The guys that I fish with like to have a good time on the water and we are always playing pranks on each other. When I say we have a good time on the water everyone that fishes with me understand that is always sans alcohol. No one needs that to interfere with a good time. We seem to be goofy enough without it anyway. Usually the pranks and jokes are a few here and there, but there was a trip this spring that started with an on-going joke and ended up being a day to remember for sure.
Fishing with Jeff and Dan is always interesting. We all have the same sense of humor and get along very well. Last summer we spent a long weekend up at Red River Camps fishing the Hexagenia hatch for native brook trout. Apparently we made plenty of the guests at camp laugh while we were fishing in a canoe together. Fly casting with three in a canoe presented plenty of challenges that we overcame with announcing that we were about to cast. Well that worked for a while until fish were rising all around us and lines were tangled, fish were caught, fish were lost and good natured ribbing abounded.
Well the trip in question from last spring started well enough with a fairly smooth boat ride to the north side of our favorite pike lake. The forecast showed strong winds later in the day so we considered ourselves lucky. That luck turned around when a prank that Dan pulls on me backfired when he finally got Jeff to do it. The idea of Gee Golly came about while we are trolling. Dan stands up like he has a fish that is hitting his line. The pause and hesitation is most important in selling it. Then he yells Gee Golly and pulls on his line like he has a whale on it. Of course there is no fish and he calmly sits down and states that he missed it. We were trolling up the tributary to the lake when Jeff stood up hesitated and pulled back on his fly rod while yelling Gee Golly. We were using floating fly line versus sinking fly line and instead of the line staying in the water it came flying out of the water. I watched as it curled in the air and came down wrapping my brand new fly line around the motor and prop. The guys knew the prank was botched as I shut the motor off and put my head down not really sure what to think at that point.
After getting the line untangled we headed back into the main part of the lake. I was hopeful after the Gee Golly incident that we would have smooth sailing the rest of the day. I was mistaken. As we were trolling a nice pike hit Dan’s lure on his fly line and broke off. By broke off I mean that his floating fly line broke off from his backing line. Dan was shocked, but as it was a floating line it should still be floating on the water. So we backed the boat up and finally found the end of the line floating. As we were pulling the line in we realized that the fish was still on the line. That was a bonus and we did get the line re-attached to Dan’s reel.
I always think that bad things happen in groups of three and that day was no exception. Due to the wind gaining in strength I would many times pass my rod to one of the guys when a fish hit so I could still control the boat. Well a nice pike hit my lure and I handed my rod to Dan to reel it in. Dan handed me his fly rod and as I was quickly reeling the line in a pike hit the lure. While fighting the fish the reel arbor came apart and landed in the water with all of the line. I just looked at both Dan and Jeff and said “How the hell does that even happen?” That was only the beginning of the fun. As we pulled on the line to collect the arbor it would just spin and continue to sink away from us. Imagine thirty yards of fly line and 150 yards of backing line all piled on the bottom of a boat. We finally got the arbor back, but there was no hope for the backing line. We did the best we could and Dan was ready to hang it up for the day. Of course we would not hear that. We pieced together a shorter piece of backing line and put the fly line back on and he was back in the game.
Luckily that was the end of any other mishaps on the water that day. There were many fish brought to net, many more lost, but in the end we all look back and laugh at that day and the time we spent together. Those are the moments we look forward to in the future.