Fishing Can be a Blast
Fishing can be a blast. Believe me, I ought to know. I've been there, done that. I even have witnesses to attest to that. I possess a variety of interests, some active, some passive, some mundane and some downright intense but zeal for some of these interests has often channelled me into some rather bizarresituations. Fishing is one of those “masculine” activities that I became hooked on when I got that first tug on my line on my first cast into the lake. From that moment on, I was more hooked than any fish that bit my line.
My husband, however, did not share my enthusiasm for the sport, so quite often he stayed in the camper and watched television while I went fishing alone. He would help send me off though; helping me load my gear into the boat, then give the boat a shove and I would be on my own. I often attracted the attention of male fishermen, a lone female, sailing off alone to sit there by myself waiting for that exciting tug on my line that told me I had a fish. I didn’t care. I liked it that way. Both John and I were doing what we enjoyed most, different, to be sure, but what did that matter?
There were times though that my adventures were not quite as private as I would have liked though. At that time we owned a 12-foot Lund boat - not a bad boat, no floors so you had to balance yourself on the slippery slopes of the Aluminium V bottom but you got used to that. No problem. It was the motor that was the problem. It was one of those old fashioned jobbies - four- horsepower with a small gas tank mounted right on the motor.
Nowadays that would be illegal from a safety standpoint to have a tank mounted on a motor but back then, they did make them like that and we did own one! This was probably about 1982/83. How old the motor was, I have no idea. We bought the boat and motor second hand, therefore, for all I know, it could have come across with Christopher Columbus!
Anyway, it was a lovely day and I was determined to go fishing. John, as usual, opted to stay indoors which I though was a terrible waste of a beautiful day but I never start an argument I have no hope of winning. As we had done before, he helped me load up the gear, then gave the boat a shove and I was off. I paddled a few yards away to get into deeper water then went to start the motor. I pulled on the rope a few times but it refused to fire.
“Pull the choke out,” John shouted from the shore and I obeyed. I pulled the rope again, still nothing. I wouldn’t give up and I kept pulling that rope again and again but the motor remained obstinate. After awhile, I could see some gas leaking from the fuel line but the motor did little more than grunt indifferently.
“Now close the choke before you flood it,” John yelled and I complied. Once more, I yanked at the rope and finally the thing sputtered to life but as the motor finally fired, I saw a spark strike the fuel line and the leaking gas ignited. Alarm bells slashed through my brain. As I watched the hungry flames licking their way around that gas tank, I knew instinctively that the heat from that fire was going to blow that little tank of gas sky high and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I had no place to run. Not a good swimmer normally, I knew I’d be hopeless in fishing duds. Grabbing the oars, I started paddling furiously towards an island nearby, fighting against time with every muscle in my body.
In the meantime, John had started off towards the camper as soon as he heard the roar of the motor, so he did not realize what was happening to me on the boat until a group of weekend holidayers noticed my predicament and started a commotion.
Someone from that audience offered what he though was a helpful suggestion. “Put a blanket over it.”
“I have no blanket”, I yelled back.
I wanted to add “I came here to fish, not to sleep,” but I was too busy paddling towards safety to bother. I seemed to be making no progress in getting closer to the island and those flames had that motor in a bear hug. I knew it was only a matter of seconds before that tank blew. I was about to take a dive into the water and take my chances when something clicked in my head about why I could not paddle to that island. Was I beached? I dipped an oar into the water. I was on a sandbar! Without wasting another moment, I stepped over the side of the boat into the shallow water and clambered towards that island.
Just as my feet touched dry land I heard a terrific BOOM behind me. I looked back to see a huge mushroom shaped cloud of black smoke shoot up into the heavens. Back on the shore, my audience had multiplied to observe in awe, the finale of my adventure. I stood alone on that island, shaking like a leaf, as I watched the fire consuming whatever fuel was left after the explosion ripped that little tank apart. Eventually it burned itself out and the boat lay there forlornly in the shallow water like a beached whale, the charred remains of the motor hanging over the back like a wounded leach.
There was not a sound coming from the opposite shore as the stunned crowd remained rooted in their tracks. My own brain was in shock, unable to process what had just happened.
Then noisy shouting erupted from that astounded crowd that had witnessed the incredible spectacle. My brain was blank, non functional and their noise was abrasive and intrusive. It jarred me to consciousness. I knew the boat was beached. I knew that the fire was out. I knew I could walk to the boat, push it off the sandbar and paddle it to the main shore. So with a tremor borne of intense shock, I stepped into the water, got in the boat and paddled back.
I understood little of what the people said to me when I got there. I didn’t want to hear their opinions about caution or conduct. For one thing, I had no intention of repeating this adventure, and for another, their advice or criticism was too late to be of any use to me anyway. Their comments were unimportant because I knew that, adversities or not, fishing, for me, was, and always would be, a blast and as soon as we got a new motor for that boat, I’d be out there fishing again. The very next day, we drove to town and, after a few inquiries; we were able to purchase another motor, - more modern - with a totally detached gas tank this time and, I still love fishing!