(or maybe I should change that to just drowning worms...)
In a dramatic change from my usual routine, I finally accepted my friend B___'s invitation to go out on his boat. The winds were light (always a plus when maneuvering a 39-foot boat) and the temperature was supposed to only get to 80 degrees F. in the late afternoon, with sun and clouds all day. Perfect boating weather!
So, I pulled out of the house at 7:30 AM, heading down I-96 to I-94. Jesus! This is the first time in a l-o-n-g time I was on the Expressways in morning rush-hour traffic. It was frightening! I was either going 80 MPH or slamming on the brakes. If I left what I considered a safe distance between me and the vehicle in front of me, another car would dart into it!! Altogether an unnerving experience (I am getting so old).
All I took with me was the short-sleeved shirt and long pants I was wearing (its not supposed to be that warm and its always cooler on the water), a swimming suit, a towel, my tackle box and my fishing pole.
I did stop and pick up a six-pack of "Land Shark" beer (a Jake recommendation for a nice summer beer - although I forgot who I was talking to. That six-pack cost almost 2/3 of what I normally pay for a case of Labatt's Blue, which I like).
Anyway, highlights of the trip:
Breakfast was the special in a local restaurant nearby the marina: two eggs over easy, two pork sausage, a small amount of home fries and rye toast.
We got the boat ready. There is a seemingly endless amount of work to prep the boat - removing canvas covers, opening sea cocks, installing the GPS, putting out the life ring, getting the life preservers, (you don't have to wear them, just have them close at hand and these were the latest, high-tech ones - they look like a fanny pack and, in case of trouble, you pull this ring and a mini-air bag blows out the life preserver!), putting the chart up on the flying bridge, warming up engines, removing lines, etc., and we were on the water by 10:00 AM.
We tried two spots where he said the fishing was usually good. The first had a few other boats in it. We tried for about half an hour with no results. We noticed everyone else was leaving, so we did too. In addition to the two dozen worms he brought, we both tried a variety of lures.
Then we went to the shipping channel. Here there were lots of boats fishing, so we anchored and tried again. We tried for at least an hour. The only excitement was the spotting of a tall ship (one of those replicas of 18th century sailing ships) but it was too far away to see clearly.
Early on, he offered to share his sun-blocker, but I pooh-poohed the idea. "I never use the stuff," I said (and I don't). But, sitting on the back of a white boat, in full sun on the reflecting water, I started rethinking that. So, I went inside and got it. Never having used it, I thought you applied it liberally. So, I slathered it on. I thought it would sink in... It didn't...
When I came back out, he laughed at me (it's nice to be able to make your friends laugh, I think) and said I looked like a mangy dog or something. But, that's okay... I'm blocking the sun, right?
Until... the sun started melting it... it dripped all over my pants (black) and the sun made my glasses slip a bit. When I pushed them back up, I smeared the lenses with the crap and the greasy stuff wouldn't wipe off. The worst was when I inadvertently rubbed my left eye. Holy crap that shit stings!!! I spent the next hour or so, blinking, blowing my nose and wiping off the resultant tears.
We finally quit that spot (we never saw anybody else pulling in a fish, either) and went in search of that tall ship (hey, they don't move that fast, right?)
We went up the south channel a ways, but no luck, we went back and looked around (they wouldn't have stayed in the shipping channel, would they?) We finally decided they must have headed east to Ontario and gave up.
On the way back to port (I'm talking like an old salt, already), he asked if I wanted to try fishing one more time, go swimming or just fish in the marina (there were plenty of pan fish there, I saw them). I said let's try fishing once more, so we anchored again in a likely spot. Now, I must point out, he does have a fish finder, but it's installed in the lower helm and we were up on the flying bridge. But, according to established theory, fish like to be around areas where the depth drops from one level to the other (like the shipping channel, where the depth drops from say 10 feet to 33 feet).
So, we dropped the anchor again (I like using the anchor because, when we raise it, I get to sit in the captain's chair on the flying bridge and operate the electric winch, based on his hand signals from the deck - makes me feel like part of the crew).
I started out using a lure with a shiny spinner and immediately got a hit! I couldn't set the hook, but it happened. He was using worms, and something ate his off! Encouraged, I switched to worms with the shiny spinner - another hit! This happened time and time again. I kept asking if he thought I was using too big of a hook or too small. Finally, he caught one! It was about a four inch perch, so my answer was too big. I switched hooks and got a lot of hits (and lost a lot of worms) but never caught anything.
We finally decided to leave and so we pulled up the anchor (love that) and headed home. I noticed my right shoulder was hurting a little.
We were back in the slip by 3:30 PM, sweating our *ss off. The weatherman lied!!! He shut off the sea cocks for the motors and opened the one for the air conditioner. Once that was operating and we'd closed all the windows; he put the canvas on the windshield to keep the sun out. We walked over to the club house (more importantly to the bathrooms) and I tried as best as I could to wash off that damn sunscreen in the sink. I should have brought my shower bag as they do have showers there.
But, cleaned up as best I could, we decided an early dinner was in order. So, we walked across the road to the restaurant. I had perch and onions rings (hey, I may not know how to catch them, but I know how to eat them!) That was more fried grease than I'd eaten in a month of Sundays.
Back on the boat about 5:00 PM, I mentioned I should probably take off. He reminded me it would be rush hour traffic (I forgot it was Friday), so we opened the beer (not bad! Thanks, Jake!) and I watched a montage of photos he's taken on a trip to the west side of the state. It was several towns and places, but the most impressive were Holland, Michigan and the Meier's Gardens (unbelievable - I hope my Mother got there in her lifetime).
Then it was time to button the boat back up. I mostly sat there and directed, LOL! We argued a bit about who was taking what. I wanted the worms and for him to take the two remaining beers. He won. We loaded up our cars and I left there about 6:30 PM.
I noticed my right shoulder was hurting a lot.
Traffic wasn't bad (nothing like the morning) and I got home about 7:45 PM. I didn't treat the cats, I didn't even go upstairs. I shucked my clothes and got in the shower to wash that damn sunscreen off. Finally clean, I threw the clothes and my hat into the washer, started it up and treated the cats (in spite of their complaining).
I lay down on the bed and took a physical inventory. My right shoulder is now throbbing where I had my operation, but I realize why. I spent a total of two or three hours casting that damn fishing line! Note to self: Next time, learn to cast left handed. The tops of my thighs are burning and both knees are shot: Also understandable: Try climbing up and down a five step ladder from the deck to the flying bridge fifteen or twenty times. I haven't even cleaned out my gutters this summer because I know what going up and down the step ladder does to me. And, my face feels tight (although it's not beet red or anything)...
But I had a damn good time!