There are some days that start wonderful. This is the story of what started as a good day and went south.
I asked a rare Dorchester Laughing Hyena to go fishing. I had power steering put on my boat. Compared to the old set of steering cables I had, it was heaven sitting on the trailer while I spun it back and forth with a finger.
Before I put this new steering on my boat it was a tossup who would win the turning contest, me or the boat. Now the rare animal was my friend Charlie Hill who has been in more than one fix with me.
I had picked up the boat Tuesday. I called Charlie and asked him if he wanted to go fishing and he said yes. Wednesday morning I pulled down to the ramp. Charlie got in my truck and backed me in. I started the boat, backed it off the trailer, grabbed the steering wheel and turned left to get away from our dock.
I went right and bumped it. I put it in gear, turned right and made a circle to the left. Charlie came down the hill and looked at me slowly turning right go left, turn left go right trying to get back to the dock.
He begins to laugh and wave directions to me. I was doing the best I could to get back to pick him up. I guess what I looked like driving with the new system was like a monkey high on fermented bananas. I probably looked from his view like a person fighting yellow jackets as my arms were flapping from going one wrong way to the other.
I, like the rest of us, had cut my teeth on driving things that turned right and left. After receiving a lot of advice, I got him in the boat. If you have power steering you can go in a straight line and never touch the wheel; I went to turn away from a boathouse but when I turned the wheel, I had forgot it would go in the opposite direction and almost rammed it but was able to back it away.
Now 70 years of driving habit took over. I was going in a circle angling off in a direction I didn’t want to go and Charlie was laughing like one of those African Laughing Hyenas. He begins telling me how to drive. Well the problem was the boat and I couldn’t agree with his advice on which way to go.
It didn’t want to go where I did. Still laughing he begin to say "turn left, turn right." This new steering doesn’t take much moving to change course. Finally, after driving like a survivor of a seven-day drinking spree, I got us out of our cove. I took off and it got worse — the boat had a mind of its own.
I’d turn the wheel like you should and it went the other way, over-correct and you made another circle. Now what goes around, comes around. I had, in the past, made some smart remarks about new boat owners who had trouble loading and steering their boats. I was passing some striper guides who were fishing and I’m sure they said "look at him, must be a new boat owner."
It’s not easy having to learn to drive all over again. We finished out the day fishing and got back to load up. I’m not going to tell you what kind of show I put on trying to load and fight the wind. Charlie quit waving his arms and laughing as I finally got it trailered and he pulled me out. The boat went back Thursday morning to have the lines changed to make it turn like it should. It was a simple mistake by my mechanic, partly because I was talking as usual and distracted him.
We started fishing and our first three stops only had bites. Charlie had brought his fly rod along and I got my share of laughing watching him make a mighty heave and land 10 feet from the boat. He looked like he was driving a 20-mule wagon train as his rod and line looked like a whip.
Before the day was out, he was really casting much better. The fish weren’t as impressed as I was with his new skill. I caught a fat bass on my Booyah Spinner bait when it came under the corner of a boathouse. Moving down the bank, I got a nice bass on a YUM Breaking Shad off a log in the water.
I got another keeper bass on the Breaking Shad but he was hung in a fallen tree and I kept pulling him up and he would go back down. The poor fish looked like a Christmas ornament as he hung out of the water swinging in a tree. It was another great day to be on the lake with a friend and share an adventure, even if the boat didn’t cooperate. We will go again next week when I can drive the boat like it should run. Stay tuned — things just seem not to turn out right when Charlie and I get in the same boat.
Texoma will have its first Future Bass Tournament this Saturday. I’ll have the results next week. Crappie are the story now as marinas and banks are loaded with people trying to catch those good eating fish. I’m lucky having a baited boathouse to fish in.
Tuesday I had to work for the 11 fish I caught in two hours. I can usually do this in one-hour or less. Eating good in the neighborhood, it took only about 45 minutes from the water to the icebox, then a couple of hours soaking in milk and going in a baking dish. Susan made salads, I boiled some roasting ears and it was as good as fish can get.
Join the Lone Ranger Fan Club and wear a mask; don’t take a chance.