(or: Confessions of a Bonafide Landlubber)
I went fishing on Father’s Day in a fancy lake boat. I have ridden around in bass boats, canoes, & row boats, but I am not an experienced boater by any stretch of the imagination, and this fine boat stretched my imagination.
The vocabulary informed me, right up front, that my ignorance was beyond pretending. Everything said had to be translated to Landlubber-ese. Throw me the line means throw me the darn rope (and that not just shoes have cleats.)
Our intro ride around the lake was lovely. The jade green water reminded me of Superior’s cool depth and white caps. The sky was blue. Birds were swooping across the water. Kids were diving off rocks. (The children did not have life jackets, but dogs did!) Paddle boards were used as a floatation devices, complete with pups. There was a family of canoers, and their adolescents in kayaks, rowing alongside.
It was a great family day on the lake.
We chose our fishing spot and settled down to fish. Looking forward to a picture of myself with a trophy catch, I figured to “free Willy,” and go home to a nice vegan dinner.
My first significant maneuver was to pitch a favorite lure into the lake because, well, how many ways can you tie something on? Apparently, swivels (more new vocabulary) and heavy lures require a doubled-special knot. Who knew?
After an hour or so of fishing, I remembered that my fishing license was still in my purse, back in the truck. I envisioned a Park Nazi swinging by, hoping to net some unsuspecting law-breaker. Since my fishing attention is only an hour (or two, at the most) I put away my gear and enjoyed splashing my feet off the back of the boat (which, I’m sure has its own special name.) For a minute there, I envisioned reruns from JAWS, but I managed to rein in my imagination and enjoy the lovely cool on my tootsies. That sun was hot.
Suddenly, the Capt’n Himself yelped and jerked a lovely walleye out of the drink. To my amaze, the bugger retaliated, and with a flip, buried a hook in The Captain’s left pinky, right by the nail.
I realized, watching him work that hook. that he wasn’t pulling it out, he was pushing it through. I thought I was going to puke. Of course, our nice sterile first aide kit, loaded lidocaine, was hindsight (until now.)
He worked that hook through the meat of his finger himself, because Nowhere in my job description is First Responder. I am not a blood, muscle & guts kind of girl. My initial reaction was to hide under the steering housing and until the horror passed. (My true colors show up at the most embarrassing and horrible times.)
I managed to swallow my gut level reaction and retrieve all the equipment he called for. Incredulously, he had me push the skin down over the hook, so it could pop through. I was reluctant but, at the same time, relieved to be able to help in some small way.
When he called for the dykes (I forget their nautical name), I knew we were getting close to the end. They broke, without cutting the barb off the hook. He was incredulous, I was flummoxed. Would this saga ever end?
Good news, we had another cutter somewhere onboard. While I was busy rummaging through the tackle boxes, looking for it, Fred asked if there was something he could do.
Nudging the walleye with his toe, Fred asked The Capt’n if he wanted to keep it. Not looking at what his dad was talking about, he said, “No.”
Before I could speak up, Fred picked up our only “keeper” so far, and launched it back into the deep, green waters.
As soon as The Capt’n realized that his dad was heaving the the sole ‘keeper’ over, he wailed,”NO!”
OMG! I am still laughing and leaking tears. The stress of the buried hook and working it through the meat of that tender pinky skin really heightened the relief of “freeing Willy.” I found and tossed the dykes at Himself, scuttling to the back of the boat as fast as I could, holding my breath and stiffling my intense need to laugh. Such travesty would surely warrant The Capt’n entertaining the idea of throwing me in after the fish!
Even back there, I could barely keep down the giggles. I hid the tears of mirth by keeping my face averted.
When the drama was over, both men returned to their fishing. I kept myself on the back of the boat; enjoying the soaring herons, the sweet-cooling breeze, and laughing periodically at how the wee drama had unraveled itself. What a surprise ending.
The adventure was not quite over. The white caps enhanced jade coloring, but made for a jarring ride on our way back to the harbor. I refrained from taking pictures, not wanting the phone to get jounced out of my hand. There were times I felt the boat sail out of the water and bang down, with surprising hardness.
The wind was bullying everyone at the harbor, pushing them into each other and the docks. No one loaded at the first go-round. Finally, The Capt’n got his loaded on the trailer – with little help from his assistant landlubbers.
His patience really was amazing.
I’m still not sure how you pull the plug, because by the time we were ashore, I think the Captain of the Ship was exhausted. He recognized that blank look, I’m so proficient at, and just jumped down to do it himself.
I had a great day. It had all the elements of a wonderful adventure: landlubber anxiety, beauty of the elements, watching people and their pets play, drama, and finally humor. Oh, and a lovely, vegan dinner to cap it all off.
It was a great Father’s Day.
How was yours?