Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
January 24th, 2005

The Study Break
By Frank Reid

My wife took the kid to work with her to leave me some peace and quiet so I could study. That Masters stuff was tough and I needed all the study time I could get. They left out the door at 11:30, at 11:40 I had the pontoon boat in the venerable fishing car, along with a selection of rods and new flies to try out.

Got to the lake by noon. There was a bit of a wind picking up but not too bad, about 10 to 15 knots. I filled one bladder on the pontoon boat and while starting to fill the other, the wonderful, new car-battery-powered inflator crapped out. No worries Mate, I had a small hand pump for just such emergencies.

Unfortunately, I forgot the old trick of "try it at home first stupid." Pump, pump, pump.. gasp, gasp, gasp. It was like powering the QEII with a Briggs and Stratton.

After trying to beg a few shots of pure O2 from the paramedics having a picnic there (no dice), I was ready for another attempt. But first, I tried to convince them that I could fill the thing up with all that extra oxygen on the ambulance. Again, a big no.

As an analyst, I sat back and surveyed the situation, ran a Franklin T and chucked the whole damn thing back into the wagon. I would just fish from the bank.

This unnamed lake contained some state record size smallies that were stocked in there the previous year. I'd caught 4 in the 1 to 3 lb range earlier in the week in the shallows with a crawfish pattern. The water was very low and all the shore structure was revealed. I went to a point and climbed out on to an old, 3-foot-diameter cement culvert pipe to see if I could spot any fish in the shallows. I did see some movement about 20 feet away but couldn't tell if it was bass, carp or drum.

I cast to the spot with an unweighted size 14 nymph and stepped back. As I checked my footing I heard a muffled crack that I also felt through my feet. My movement must have broken loose the pipe from its position (it was just there as fill cement) and I immediately started an ESPN quality log rolling demonstration. The pipe started to spin down the side of the point and the water was coming up fast. With about 6 inches of pipe left above the water it finally stopped. Outdoor Games, here I come! I decided discretion was the better part of valor and attempted to vacate my post. I was thankful that I'd been wearing my new water shoes as opposed to my old clodhoppers. Gave me a much better feel as that monster rolled under me. I stepped off the pipe and the rock I stepped on rocked under my foot and I dropped straight down, straddling that culvert pipe like a bull rider.

Since I was wearing shorts, I immediately discovered what cement can do to the inside of your thighs. I also killed a ground squirrel when that disk went shooting out of my spine. I did find out that bone is actually harder than cement, because my tailbone imbedded itself in that culvert like a well placed piton.

By this time, the paramedic picnic crew was starting over to check on the old fart nailed to the pipe like a congressman on pork. I waved them away and stood up smiling. Well, at least I thought it was a smile, but probably looked more like the grimace of a rabid baboon. I finally got to my feet and moved to more secure ground.

During this whole thing, I still had my line in the water and noticed that it was moving of its own volition. I had a fish on the line and a fight on my hands. It wasn't moving that fast so I figure it was a drum.

I got the fish on the reel and fought it in. Turned out to be about a 14 inch catfish.

I got him up by my feet and reached into my vest for the pliers. At this instant, the little S.O.B. flipped over and spiked me in the ankle.

Gosh, I'm glad I was wearing my new water shoes as opposed to my old clodhoppers. My old clodhoppers would have stopped that little @$#%^& and allowed me to stomp it into fish meal. As it was, I reached down and unhooked the wretch and flipped him back in the water.

Again, the analyst in me took over and I sat back (well stood back, as sitting was out of the question), and surveyed the situation. Less than 15 minutes at the lake, my boat half inflated, compressor needs Viagra, hamburger meat for thighs, tailbone snapped with the Berlin Wall stuck to my butt, S shape of spine reversed, festering wound in ankle, one fish caught.

Then again, one cast, one fish. Makes the day a success in my book. ~ Frank Reid

About Frank:

Born and raised in Southern California, my mother taught me to love fishing. I would fish from the piers around Los Angeles as all my friends hung out on the beach. At age 19, I joined the U.S. Air Force to see the world and liked what I saw, so stayed in for 23 years, finally retiring in 2000. I've lived and fished all over the US and the globe, from the deserts of California to the Philippines, Germany, South Korea, England, beautiful Omaha, Nebraska and about 1,000 other places in between. These travels taught me to fish for whatever happens to be in the local water. I now work in the Baltimore area as a computer consultant trying to earn enough to buy that next new rod or go on that next trip. My wife is Brenda (who's quilting addiction rivals my fly fishing/tying obsession) and we have two lovely daughters. ~ FR
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