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It starts as any other early morning fishing trip-at about 5 PM, just before dinner. I cut myself shaving, can’t find a towel and miss the toilet. Tough. But there’s plenty of work to do if I’m gonna make it down to the dock by mid-night. Remember, this dock is sixty descending stair steps below, no small task there.

You know it’s not just getting to the dock that lies ahead. Heck, once there  I’ve  got to maneuver myself into the boat. Time’s a wasting.  And first, if  I do survive the steps and get to the boat,  I’ve got check the motor for gas, check to see if the boat lights are working, gauge the charge on the electric trolling motor, look for the anchor, flash light, lures, rods and life jackets. You see? It’s all too much, so, in truth, why do it? I don’t-,  tomorrow will come. I’ve only have time for a no sauce dry sandwich, stale chips and a cold beer. That’s better.

Leaving the dock I feel  General Custer in my pocket: what could go wrong? I organize my plan for fishing tonight by noting a few important details right off the bow: I can’t tell the wind direction; I don’t know the weather report; I forgot to check the water temperature and I never knew the boat was leaking this badly in the first place. It all adds up to a well mis-placed decision, maybe even to a de-ranged one-it’s full go ahead men: me, myself and I have hope.

Fishermen, it is good to note, are not half crazy. This would be an all too well undeserved compliment.  Think of fishermen as a compilation of all the lost oars, lures, over turned boats and rubber boots you’ve ever seen floating in the water. There is actually a vast array of other items I might mention here as being components of most fishermen but I want to stay married, I don’t want to give her too many ideas. And , as you can see, I’m actually a quite reasonable fisherman as it turns out.

Motoring my way around Hamon’s point means I am now out of sight and shooting range of anyone who knows me. Home sweet home. Safe. But I do hate seeing all the mosquito’s putting on their party hats whenever they see me coming. It just isn’t right.  Anyway, I scan to see there are no other boats fishing my destination so ramming, farting, belching, all that stuff  will not have to be done this evening, not on purpose that is. I catch a break there  right off the lure.

It used to be, back in the days before people went crazy, I could come out here and catch a bass every few minutes or so. And tonight is only different in that during the first three hours  I haven’t caught anything at all. Still, for the most part, it  still feels like it once did:  I have the  wind, wet water, darkness, missing mosquito repellent, blinking running lights and a non working flash light. Then it hits.

Wack! Whamo! Holy Bananas I just spilled my beer! I’ve a fish on. What to do? Now I remember , I’ve got to reel in. At first, for two seconds, my rod bends, the reel cranks, the line tightens and  the fight is on. I told you I’d catch something. Then it happens.

The reel that cost me half my summer’s savings seems to have disappeared. Odd. Nothing. You know, zip-zotta, no can see, feel or touch, nada, gone reel. You see this is different- I usually fish with reels. Not this time. NO. All I have left is a slight  glint off a faint outline of my line in the quickly fading evening light. I grab for it and hold tight. I can feel the fish is still  on.

Hand over hand I pretend I planned this. The more I pull the more the fish pulls back, forcing my line into cracks and new-born cuts in my palm. Ha! Blood in the water-not half as bad as siting on a treble hook. Though it could be worse than getting hooked in the head with a lure, but then again not as bad putting two hooks through the same finger on the same fishing trip. I balance  it all out and decide to hang in. Pulling, hand over hand. Plus, you know my reel is somewhere down there on this line too. It’s all about savings.

Yeah, every fisherperson will tell you it’s all about savings. After buying a hundred dollars worth of tackle, you only need a boat, a few hundred dollars of safety equipment and licenses and whala–you have two pounds of 7.99$ per pound bass in the pan before I do! Darn it! But this one I can tell is big. Well worth all these cuts I’m sure will heal before vacation ends, maybe.  Finally the fish, the one I most likely would have never caught and gotten to the boat with the reel in place, is thrashing by my boat. But there’s something odd about it.

The fish is about a pound and 1/2. But hand over hand it felt like a five pounder?! So there you have it. Primitive people probably invented fishing poles thousands of years ago but quickly realized they take the fun out of fishing and threw them out.  Now we pay big bucks for upper echelon rod and reel combos that take the thrill of catching a fish out of it. Perfect! So here’s my 21 st century reel coming out of the water. I quickly see its casing frame is hopelessly broken at its base: a piece of trash looking to happen. So what to do?  I hate to just throw it out. It’s no good as an anchor. I guess I could save it and throw it at someone I don’t like-but then the lawyer bills and what not would be such a hassle.  Truth is all I can do now is say a prayer when I throw it out being thankful this was my 68$ reel and not the 90 $ one. Amen.

But I do have one question in all of this: where do those mosquito’s get those hats from?

Franque is for Fisherman.


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January 2011
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