Monday was scheduled to be a yard-work day at our place. But with the forecast for cold and snow festering in my psyche, I fought back in the best way I could: with a fishing rod.
Or, actually, now that I’m the new owner of an old fishing boat, with a fishing rod, a Lund and a trolling motor.
“I decided I’ll work in the yard tomorrow,” I told Mary when I called her to explain my change of plans. “Today I’m taking the boat up to Sheridan.”
It was sunny and warm, after all, and I figured the largemouth bass in Sheridan Lake might be inspired to bite. I also figured it might be my last chance to run the new old boat before winter.
Still fully employed, Mary understood my logic and motivations.
“Have fun,” she said. “And make sure you put the plug in the right place.”
Oh yeah, the plug. If matters, you know. If you read my column last month, you know I bought my first-ever motorized fishing boat, a 1991 Lund, in August and made a solo voyage on Angostura in early September. There I had a problem with drain-plug placement, which led to a pretty entertaining Three Stooges routine — by one stooge — at the ramp.
But all’s well that ends well, and that trip did, just barely.
Monday at Sheridan, I noted with a shiver the plug-reminder sign near the ramp and checked for proper placement. Then I checked again, and one more time before backing the boat and trailer down into the water, where to my relief the lake remained outside of the Lund.
You have free articles remaining.
And soon I was edging along a sunny stretch of shoreline, pitching a jig at submerged logs and rock points and cattail clusters, as a trio of hawks soared nearby.
There were only three or four other boats on the lake, and I felt a little giddy with privilege. The bass were unmoved, however, and I never got a strike.
But I did get some practice with the trolling motor in an increasingly pushy breeze. I also did some exploring, using the sonar unit to check water depths and look for fish. I found a few near the face of the dam. They showed up on the sonar screen in boomerang-shaped flashes suspended 10 feet down in 25 feet of water.
Trout, probably, I figured, and I was rigged for bass. But I tried casting a light jig anyway, letting it sink to around 10 feet before swimming it slowly back toward the boat.
After missing one strike, I set the hook on a fully colored rainbow of about 20 inches. It fought hard and jumped acrobatically before spitting the hook a second after I took a picture with my iPhone — the one with the waterproof case I bought after dropping its predecessor, the one without the waterproof case, in Rapid Creek while fly fishing.
But that’s another story. This story is about fighting the pre-storm blues with a Lund and a fishing rod. It could also be about the need to pay attention to boat drift in the wind, which I didn’t do while I was fighting the trout and taking its picture.
Consequently, my new old boat and I ended up in the riprap on the face of the dam, with the trolling motor rendered inoperable by moss. That inspired another panicked, solo-stooge routine, which ended again in relief as I used a wood paddle to push the boat far enough away from the rocks to engage the outboard and back to safety.
With no serious damage to boat or motor, I declared my second maiden voyage — and last of the year — a success!
Still, if you see Mary, there’s no need to mention the riprap stuff, OK?