Forget the boat
Just another day fishing
I like to think that I’m wiser than I was as a teenager. I’m sure there are people who would disagree with that, some might agree completely. How we see ourselves is rarely how others see us. Our true selves are probably somewhere in the middle. None of us are perfect anyway and we never will be.
I do like to think I am wiser than I was as a teenager. Some Days don’t seem like it even to me. We all have those days. Fishermen know what I mean. Those days where we can’t seem to catch anything. Those are still better than good days at work.
However, I have noticed that when fish start biting, and I start catching I become unaware of what’s going on around me. I go into the zone I call CATCH MODE.
“You can keep talking but I’m done listening.” I’m just trying to catch fish.
Normally this is a good thing.
I love those times.
There have been times that I should have noticed things happening around me instead of what was biting my hook. Those little things that turn a great day fishing into one of those you will never forget, for the wrong reasons.
Luckily, I can laugh at most of them, or I wouldn’t be writing stories about them and letting the world see my errors in judgment. It’s all in fun and for others to hopefully enjoy and keep from doing themselves.
Finally found Fish
I used to fish in a little aluminum boat. Nothing nice. It had more dents in it than it did shiny parts. I had a cheap outboard motor on it that you had to sit next to steer and control the throttle.
I had to keep the cooler in the bow to keep it from flipping when I took off or when a breeze caught it just right. That’s a story for another time. I learn from doing, usually from doing it wrong.
It was a good little boat though. It could go in inches of water or take on a good sea. It was a trooper. I mean it lasted through my teenage years, so it was one of a kind.
I used to go upriver, kill the engine and drift back down river till I found the fish and then would anchor. I’d fish till they quit biting or moved and then I’d drift again.
There wasn’t anything fancy about it, but it worked. I usually came in with a few and had a great time every time I went.
I got up one morning in the fall to see if the weather was OK to go. I was going anyway but I wanted to see how cool it might be or if it might rain. I’ve never been that big on trusting weather people. I can walk outside by myself and it’s 100% accurate. If you are worried about it raining later on a sunny day, carry an umbrella.
It wasn’t that bad. Low 60’s and not much wind. Perfect for fishing that morning.
So, I gathered my gear, loaded the boat and headed out.
I made a couple of trips up and down a few little rivers before I found anything biting. But when I did, they were hungry.
The first one I landed was huge. I couldn’t believe it. If anybody else had been listening to the racket I made in my excitement, my little spot would have become a marina in a matter of minutes.
So once my adrenaline leveled off and I calmed down I got out the anchor and made another cast.
Another one just as big nailed it.
My drag was screaming, my pole looked like it might break, and I probably had a bigger smile on my face than I ever had before.
“This is a great day!”
It went on like this for about half an hour.
This is exactly how I imagine fishing in Heaven will be. I don’t know what better would be. Well, I do but that's out of my hands till. . .
Is there supposed to be that much water
After I got in the 3rd or 4th fish, I noticed there was a little bit of water in the boat. Well, a little more than I thought should be there.
I didn’t have a bilge pump or anything, just a scoop or I ran it fast with the plug out and the water drained out.
Since I was in Catching Mode, I decided it could wait.
Boats are supposed to get wet, right?
So, I made another cast and sure enough. Wham! AGAIN!
Days like this don’t happen often and you have to make the most of an opportunity when it comes.
I probably caught another 2 or 3 when I looked at the water again.
It didn’t seem to look much worse. At the time.
So, I kept on fishing.
What are you planning on bringing it in to
What I had not stopped to realize in CATCH MODE was that I was standing in the front of the boat. The weight was balanced. Unless I wanted to start the engine. Then all the weight would be in the back. So would most of the water. Enough for the sides to barely be above the water line.
I know this because I tried to go to the back.
So now I was in a predicament. I can’t get to the back to start the engine so I can’t run all the water out. All I could do was try and scoop it out.
So, I did.
After a few minutes I realized I was not gaining any ground. If anything, I was just keeping it where it was.
Just to show the mentality I had as a teenager, and don’t now, in the back of my mind I was trying to figure out how I could keep catching fish before I completely sank but yet still somehow get back in.
So, I made a cast till I could figure it out.
It was at this moment my onlookers had all they could take.
All I heard was laughing and someone asked: What are you going to reel it in to?
I had no real answer. I knew the boat was sinking, I couldn’t stop it, I decided to fish anyway.
So, I kept on fighting him.
Forget me get the cooler
They eased up to me making sure they didn’t make a wake that would have ended everything and asked if I needed help.
Obviously, I did but in CATCH MODE all I could think to say was
“Don’t worry about me, get the cooler!”
All I heard was laughing.
Till I started passing them the cooler.
Then they really laughed.
After they got my prize catch safe and secure, I threw them my bow line and told them to just tie it off and go real fast.
They looked a little shocked at first but realized I might have a plan, or I was trying to sink the boat on purpose. Either way they wanted to see what would happen.
Plan might have been a stretch, but I had an idea. I got the water out of the boat all the time by running it wide open with the plug out. I had never tried it being towed by someone else, but the theory seemed sound.
So, off we went. One larger boat being driven by two people who knew what they were doing pulling another mostly sunk boat and a guy who looked like he knew what he was doing.
It took a little while, but the water was draining out. Eventually all of it was gone and there on the floor in the back, was the plug.
When I pulled up to this spot, I saw a fish hit and got excited.
I forgot I had been running the water out on my way there.
I made a cast before I put the plug back in.
One thing after another and I almost sank the boat. I’m pretty sure sinking means the whole thing goes under or at least doesn't float anymore. The boat wasn’t sunk, yet.
But I still had an amazing day fishing.
I don’t know who the people were that helped me but I’m sure that story comes up from time to time. I’m sure they are still laughing about that cool headed teenager fighting a fish back to a sinking boat and smiling the whole time. I wasn't that cool headed I just couldn't think of anything else to do but keep fishing till I figured out what to do. Which is technically what got me into the mess to begin with. The decision to keep fishing. Maybe it wasn't the best idea, not my worst either.
If you know that story or were the people who kept me from sinking, I’m that guy.
Yes, I'm still fishing.
Just a little wiser now.
I have a checklist:
- I check the plug before I cast.
- I never put off draining water till the boat is sunk.
- I always know what I’m fighting a fish into.
Was that the only boat I ever sank?
Will it be the last?
I don’t sink boats, but they might sink from under me. I’ll worry about it when it happens.
When we need them the most, God sends angels.
What you are standing on matters most.
See wiser than I was as a teenager, even if it's not by much.
I’m learning as I go.