Well it finally happened; I’m a member of the walking wounded. Last Friday I was fishing with two friends out of Highport. We had a fair day and they pulled up on the bank to let me out.

I jumped out of their boat with my traveling tackle box around my neck and rods in hand. I hit the rocks and they rolled. I felt the twinge as my knee went where it wasn’t supposed to go. By the time I got home it was hurting some and I was walking like Chester on Gunsmoke, so I put up my gear and limped into the house.

Dr. Webb was in and I slapped an ice pack on it, wrapped it like a mummy in an elastic bandage, and took two aspirin. I was injured and headed for my recliner. Nurse Ginger was blocking the hallway laying on an AC vent and she showed no concern for me and my wounds. I got over her, got to my recliner and got my leg in the air. The pain eased some.

Later I got up and could semi-walk. By then from my knee down I was swollen up. Saturday Roger and I put new boards on the courtesy dock. I could squat, lift, kneel and crawl. Dr. Webb said I needed to get a brace and keep icing my knee. Sunday it was lots better.

Monday, I did odd jobs around the house. I felt pretty good so I called Charlie and asked if he wanted to go fishing Tuesday. As in some of my past articles, he and I have talked about burning daylight. By that we mean getting on the water before it gets light. I was at our ramp at 6 a.m. with a lighter and couldn’t find any light to burn. As it got lighter in the east he showed up.

We headed out; fishing was slow. I was in the back of the boat again. A fish hit his Heddon Chugger, which is no longer made but an excellent lure if you can find any. He missed it. Not long after he got another on and it got off before we could get it to the boat. I caught a bream on my Shaky Head. I finally put a small bass in the boat.

We changed banks and he caught another. I missed one and that was it. The sun got higher and it got hotter so I asked if I could drive. We took off enjoying the windy breeze as much as catching fish. We fished a rocky point I like. I caught a striper and a bass that jumped two or more feet out of the water and got off. The hotter it got, the slower fishing was.

I pulled up on a rocky point that had produced some good bass for me in the past. Nothing was going on. We talked about calling it a day when the rock ledge exploded. It was all smallmouth from three-four pounds. We caught five hogs, lost and missed four or five more: being over excited didn’t help much. They were eating my black and silver Rebel Pop R and Charlie’s ancient white with pink ribs Chugger. Every fish we caught and lost were the same size and they were knocking Shad everywhere.

We had some of those big egrets and cranes on shore cheering us on and picking off shad that got close to the bank. This is where the last cast ends. If we hadn’t stayed and moved around, we would never have got in this school of bass. That one event turned a slow day into an unforgettable trip. Never give up and always make that last cast — it might just pay off.

Last week Roger got the pontoon boat cleaned up and we planned on taking a slow ride around the lake noshing on snacks. That’s a fancy word I picked up somewhere for eating chips and whatever others brought with them for the trip.

We put the muffs on the motor before going to check it out. It started and ran like a top. We all met down at the ramp. It was a nice afternoon with a south breeze blowing. I got in the boat, started the motor and backed off; this is a 22-foot boat. He pulled the trailer out and didn’t hear me holler that the steering was froze. It wouldn’t budge. I started it up and that’s when I said to myself, “Houston, we have a problem.”

I couldn’t get back to the dock. The steering was frozen up with a slight angle. It sounded like we were going to fight at any moment. I was yelling; he was yelling; our friends were offering advice and people under the shade tree at our picnic table drinking beer were laughing like hyenas.

I finally worked my way out far enough for the wind to blow me toward the dock. Roger and Jerry were ready with ropes to catch the boat. Let’s say stock roping at a rodeo are in no danger if they are entered. They threw and a rope never got close to the boat. Working my way out I drifted in enough this time to throw Roger a ski rope. They got the boat stopped and pulled over to the dock. Next week I’ll continue this story on the loading part.

The hot weather didn’t bother the 39 teams fishing Joe Copeland’s Future Bass Tournament last Saturday as it took 15 pounds to get in the top five. First was Don McFarlin and Jim Fennell had four fish with 16.61 pounds, second was Charles Jewell and Jerrod Cockron with four fish totaling 16.41 pounds, third was Roger Thompson and Mike Zachery with four fish at 16.08 pounds, fourth was Jeremy Whitson and Eddie Ramsey with four fish at 15.85 pounds and fifth was Stewart Shirey and Todd Rosser at four fish with 15.44 pounds.

The start of school is getting closer and the stripers, and to a lesser extent bass, are popping up all over the lake. Time to take the family fishing. Use common sense: take plenty of fluids and sunscreen and have fun.