With the fourth of July weekend freshly behind us, I am reminded of one of the darker moments in a long and illustrious series of dark fishing moments....
Once upon a time, there was this young energetic outdoors type fella, who burned the recreational envelope to the bitter end. It was not uncommon for this naive- yet spunky- young man to participate in multiple outdoor activities on any given day.
Fishing in the morning would yield itself to mountain biking, or hiking, or berry picking and then followed by the evening fishing du jour. A little grub, a little quenching of the thirst, perhaps a spirited game of cribbage, a short nap and soon it was time again to repeat the previous days repetoire.
Those days are all but a memory now, and yet somehow- like fine wine- the memories ferment and settle, leaving a wonderful vintage of pleasant happenings. However, as afore mentioned, there are some rather embarrassing and somewhat painful times when in his zeal and zest for the outdoor experience, good judgement was cast aside or completely forgotten.
One such instance came upon a nice summer's day--twas the fourth day of the grand month of July--as I recall, when all sense and wits left his self.
A.J.--as we will call our lad-- was invited to a morning's fish on a large and water filled reservoir in the region of Southern Oregon. The ships steward and captain had mentioned that it would be nice to cast about for trout in the morn and then take to the waters of the reservoir for a "skimming upon the surface with wooden planks", of which most refer to- as water skiing.
After a bountiful morning of much catch and frolic,the three jolly pranksters cajoled loudly about the fine and handsome trout which hung from yon stringer. Many a citizen would bow humbly before them and think of them certainly as masters of ther craft.
Now, after a few celebratory quaffs of spirit, the lads were anxious to take to the ever inviting waters of the reservoir, "To the skis, men" harkened the ships captain.
Soon, wooden planks were tossed to the sea, and one at a time the lads took to the water.
Skimming and jumping and showing the versatiles of youth--the lads frolicked immensely.
Thumbs were thrust skyward as the fishing boat, now turned ski boat, gained more power and speed.
Oh what a time it was, the time of our youth--resplendid youth.
Alas, the joy was broken suddenly--when young foolish A.J., queried as to the whereabouts of the days catch.
Were they stored safely in the captains cool locker?
Had they been stowed away in a water filled live well?
Puzzled looks and questioning glares hung over the lads like an Irish fog, it was clear that the bouyant mood had been broken. Accusations flew, and responsibilities were shirked. Swords were ready to be drawn.... had there been any swords.
AND, a good thing there were no swords, for after inspecting the stringer, the very same stringer which had once held the hopes and prayers of a hungry fish camp of merry men and women- it was found that the stringer was now void of fish!!
Nothing but a few gill plates remained.
Much remorse was felt amongst the lads, and a futile but heartfelt retracing of the boats whereabouts was undertaken. To no avail.
The fine and handsome trout had either sunk to the depths of the unforgiving waters of the reservoir, had wound up prey to the many a swift fish hawk that hunted these waters, or were back swimming happily beneath the surface...sans a full gill plate.
A dour feeling hung over the crew, and great shame stood in the place where pride once brimmed so brightly. Candor, and speculation ensued.
Had the fish kept up for a while, hanging on with every bit of there very facial fiber as they slapped across the surface, like little water skiers themselves?
Did they vanish and scatter to the wind upon the first thrust of the boats great motor?
It matters not. For they were gone, GONE, GONE!!
Should there be a need for a moral to this tragic and wasteful tale, let it be known: that if you plan to water ski and fish on the same day, in the same boat --be sure to place your fish IN the boat before transitioning to your next recreational pursuit.
Maybe just maybe if you heed these words, you can avoid the pitfalls of youth like these lads were so unmercifully forced to endure.
A tragic tale indeed...
Author, writer of fishing humor,and "fly tack" peddler.A.J. writes about the people,characters and modern day events that surround the fishing world. His first book is due out in December of 2005.
If you need a laugh or a fun gift, visit his website at: