Saturday, October 22, 2005

Deep Sea Fishing

My brother Chuckles somewhat twisted take on the great pontoon adventure:

It was the best of times, we were all young and free full of hope and promise. This day we were going fishing, in hopes of landing the big one. Our father had purchased a pontoon boat. In retrospect it was a second hand garbage scow with new indoor out door carpeting and some latex paint. But like I said, we were young, and this was the shit.

We were in search of Nessie, the big one, lunker bass. We were on Eagle Creek Reservoir in central Indiana. I had an intimate knowledge of the lake because just a few years before, while the reservoir was being constructed, My dad had taken us motorcycle riding in the soon to be lake. We crossed the creek many times, so I knew the lake from below and being 16 years old, I knew everything from above too.

When I say "We", our crew consisted of my self, who every one addressed as Captain Quint, my first mate and the owner of the car we used to get here, Big, so named because of his ginormus proportions. Then there were the kids, Roscoe and Josh and Joe, hardly deserving of our company, but we had to take them if we were going to use the boat.

Joe and Josh sat out in the area in front of the railing, in their lawn chairs with humongous tackle boxes between them, they both had on short pants bib overalls with white leather shoes. Beats me, that's just what they wore this day. Unrelated twins. Josh had on his Derby and claimed to be Thames Bond. Joe wore a handkerchief on his head with a knot in each corner, Aunt Jamima style. Trust me Big and I considered not going at all if we had to take these goons with us.

Roscoe sat amidships, his chair secured by Big's foot. He did have the railing on all four sides so there was little chance of him rolling over board. Rosoce's mandatory as well as compulsory life jacket worked it's way up during the cruise until the shoulders were over his ears and all you could see was his white pith helmet sitting on the shoulders of his life jacket, quite the sight.

Big and I were dressed sharply and looked cool, no one would confuse us with our charges, WE were obviously "In charge", and a heap cooler than these children our mothers made us tag along.

So we pulled from the dock with no problems, again being 16 years old and used to paddling a plywood row boat, I had full control of this power boat and the 10hp Mercury just pulsed at my command. We headed due west to an area I knew as Crappie Cliff.

Once clear of the No Wake Zone, I rolled the throttle on the big 10 open wide and we were gaining speed. Soon hands were being raised over head to hold on to their pith helmets and derby's. We were just like Bass Pros on TV skimming the surface at a break neck speed, unknowing Crappies enjoying their last moments of freedom, here comes Quint.

Oh it was beautiful a captain and his crew skipping free across the water, the sun was low and the light was golden, my hair blew in the breeze, I had arrived. Then it all went wrong, trouble in the forecastle, noise, drama, shrieks of children filled my ears and my feet were getting wet.

What had happened, was one of the kids, either Josh or Joe dressed in those stupid white shoes had kicked the anchor off the front of the boat. It drug along like a giant fish hook until at last it grabbed the solid bottom. This combined with the enormous speed of the boat caused a horrible reaction, the front of the boat dove deep in the water as the rear of the boat lifted towards the sky.

With the motor out of the water the propeller ran wildly and it;s noise was ear shattering. I watched in terror as the two kids on the front submerged to the point all I could see was Joshia's Derby floating on the surface. I watched as the water ran up the side of Roscoes chair, his arm ratcheting the pith helmet down over his ears. Water came up past Roscoe's waist and I finally got control of the run away motor.

As quickly as it happened the boat backed it's self towards the anchor and settled in the water. Equipment and gear floated around us, we quickly fished Jo shies tackle box out of the soup and luckily only lost a few prized lures. Joe's smaller tackle box was gone. Joe wrenched around in his chair and life jacket to give me the evil eye which is a sight I will never forget.

The front blamed the back and the back blamed the front, Rosoce in the middle didn't blame any one, just insisted that it did not happen again. It took us a while to actually figure out what had happened and when we did, the back blamed the front and there was no argument from them. The front nearly killed us all.

The rest of the trip is lost in memory, no Crappies were sacrificed this day, we all made a pact and swore we would not tell our parents, and now, some 30 years later I don't think they know why we all came home wet and never wanted to go fishing again.


At 11:52 AM , Anonymous Big john said...

As I recall you never did get to use the pom poms that you brought along to cheer everytime the men (Josh, Joe and Roscoe) caught a fish.


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