SOME TRIPS MORE MEMORABLE THAN OTHERS
I have no idea how many times I have been asked by good friends that I occasionally fish with, “When are you going to put all of the crazy things that have happened on past guide trips on paper.”My pat answer has always been, “What happens in the boat stays in the boat.”
The incidents most re-visited over the years range from, “You’ve got to be kidding?” to downright amusing and all are best left for whiling away otherwise boring periods of very little fish catching.Last week, one of the guests of a client I have fished for years, asked if I remembered him when he was introduced.
“Do you remember the little boy that hooked you in the butt with a topwater on Toledo Bend,” he asked.“I am that same kid….Jacob Swire. I cried all night long.” Now, a chemical engineer with two kids of his own prompted my asking, “Do your kids fish?” “They love it,” he replied.
Jacob was five years old when his dad lifted him over the side of my boat for an afternoon of chasing school bass.The school bass were indeed doing their thing, but we were greeted with a full measure of a 102 degree day as we idled away from the shaded boat stalls.
We had yet to reach the boat lane and the freckled face youngster had already downed one of the two bottles of root beer his Dad felt he might need for an afternoon of fishing.I was not sure how he equated his six pack of beer with two bottles of soda, but I knew I could cut the trip short if necessary.
The lake was as flat as a mirror and the bass were schooling in every direction. This was back in the day when the majority of the bass were keepers and there was very little boat traffic.The only flaw in the perfect scenario was that Jacob had no idea how to cast any kind of rod.
Rather than stop long enough for me to help the youngster get started, Dad insisted that I stay on the troll motor as he didn’t want to waste a minute of his allotted time and Jacob could just net his fish.That was fun for two bass and the last bottle of soda.
“Jacob is going to learn to fish or we going in and I will waive the fee,” I thought to myself as I watched him wedge into the limited shade of the console.
After assuring his Dad that we would fish all the way to dark, we began to practice and eventually Jacob could at least reach the surfacing fish.It was bound to happen.After secretively pausing for a few quick gulps from a gallon jug of water I had stashed in my rod locker, Jacob inadvertently fired a cast that crossed his Dad’s line.
“Throw on the other side of the boat,” he was instructed and the results of doing exactly that were inevitable.The rear hook on his Near Nuthin’ lure lodged in my own rear and his rod came to an abrupt stop.Tears of fear exploded from his eyes as he traced his line down to my behind.He stood motionless awaiting the worst.
I quickly clipped his line off at the tip of the rod and motioned for him to just sit down and act as if nothing happened.I then announced that I needed to go to the shore for a quick bathroom break.Because I could only reach it with one hand and the hook was through my shorts as well, I had but one option.
After breaking the 12 pound test line on consecutive jerks, I doubled the line, tied it to the nearest small tree and took the plunge with great trepidation. After fashioning a semi-efficient bandage from one of my pockets, I retrieved the lure and headed back to the boat.
By choice, Jason was though for the day save helping finish off my jug of water. Dad was elated with an afternoon of fishing with his son.Jacob, however, did not join him in the picture taking.
The following morning I invited him and his twin sister to join me on a bream fishing excursion.We drank rootbeer sodas until we were sweating rootbeer and caught a box of fat bream.I moved to another Marina shortly after that and never got the Christmas card that he sent the following year.
“It’s about thirty years late,” he said while wrapping his arm around my shoulders, “but you made a little boy very happy and I want to officially thank you.”“You are more than welcome,” I replied.“I hope you didn’t bring any Near Nuthins with you!”