July 9, 2009

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Either my fishing partner wasn’t as much of a night owl as I, or I’m getting old. Either way I’m still certain he was happy with my Carnac the Magnificent impersonation despite the fact that he had never heard of the famous Johnny Carson character from the Tonight Show.

I didn’t have any envelopes to hold to my head like the turban-headed psychic did, answering questions, most often with punch lines, before they were revealed. Instead I simply would announce from time to time that my brother-in-law’s latest cast of the line “would surely produce a fish” in that perfect spot. “There’s got to be a fish in there” was another sure bet, as the words often had barely left my lips before the water erupted for another big strike.

The first few predictions went relatively unnoticed, but after four or five seemingly innocent fishing commentaries from yours truly, we finally had to stop and laugh at the oddity.

What made this outing even more abnormal was its timing. It was just after 1:00 p.m. when the house full of cranky kids and cleaning mothers forced the two of us to take to the water to avoid doing dishes and potential child abuse charges. We sort of put the fishing poles in the boat as an afterthought.

A nice breeze kept the bugs off us and made it cool enough to stay on the water for a couple hours. I wouldn’t have guessed we would have lasted that long after the first 15 minutes went without a fish. Finally the aforementioned wind finally moved us across the entirety of the rather large pond to the south shoreline.

The bass were shading themselves from the sun underneath the weed beds as the wind pushed their food to them. We made a big show of boat set up, shouting anchors away in honor of this year’s pirate theme for the big family reunion we were enjoying. (Not to mention the last time my brother-in-law dropped anchor he forgot to insure that the other end of the rope was attached to the boat.) Little did we know that the anchorage would provide us with so much treasure.

My camera phone got a workout as we had to document our success for posterity (not to mention fish story validation). The bass were not overly selective, as we tossed a variety of lures in their direction. He teased them with a popper topwater, well until a lunker finally snapped his line and forced a change. I was having similar success under the water with a tournament series plastic worm. Actually it was bag of them, as the frequent fish strikes shredded the soft baits forcing me to replace them after every couple of fish.

It was one of those rare occasions when I finally set my fishing pole aside, not because the fish had stopped biting, but simply because I had caught enough.

Besides I had to focus my attention on the psychic duties of predicting his fish strikes. It takes a lot of energy to channel those brain waves. Apparently I was so focused on the supernatural that I ignored the fact that the sun was doing a number on my knees. That’s one of the dangers of sitting in a boat seat, leaving my bent knees exposed to rays they normally are shaded from by my ever growing waistline. Well these two knobby joints didn’t fare well out from under my big belly umbrella. I guess the pain finally got to me, as I was no longer able to successfully announce fish strikes.

It will be interesting to see when Carnac is released from the burn unit, if my fish forecasting talent will prevail or if the magic was simply floating around the boat that afternoon.

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