hat came back

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Jake Baker with “the hat” on his headlast Saturday.
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Jake Baker is shown wearing his hat in 2013. This is the last photo he had with the hat before it fell into a lake in Canada.

By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

Jake Baker considers himself lucky. 

Baker had a hat, a camouflage hat. It was an ordinary fishing hat. But it was special to him.

“My wife Karen and I are really big Duck Dynasty fans,” Baker said. “When Willie Robertson and them came to Spartan Bowl in June of 2013, of course we got tickets and met them.”

Baker wore his camo hat. Robertson signed it and they posed for a picture together.

After meeting Robertson, Baker got ready for his annual guys fishing trip to Canada in July. The guys have been going on this trip since back in the 1990s. In fact, some of them have been going since the 1970s.

“There are between eight and 11 of us that go. We make a big breakfast and every night we have a big meal. We sit around and play cards at night, stay up late and get up early to go fishing.”

Baker’s wife, Karen, was hesitant on him taking the signed hat.

“My wife told me not to take my hat; she said I would lose it. Of course I said, ‘No, I won’t’ and took it anyway.”

Three or fours days into the trip, “It blew right off while we were on Little Bass Wood lake in Ontario, Canada. It was really windy that day. I knew I had lost it forever. We tried getting it with dip nets and it ended up sinking. The wind caught it and it sunk just that quick.”

Even after losing the hat, the group has gone back every year to fish.

“We went up this year in July and had been fishing all week. We were all in different boats out fishing, and somehow we all met up together in this cove area in the lake.”

The lake is about the size of Brookville Lake.

“A buddy of mine, Lacy Donnell yelled, ‘I caught this hat, I can’t believe I caught this old hat.’ My brother saw it and said, ‘Don’t throw that back, that’s Jake’s hat!’”

“We all went over there and sure enough, there was my hat.”

“Larry Donnell and Lacy (son and father) were fishing and their lines got tangled up. Both were saying they had a fish. Larry’s fish ended up getting off the line and then Lacy pulled up what he thought was a fish, fighting it, and it was my hat.”

Baker asked himself, what are the odds?

“We knew it was my hat, it was in a small area where I lost it. There was a slight cove and I lost it right in that point. We fished that lake five years in the same places and he caught my hat just this year.”

The hat is still in good shape.

“We washed it up a little bit, you can barely see Robertson’s signature but it’s there,” Baker said. “I am glad to have the hat back, I haven’t worn it since. I have kept it put up, but I might start wearing it again after my wife starches it for me.”