A back-breaking day on the waterMy Jeep was under the weather the entire summer last year and I wasn’t able to get my boat in the water, not even once. Seriously, not once. So I got the Jeep fixed over the winter and was prepared to put the boat in the water this year, and then the outboard motor went out.
By: Darrell Pendergrass, Superior Telegram
My Jeep was under the weather the entire summer last year and I wasn’t able to get my boat in the water, not even once. Seriously, not once.
So I got the Jeep fixed over the winter and was prepared to put the boat in the water this year, and then the outboard motor went out. I now know that overheating a motor isn’t something you should let happen.
Anyhoo, the motor is currently in the shop. Still, I’ve got a boat and I’ve got a Jeep and I’ve got a 12-year-old son dying to get out on the lake — I decided to launch the boat.
Before I go much further, I should admit that I can’t back a boat trailer up very well. Lurching back and forth, turning the steering wheel this way and that, eventually I’ll get the trailer in the water. I’ll usually take out a few trees and scare small children swimming nearby, but I’ll get it in; it just takes a long time. It’s always a miracle when the boat is launched, so much so that my son and I usually do a high-five and give a small cheer. If you ever see this being done at a boat landing it’s a sure sign the guys putting the boat in don’t know what they’re doing. Or it might just be me.
My 14-foot boat has a set of oars. One oar is perfect for rowing, it has the correct angle to grab the best water and it will apply the perfect leverage for moving a boat forward. The other oar is off quite a bit. It doesn’t grab nearly as much water and slices through the water much different than the other. What happens is the rower — me — tends to move his boat in circles rather than straight. I could fix the bad oar easily and alleviate all the problems, but that doesn’t seem to be my style.
Back to the point, Jack and I chose a lake to fish based not on whether there’s any fish to catch but on how far we’d have to swim to get to shore should we flip over in the middle of the lake. We got to the landing at around 9 a.m. and I had the boat in the water by noon. Rain poured out of the sky like Kool-aid at a kid’s party. It was fun.
I’m in pretty good shape for a 65-year-old man; the problem is I’m 47-years old. I put my hands on the oars and put my back to the work and soon we were shooting around the lake like a balloon that has a hole in it. There was nothing straight in our progress. Whenever I would pass out from exhaustion Jack took the opportunity to make some casts and managed to catch some nice bass.
Truly, my son was catching bass after bass. None of the fish were too big, but they were all fun.
Jack did hook up with one red-eyed beast that had some size and heft to it. It made a couple of super leaps before tossing the hook. We laughed out loud.
I kept rowing and Jack kept fishing. The clouds to the west were gloomy and black, the trees were swaying zombie-like out away from the shoreline. Sporadic rains swept over us from time to time. Smart people would have gotten off the water, so we stayed out. Every now and then the wind would pick up and the water’s surface would become angry, adding to the struggle of the oars.
But we stayed at it. Every now and then we’d catch a break near shore and sit for a bit. Jack would catch a bass and we’d giggle. And then we’d move. Everything was going OK, for the most part.
Then, Jack got the idea we should troll. He’d sit in the back of the boat with his line out, dragging a lure in the deeper part of the middle of the lake, and I could row with the wind. In my son’s mind that seemed like a good plan. Trolling.
Sure, I said. And I began to row; across the middle of the lake, with the waves, at a good clip. And, it worked — we caught one nice northern that bit me when I took the hook out of its mouth, and a good-sized bass.
And we were done.
And, we were at the far end of the lake; against the wind.
It took as long to row back across the lake as it took me to get the boat in the water. I’m looking forward to having my outboard repaired.
Darrell Pendergrass, of Grand View, is a Wisconsin Newspaper Association outdoor writing award winner. Read more of his work at outtherewithdarrell.blogspot.com.