April 22, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I guess one might want to watch the weather before heading out on a large body of water in a boat. Perhaps I was just blinded by the fact I was actually getting to go fishing for a few hours. Then again, I’ve never been on a lake in 30 mph winds before, so maybe it would pay to keep a better eye on things.

I realize there is an advisory for watercraft when winds get too high. I suspect those warnings are for larger boats, so you can imagine what it was like in a small two-man bass boat.

We started out fairly early. By 7:00 a.m. the wind was very noticeable, but we were up, standing next to water with fishing poles and we were already in trouble with our wives for going fishing, so there was no turning back.

The seriousness of the situation was masked a little by the fact that we were traveling with the wind when we departed from the loading area.

My partner had found the crappie the night before in the far west cove. That meant we had to motor across the lake to try to find them again. Fortunately, he brought along his 3 hp outboard motor which moved the little boat really well.

We caught a few bluegill soon after we arrived in the designated spot. Things were looking good. But the picture quickly began to deteriorate.

The fish stopped biting before much longer. Then there was the fact that the wind was picking up out of the south. We were shielded, to a degree, back in the cove. And apparently the motor is not an econo-version as we learned that a trip to the gas station would be needed before that boat made it back to port. Fortunately enough we flagged down a friend who was driving by the west lake bridge and he rustled us up a tank of gas for the return trip.

About 11 a.m. we decided to call it quits. There were eight bluegill in the live-well. The fishing wasn’t too good, but it was the highlight of the day when you factor in the last step of the voyage.

When we finally got out of the cove and back into the main channel, we were headed right into the wind. I began having flashbacks of the movie “A Perfect Storm”. All we were missing was the handsome mugs of George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. I may christen the boat the Andrea Gale from the movie.

Despite my raincoat, I quickly became drenched, without the benefit of rain as the whitecaps crested over the front of the boat. We never switched on the bilge pump, but there was plenty of water in the boat. Say what you will about the gas guzzler but without that motor we would have been hard pressed to pull ourselves across that lake with my handy little trolling motor.

Once we finally reached safety, we let out a sigh of relief. That sigh turned to a few slurs as we battled the wind to get the boat loaded onto the trailer. If we had been on videotape I’m sure we could have won some home movie contest as we struggled to get the boat out of the water.

I would have looked awfully funny on videotape with the wonderful green hue I had taken on. At first we just assumed I was seasick, even though I have been on much rougher rides on the ocean and never taken ill. Two days later I discovered it was actually tonsillitis. I felt worse overall, but better about my sea legs at least.

So there it is - another “windy” fishing story.

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