River Adventures

Saturday morning, for the first time in ages, I took a few hours to fish. Either I’ve had a speaking engagement or some other obligation or extremely bad weather since early March. It was also the first time I took out my new-to-me but very old and used boat, an old 17-ft Crestliner Angler with a 90hp and 15hp kicker motor, typical ND/MN walleye rig.

Turns out taking the boat out for the first time each season is an adventure, or so I’m told, especially as motors haven’t been run all winter. Even with a tuneup…

Was good pulling out of the driveway; unlike a prior excursion, I managed not to run into the side of the garage with the boat. And that’s not nothing, as my wife would tell you. Got onto the water OK as well. But then, adventure.

The 90hp motor worked, but it was temperamental. Wouldn’t run at speed, and then would rev real high, as if it popped out of gear. Got over to our first fishing spot opposite the dock, and got stuck in 1ft of water. So my eager companion (we’ll call him Chris Hanson, for that is his name) jumps out of the boat to push. Which is great, until he finds himself in about four feet of water, the riverbed having dropped off towards the deep channel. But he lived, even if he was drenched.

Drove a couple miles south to what’s called the rifle range, MacLean Bottoms. Big hole there where the walleye usually play. Anchored, fished, caught nothing. Guys next to us got a couple small walleye and for sturgeon, of all things. They tried to leave, but neither of their anchors would come up, so they ended up cutting the ropes after an hour of struggling. Then a second boat did likewise. We couldn’t get our anchor up either, so I revved the motor and hit it hard.

News flash: Shouldn’t do that, because you risk putting the boat under water if the anchor doesn’t come loose. (Simple physics, really.) Having not pitched Chris into the river a second time, we thought severing a rope the better part of valor and lost the anchor.

Fished some more, caught nothing. Nobody else did either, really. But a great day to be out on the water, in spite of a few moments of adventure.

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