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One More Cast

One More Cast

A bad day on the water isn't the same anymore...

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We have all sat around a campfire or at a boat ramp and spoken of the best of times and the worst of times, the good, bad and the joyous. But are you sure that every bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work? I'm just not so sure anymore.
   It all started one Friday afternoon after a hard day's work. I decided I had earned a little break to go fishing the next day. My wife agreed to the terms (I promised to be home early to get some chores done around the house) and woke me that morning at 3:00 a.m. She made me a little snack to take with me and packed some water in my lunch kit.
   Thirty minutes later I grabbed my truck and boat keys, kissed the wife goodbye and went out to unhook the battery charger. While doing so I observed the boat leaning precariously to the right. Further inspection revealed a near-flat tire on that side. No problem, I pulled out the old pump and in 10 minutes was on my way. The smell of the morning air as I headed to the lake did not alert me to the coming surprises or I would have turned around and just gone home.
   The only decent ramp on the lake had increased their launch fee by $2 so I wrote a lengthy explanation on a piece of paper to let them know I'd pay the rest after I fished.
   Now I was on my way, but what the heck? My bow light went out. Shut down the big motor. Jiggle the light. It came back on. Headed off again, light went off again. Another jiggle and I'm finally on my way.
   I got to my favorite spot, turned off the big motor, unhooked my kill switch, removed my life jacket, and eased the trolling motor into the water. I picked up my favorite rod and reel and started to cast but somewhere along the line the last time I'd fished someone had messed with the cast control knob and the rod twisted from my grip right into the water.
   In order for you to understand the next part you have to understand one thing. I look like I'm trying to smuggle a 20-pound rump roast under my shirt. This is important to note because the laws of gravity were also about to come into affect.
   The rod was slowly slipping below the surface of the water not far from the boat so I lay down over the edge of the gunnel and make a last ditch effort to reach it. Got it! Now remember the "roast," because this is where laws of gravity kick in and help me slip over the gunnel and into the lake. But I got the rod. But somewhere in the water are two treble hooks and I've got to get my big behind back into the boat. I push the rod over into the boat and work my way around the front past the trolling motor and back to the big motor. Then I get to the motor and find the cavitation plate with my foot, grab the top of the motor and pull.
   Remember the gravity? After the third try with everything wet, jeans, shirt, tennis shoes, wallet, hat - where's my hat? Oh well, I managed to get back in the boat and adjust my reel. However being wet and having a breeze blow over you can cause you to need to relieve yourself so I lay my rod down and try to take care of business. It's still dark and the boat has drifted to who knows where and is still doing so when it finds the bank. You guessed it. I'm wet again.
   By now I no longer need to relieve myself. I moved to the front of the boat, pick up my rod and troll down to the next boathouse. I made a spectacular cast to the front of the dock and began my retrieve. That lure came right down in front of the dock and came to an abrupt halt. So I set the hook. Damn, it's only a rope dangling beneath the dock! I troll over to it, lay down on the deck, and reach under the water to unhook the lure. Why I was still holding the rope at this point was beyond me, but I did pick up the rod and set it out of the way. As I rolled over on the deck I rolled onto the trolling motor control button. As the boat moved I realized I was still holding that rope. I'm wet again, for the third time.
   For the next six hours I was the most careful fisherman you would ever encounter on any take. I stayed as far away from the edge of the boat as I possibly could. I did not cast toward anything. I did not catch many fish, but I did see a beautiful sunrise and listened to heaven sing through the throats of songbirds, and witnessed the birth of a new day which I would spend with my loved ones.
   As I prepared to head home to fulfill my terms of the bargain with my wife, I thought I ought to go back to my starting hole and give it another try. What the heck right? Maybe things had settled down and Mister Big would be there, waiting for me.
   I shut down the big motor when I got there and crawled carefully to the front deck and held on to the pro pole as I eased the trolling motor into the water. Still holding on to that pole for dear life, I looked across the water and there, low and behold, was my fishing cap just floating on the surface.
   The next time someone tells you that a bad day of fishing is better than a good day working, tell them my story or give them this to read. But I guess it wasn't such a bad day after all. I did get back my favorite hat.

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