It would be great if each of us as anglers had some way to continue our fishing education, so that we didn’t have to go through the regular painful learning curves. I find that “delayed intelligence scenarios” are tough, and I always hope I’m not going to have to repeat them too many times before I get it. Looking back, it’s evident that if I had just listened to that tiny little voice inside my head sooner, I would have been better off. Here are some examples.
That sinking feeling – You are halfway up the lake and the boat is feeling sluggish, but you keep on going, ignoring the obvious signs even though that darn nagging feeling persists. That’s when your young son sitting behind you taps you on the shoulder and inquires about the water, sloshing back and forth, that’s slowly covering his ankles. Irritated, I now notice the shiny bilge plug hanging right where I put it last trip! Then the second wave of realization! It’s the dead of winter and the water is about 50 degrees, you’re slowly sinking and the bilge hole is sitting way below the I/O engine – 2½ feet below the surface.
Yes, it was a very cold swim. I can tell you I also had the fear of God put in me to not lose that plug as I carefully screwed it in while underwater. The little voice wouldn’t quit yelling at me … saying unfair stuff like, ”Stupid!”
A bump in the night (or day) – In that split-second before you hit the protruding boat hitch with your shin, you momentarily flash back to the last time it happened. You swore (literally) that you would never do that again. Those crazy indents permanently embedded in my shin always remind me of my lack of focus when I’m in a hurry. (However, I take great comfort from the fact that other anglers seem to have done this as many times as I have!)
Walking around the back of any truck/SUV sets off all my subconscious alarms these days! I’ve come close several times recently, but some kind of primal survival urge seems to kick in and throw me to the side at the last minute. “He” takes credit!
High and dry – It’s a hundred degrees out and you take great care to make sure that the chest is full of ice cold drinks. You’re ready for the trip! Reaching the lake, you rush to launch your boat, fire up the engine and get into the hyperspace mode. There’s just something you can’t quite pinpoint. You are a good 10 miles from the dock when you reach for a drink and the cold reality hits! The chest is still sitting in the truck!! No!!!
The crazy thought that you might be able to somehow survive till dark without any fluids crosses your conflicted mind, momentarily anyway. The 20-mile round trip just to get back to where you are right now is a stupid slap in the face. The ridiculous thing: I did it three times … in one season!! (Yes, now I always carry at least a few bottles of water; hot is better than nothing!) There’s my little voice again, saying,“Don’t you learn? You did it again, I tried to tell you!”
Guilty as charged – You’ve come home from a great fishing trip, dirty, tired, smelly and battle worn, when you suddenly realize your spouse’s thermostat is at least 30 degrees colder than when you left. Why? What did I do wrong?? The little voice is back to explain, “Yes, you have screwed up – again!”
The charges: Count 1 – I never told her I was going fishing. Count 2 – Never said where I was going. Count 3 – When would I be back? Count 4 – You left without saying goodbye or leaving a note, much less without a kiss! I pleaded guilty on all charges (with extenuating circumstances because of a severe case of fishing fever-fueled amnesia). I find it’s usually a good two-day freeze before things start to thaw.
She claimed it was temporary insanity. Rather than defend myself, my “friend” reminds me to shut up and keep quiet. Good advice. Hey, I’m learning!
Yep, I really did every one of those stupid things! The “little voice” told me to tell you so! Never give up!