Falling Out of a Boat
Most of my experiences involve fishing equipment and boats. One of the most embarrassing and expensive was when I flipped a rod and reel over the side when I picked another one up, grabbed for the one in the water and fell out of the boat. My first action when I got my head above the surface of the lake was to look around to see if anyone was watching. I felt foolish.
Then I got a little scared. I could not get back in the boat. I wished someone was around laughing at me - they could help me! I finally managed to get in and was lying on the deck, trying to recover my breath and thinking about the $200 outfit I lost when I realized I had been wearing $300 prescription bifocal sunglasses. "Had" being the key word.
Rods and Boat Cleats Don't Work Together
Several years ago I was fishing at Clark’s Hill and decided to try another lure. I put down the rod I was using and picked up my favorite six foot spinning rod. At least it was a six footer up to that point. The rod was under a cleat on the side of my boat and as I picked it up it crunched. Rods don’t bend like that. I wrapped rope under all cleats on that boat and kept it there as long as I owned it.
Know Your Equipment
Four years ago I got my current bass boat with a Yamaha motor. The first time I put it in the water was in the Ohio River for a Bass Federation Regional Championship. The first day of practice I had run way up a small creek and fished for about an hour. When I got ready to go I turned the key and the motor warning buzzer went off.
I had no idea what was wrong. I checked what little I knew to check and everything seemed fine, but as soon as I turned the key on the buzzer went off. Fortunately, I had cell phone service and I called the salesman back in Atlanta I bought the boat from and told him what was wrong. He was asking me all kinds of questions and I turned the key and the buzzer went off.
He immediately said "Hook up your kill switch, you idiot."
With other boats I had learned when I tried to crank the motor and it just turned over without firing up the first thing to do was to check the kill switch. None of my previous boats ever had a buzzer go off when the kill switch was not hooked up. Sure am glad my cell phone worked - if not I probably would have been stranded for hours trying to get back to the main river and get help, and no telling how much it would have cost me to get towed in.
Check Simple Things
A long time and about five bass boats ago Jim Berry and I fished a club tournament at Lake Sinclair out of my 15-foot Pro Craft. The week before the tournament I had to put a new starter on the motor but the morning of the tournament the boat cranked fine. We ran up to the mouth of Crooked Creek, several miles from blast off, and fished for about an hour.
When we got ready to try another place I hit the switch and the starter just spun, it would not catch. We fooled with the motor but had no luck getting it started. Our only option was to fish our way back using the trolling motor. It took us the rest of the tournament, about seven hours, to get in and we didn‘t catch much.
After weigh-in I pulled the cover off the motor and tried it. One of the club members standing near it said "Your bendix is spinning but not jumping up to engage the flywheel." I put a screwdriver under the bendix, popped it loose from the little bur on the shaft that was not letting it slide up and engage, and it worked. I used that motor for several years with no more problems, but it sure messed up that tournament.
Don't Forget Your Key
This issue of Bassin’ Times magazine tells of a pro Jason Quinn fishing the Elite Series Tournaments. Those tournaments have a first place prize of $250,000 and most pros have a routine they go through each morning to mentally prepare for the day’s fishing. The first morning of this tournament Quinn drove the 15 miles from his motel to the ramp, put his boat in the water and, when he started to unlock his compartments with all his tackle in them, realized he had left his key back in his motel room. There was no way to get his tackle out with out the key.
Rather than getting rods and reels ready for the day and thinking about fishing he had to drive 30 miles round trip, in a big hurry, to get his key. I am sure that messed up his whole day. It would have played with my mind.
I am glad to be in good company when I think ‘Why did I do that?"