A friend of mine recently asked me if I ever had any embarrassing moments that I wouldn’t want the fishing world to know about. Unfortunately, since he was prodding me, I confessed that there was a veritable sea of situations that met this criterion! After careful consideration, I decided that it might be better for me to publicly confess to some lesser stupidities —while I still had the chance to tell my (true!) version.
The big plan last weekend was to get up early, head for San Luis and meet my buddy Andy Bedell for a relaxing striper fishing trip. I was out the door at 5:30 a.m., jumped into the Yukon and turned it on, except it suddenly dawned on me that the darn headlights weren’t working. Great start! In the pitch black, I’m pulling all the fuses and checking them, but after a half hour I finally give up. I call Andy, telling him I have to wait until it’s light enough to go.
Running a good hour-plus behind, I watch as the dim light slowly rises in the eastern sky. But OK, we will still get to fish, I tell myself, as I grit my teeth. It’s about 6:30, just bright enough, as I scream over to pick up the boat and hook it up. If I don’t stop for a bathroom break, I’ll get to the lake by 8:15!
Since I forgot to bring enough food, I decide to call ahead to a Los Banos diner and order a turkey sandwich. I have the stop planned out to the second as I pull up, jump out, run inside and pay. The cashier rings it up, I sign the tab, tell him thanks, then turn and run out to my rig bent on making it on time. As I’m putting the hammer down, about 3 miles up the road, I have this funny feeling. Something is missing? Yes, I had left my sandwich sitting there on the counter! I had a couple of food bars, but maybe today was the day I lost another pound or two, I consoled myself. Dumb, and dumber, I also thought. It was a beautiful day!
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I meet Andy and we head for the launch ramp and back the boat down. I go through my regular prelaunch routine of removing the straps and turning on the master switch. All we needed to do was unhook the front hook, right before we launched. I motioned Andy to back me down when I suddenly wondered if I had truly undone all the straps? Naw, I thought, no need to worry, as the boat slid into the water — at least until it stopped dead. I was sure I had checked them twice.
Looking into the water by the engine, I saw that the starboard strap was firmly attached and getting pulled down hard by the trailer hanging below. I tried hanging over the back to reach the release lever, almost putting my head underwater, when I realize the whole boat is floating off the trailer sideways. I look up, suddenly thinking that I was really happy there were no other boats waiting or launching right then. I could almost hear it: “Hey , you see that stupid guide, Roger, try to launch his boat? What a rube!”
So the boat has floated off the trailer sideways, the strap is hooked to the trailer and being pulled down hard and it’s getting worse! I try getting the boat back on the trailer and straightened out, but can’t get it into position. I decide to get the boat on as best I can, have Andy pull up slowly and hope that even though it’s on kinda sideways that this will let the back of the boat go down as we slowly pull out — and I can unhook it. It worked! Plus, no other boaters had seen my debacle! Unscathed!
Several hours later, we’re catching stripers when Andy says, “You gotta get going now Rog.” What now, I ask. “You’ve got no lights!” Ouch, I forgot! I barely made it home, just as it got dark, and I never got my sandwich either! Alan Autry, thanks for prodding me! Whew, everyone now knows the truth, but it’s off my chest and I already feel better. Never give up!
New Melones trout and big bass bites exciting anglers, John Lietchy said. Don Pedro trout kick into gear, Monte Smith reported. Success bass action improved, Chuck Stokke said. Delta stripers, bass and sturgeon hitting, Randy Pringle reported. Bass Lake trout fishing producing limits, Richard Walter said.