A Goodbye Says Hello
May 8th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified May 8th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
The old dock whinedfrom the pressure as we took those early morning steps towards theboat. There it sat, tied up and still as could be, waiting. I recall mytired mind finding a resemblance between the boat and a rodeo bullwaiting for it’s rider in the pen and I let out a little laugh.
“What”? Asked James.
“Nothing. The boat’s like a bull.” I replied. James just shook his headas if to silently say, “You need to get to sleep earlier”.
We tidied up our equipment, wiping off the seats and arranging ourtackle like we were in a race to the finish line, but the lake was calmand only one boat skirted the Eastern shoreline. It was one of thosemornings where everything seems in place, patiently waiting for yourarrival, yet we always seem to be in a rush. Call it soaking up everyminute or consider it more of a fear that if we had gotten to our spotone minute sooner, maybe that first cast could have been the glorifier.
Speaking of first casts, as we slid into position over a shallow flatthat had some early weed growth, I hadn’t even dropped the trollingmotor before James had already made his first cast. I always make alittle 10 yard pitch to wet my line before firing away, but Jamesthought his callused thumb could withstand the burn of dry line – Hecouldn’t!
I think I probably poked a little fun at him, while I watched him wince, but the joke wouldn’t last long.
“Twitch, twitch-twitch, pause. Twitch, twitch, twitch – BAM!”
“Oohh, there she is!! I got ‘er – I got ‘er?” James exhausted.
I rushed to extend the handle on the Big “K” and excitedly awaited thefirst glimpse. By the tension on the rod and the angst in James’ voiceand breath, images ran through my mind of what this thing would looklike. That’s when I saw it – a 26″ pike rolled just within reach of thenet and James slid his trophy home. This is one of those moments whereyou contemplate the high-five. There’s that little bit of awkwardnessthat inevitably deflates your lungs for a moment, before the boatsettles down and everything returns to homeostasis.
I didn’t say too much about it, hell, I’m no virgin to that kind ofhumiliation, but I won’t say that I didn’t throw a goofy smile his waythe next time we made eye contact. We were on a mission as always whenwe’re on the water, but hours and hours shared in a little vessel callfor a little humor once in a while, and I think this day was gettingoff to a good start.
The sun was higher now and a light breeze created the ideal chop tobreak up the surface. We decided to head to a little piece of structurewe had aqua-viewed some cribs and thought we’d do a little bulldawging.I eased the throttle down and soon we were cruising, ounce by ounce weburned fuel as we chased victory from this solo race. In a moments timeI turned my head towards James to share my enthusiasm for our next spotwhen all of a sudden my H2Optics decided to leave the nest and learnhow to fly. Good thing James had an extra pair, but I couldn’t help butwonder why that had to happen to me.
We fished and fished, till that common bruise was painfully growing onour upper ribs that any seasoned musky fisherman is familiar with. Thatrod wedged under your armpit and the constant cranks, rips, sweeps andjerks really start to make an impact on a musky fisherman’scomfortability. We had raised a few, rolling one at the end of a castwith a big ‘ol Suick, and now we were on our last pass over a spot Ihad scared a big fish off by trying to tell her how big she was.
Just before we wrapped things up, I drew a lucky card. Let me tell you,when that fish broke the surface and my skepticism was relinquished,everything relaxed for a while. I’m sure I was all over the boatfollowing that that fish around. I probably started talking inincomplete sentences, making references to how big I thought she was,”She’s going 45. . . Maybe 44. . . I bet she’s 43 right on the head. .. What do you think, 42?”
The fish measured 41.75 inches, but a prize none the less. I held her upfor some pictures and completely forgot until now, as I write this, thepain of losing those glasses. I think that’s part of why I love muskyfishing so much. In the same instant I subconsciously said goodbye tomy favorite pair of expensive glasses, and hello to a brief, yetpriceless encounter with that musky.