Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Joy of Fishing

“I’m telling you, man. We caught like 60 fish in about six hours. It was unbelievable.” Ron declared first thing Friday morning.
“Yeah, hey I doubted the stories too; until I went down to check it out for myself.” He nodded his head vigorously.
“Derek said that he and his son catch about that many every time they put their boat in the water.” I added starting to get a glimmer of hope.
“Not just him, Paul went out there with him and caught about that many.” He continued, “Nek and Tilly have really great luck down there too.”

So, I began making plans. I had a few things that I needed to do Saturday morning, but there was no reason that I couldn’t be on the water by early afternoon. It turns out that there were several reasons that I couldn’t make it that early, but that is a whole other story. By 3 O’clock, we packed up the boat and started the long trek to Choteau Bend. We were going to fish in the Grand River (or Reeever as my friend I met in Cozumel says.) And our hopes were high for catching the first fish of the year (Yeah, I have had some rotten luck in that department so far).

It was just me and my son (my wife had to work) so I had to back the trailer into the water, unload the boat, tie it off near the ramp and go park the truck. This was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I fired up the fish finder and headed south with the current. We started seeing a few fish show up on the sonar but they were all 25 feet or deeper (the river averaged about 30 feet deep) so I took us a little closer to the bank.

We started fishing and fishing and fishing…yeah four hours later and we only had a few nibbles but nothing that we actually brought into the boat. The only really exciting thing that happened was I forgot to pull up the anchor when we decided to go home. The rope broke and nearly wrapped around my head when it left the water. Don’t get me wrong it was still a nice father son type day, but it would have been a lot better if we had caught a few fish.

“Dad, why don’t we just go fishing at a pond? I always catch fish when I go to the pond.”
“I don’t like fishing in ponds, son; I like to fish from the boat.”
“You caught more fish before we got the boat, dad.”
“Yeah…I know son.”

We finally get back home and I call up Ron.
“Hey, I just got back from the river…”
“Didn’t I tell you?”
“I didn’t catch a damned thing.”
“Yeah, I headed south from the ramp and barely saw any fish let alone caught any.”
“You went the wrong way.”
“You have to go north from the bend up near the dam.” He snickered. “You went the wrong way.”

I chalked that up to bad luck and decided that we could try again on Sunday when my wife could join us. She said that she would rather go to the lake than the “reeever” (she went to Cozumel with me).

This time I was loaded for bear. I bought a slew of lures. I bought minnows. I even bought worms. We were going to cover the whole gambit and by god, we were going to catch some fish.

We set out on the lake and I remembered the broken anchor. My wife suggested that we slip over to the marina and pick another one up. As we eased into the docking area, I put the boat in reverse to slow us down (boats don’t have brakes you know) and much to my surprise the boat lurched forward, crashing into the dock.

“What the hell was that all about?” My wife exclaimed.
“I put it in reverse, but it didn’t work.” I informed her.
“Well should we take it back to the ramp?”
“Nah, forward still works.” I shook my head. “I will worry about getting it fixed when we get home.”

After we inspected the boat for damage (yeah, knocked a little coating loose, but all and all it fared well) we traipsed up to the store at the end of the docks. It was closed and wasn’t due to open for another two hours. We re-boarded the boat and pushed it around (the reverse wasn’t working after all).

We putted across to a little island that was directly across from the marina and decided to try our luck with the fish. After awhile I noticed that we were getting a little close to the rocks on the bank (no anchor to keep us in place) and decided to put a little more space between the rocks and us. I fired up the engine and pressed forward on the throttle. Nothing happened. I put it back in neutral, checked the lever and tried it again. It refused to engage the rotor.

“What are we going to do now?” My son asked.
“Didn’t we buy paddles last year?” My wife wondered aloud.
“Yeah, they are down in the cargo hold.”

I pulled out the two oars and assembled them. Now, keep in mind, I fish from my boat, but it is no small fishing boat. It is a big beastly 20 footer that is better equipped for pulling wake-boarders than trolling for fish. Never the less, we began to paddle. The boat seemed to be moving with relative ease. Once we made it out away from the island, the wind and the current decided to show me “what’s what”. No matter how hard and fast I paddled, we were carried further away from our desired direction.

After a bit, the owners of this gigantic sailboat notice our (I’m sure comical by now) flailing and stop in to offer assistance. They inform me that there boat is too big to go into the harbor where my boat ramp is but the can get us close. Heh, close was definitely better than paddling this beast.

“Alright, we are going to pick up a little speed and sling shot you in that general direction.” The captain of the other boat shouted.
I gave him a “thumbs up” as he made ready to release the rope that pulled us.

I felt the boat pick up momentum and crossed my fingers as he released the rope. We didn’t make it. We were a lot closer, but still not close enough to bring it in with those stupid paddles. Another, somewhat smaller boat sees our plight and comes to lend a hand. He offers a similar situation, but can get us a lot closer before the big “slingshot” finale. He drops the rope and we start creeping towards the shore.

“We aren’t going fast enough to make it all of the way in.” My wife informs me.
“Alright, I know what I have to do.” I said, as I stripped off my shirt and shorts (don’t worry I had a pair of swim trunks on under the shorts.)
“What are you going to do?” My wife asked, worry very evident in her voice.
“I am going to pull us the rest of the way in.” I replied as I gathered up the towrope. “Watch the depth on the sonar and tell me when it says five feet.”
“OK, 20…15…10…8…7…hey it says that the water is only 60 degrees” My wife suddenly blurted.
“Yeah, I know. Just tell me when we are in five feet of water.”
“6…oops, we are back up to 7…8…honey I think we are drifting back out.”
“Start paddling again.” I instructed and followed suit.
“There it is five feet.” She shouted.

I jumped in feet first. Oh…my…god! That water was cold, but I managed to get the boat pulled the rest of the way in. Have you ever tried to trailer a boat that wouldn’t run? Yeah, that was no small feet either. We finally got the damned thing loaded up and back to the house.

After today, I am beginning to think my son is right. Perhaps, it would be better to go back to fishing in a pond.


At 8:23 PM, Blogger JohnH985 said...

I think your son is very smart.

At 4:46 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

He has his moments! :)


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