The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 24, 2012

Ken Maurer column: Up a river without an outboard

By Ken Maurer
For The Daily Item

— Even though tomorrow is the traditional opening day of deer season, I’ve decided to write about fishing again. I’ve had some good days on the water this fall, but I just got done with what was a substantially less-than-perfect day on the water.

Oh, it started out well. The weather was beautiful and I had a new client. The fishing has been good and I could hardly wait to get him on the water for some good bass and walleye fishing.

Now for some history. The last time out my outboard got a little cough just as we were quitting. She’s been perfect for me, so she went to the shop for a look-see.

No problem, they said.

The innards of the primer bulb had come apart and pieces were blocking the gas flow.

Back to the story. We launched the boat and headed to spot No. 1. She (the outboard) ran perfect as usual. We anchored up and plumbed the depths for some walleye. We had a couple of short strikes and lost fish, you could tell they weren’t quite in the mood. I decided to head to a bass spot, planning on returning to the walleye spot when the sun started to set.

Well, we didn’t make it very far. She died. The current was pretty strong and I couldn’t get back upriver with 55 pounds of electric motor thrust. Anchors away, and there we sat. We weren’t far from the launch, but we were hopelessly downstream of it.

She (this she is my wife) is going to be mad at me, but she lost my cell phone. Thankfully my client had his along, so after umpteen phone calls, we had help coming.

Two of my friends, Gary and Dale, brought Gary’s boat to tow me in. Dale would have brought his, but it had a flat tire. In the meantime, and thank heavens, my son-in-law Darrell was bringing his boat also. We watched from a distance as they tried to launch Gary’s boat. Something was wrong, but we were too far away to see what was going on. It turned out that Gary’s boat wouldn’t start. That wasn’t all. His trailer came off the ball, denting the tailgate of his pretty truck. Thank heavens the safety chains held. And of course, they forgot to put the drain plug in. While they were trying to figure out what to do, Darrell pulls up with his boat. They finally got things squared away and Darrell launched the rescue effort.

Of course, not wanting to be let out of the action, he forgot his drain plug, too. Back up the ramp, drain the boat and back at it. The rest of the rescue went well, he towed us back with no problems. Loading a boat onto a trailer with no power isn’t fun or easy. Dale walked right in the cold water with his sneakers to help me load the boat. Thank you, Dale.

Then we transferred my fishing tackle into Darrell’s boat and headed out to try to salvage some fish before the sun went down. Darn fish. They wouldn’t cooperate any better than my motor. We had a couple more short strikes and lost fish, then the sun was gone, the cold set in and it was time to quit.

My client, bless his soul, took it all in stride. We agreed that I had some good friends. It was a good day, anyway. No one got hurt (except Gary’s truck), and we all lived to fight another day.

As I’ve often said, you never know what’s going to happen in the great outdoors!

Email comments to kenrose@tds.net.