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A rainy day of Jug Fishing


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A couple of years ago we recovered the jugs and fish in the leading edge of a Spring time storm that was arriving a couple of hours after sunup. By using the NOAA weather radio and common sense we got the job done. Fishing had been slow because the lake level was falling. Like many of the outdoors stories that I write, it has a one word title, here is the story:



The ride back to camp after the jug cast and the immediate catching of two good fish as soon as the jugs had been put out, was nothing short of heavenly. It had been just cool enough to wear a wind breaker. The skies were clear and the winds were calm. The burnt orange glow to the west was all that remained of the sunset. It was just one of those special times at the lake. The closer they got to the camp, the slower the conversation became. It was as if secretly, they didn’t want this special evening cruise to end by arriving back to camp.

The moon was already up when the sunlight failed completely and the transition from sunlight to moonlight was a marvelous experience.

As Harm’s Weigh quietly slipped down the inlet towards camp, there was no need for the docking lights, or the million candle power spotlight. The reflective tape on the anchor buoy glowed gently in the moonlight, making the anchoring out process quick and simple. Having lingered out on the lake to savor the beauty of the sunset and moonrise, they had returned to camp later than planned. There was just enough time to catch a quick shower and watch the weather before turning in for the night. The domino game would have to wait for another evening.

The temperature had dropped during the night and they had slept like a rock. It was like that at the lake. The strident alert of the alarm clock came all too soon. Looking out of the door as he let Dillon outside, he noted that the moon had set and it was pitch dark in the campground, except for the awning lights at the neighbors.

There was a spanking breeze coming down the inlet and he could hear the water slapping the hull of the anchored out boats.

Closing the door of the motorhome to keep out the chilly air, he said, “Honey the water’s rough this morning.” She just groaned from the depths of the covers, tugging them up closer around her.

Dillon scratched on the door just as the coffee was finished. Pouring it into thermos jugs and putting the remainder into large stainless steel coffee mugs, they were nearly ready. “Wer’e going to go wipe the boat down”, he said as he went out of the door. Wiping the dew off of the boat was quickly accomplished and he was listening to the NOAA weather radio channel on the marine radio as the friends arrived. “A front is arriving and there will be storms ahead of it, it will get here in about a hour and a half”, he said. Groans of protest followed comments about the bleak morning.

The ladies sat at the very rear of the boat , in front of the sundeck. They had brought a Olive Drab G I blanket to put over their legs. Rough water, very cool air, wind picking up, and a storm coming in soon. It could well prove to be an intresting morning.

Releasing the anchor line, his buddy nodded his head and retreated to the stern of the boat while he flipped the docking lights off. As the engine warmed up and they headed down the inlet, they talked it over. They had no choice, they had to hurry, even though the water was rough, it would soon get much worse as the storm approached. They wanted to be finished picking up the jugs and back at camp when the storm arrived. To be out on the water during a spring storm was not a good thing. Those storms traveled fast and suddenly there could be five foot high swells on the water.

The sun didn’t actually come up that morning. Spray splashed both left and right as they made their way to where the jugs had been cast. Ball caps and windbreakers helped against the chill, but not much. Then, as they saw no jugs in sight, their spirits sank even lower. The dark just slowly became a deep gray as they searched for the jugs. Realizing that the front had prompted a change of direction for the wind they modified their search pattern, crossing the lake to the far side. Arriving in the lee of a large, long rock bluff they found the jugs. All of them ! A unusual thing had happened. They were all togather and two of them were waving. The air wasn’t still, in the lee of the bluff, but it was a wonderful relief from the rough water and cold spray of the open lake. Large, slow, heavy drops of rain began to fall. The leading edge of the storm was beginning to arrive.

They made quick work of picking up the jugs and placing the two fish in the live well. Counting the two fish from last evening, this made four fish for this cast of the jugs. They poured cups of coffee and got out the honeybuns, it had been too rough before, and made a plan. They would take the long way back to camp. Island hopping to stay in the lee of the islands and out of the worst of the swells, he adjusted their speed to match the speed of the wind. Even though they were traveling down the lake at speed there was hardly any wind at all. The swells were following or going the same way they were, and the ride was much improved. There was no spray coming over the bow and they began to dry out somewhat. They had ridden out of the rain that was following them down the lake. Things were beginning to look up. The trip back to camp was much improved over the trip out, though it was somewhat slower.

They decided that the storm was too close to start cleaning fish, so they put them in the floating live box that was anchored out a ways from shore. That made four good ones in the box now.

As the guys made the boats ready for the approaching weather, the girls readied the camp. They were standing under the screen tent as the guys came up from the shoreline. You could tell that they had something on their minds. As they walked up they broke the news to the men. “You guys are taking us to the restaurant in Daisy for breakfast, after we change into dry clothes !”

Even a poor weather day at the lake is a fun day.


This photo, taken in better weather, shows the "live Box" anchored out near Harm's Weigh.

I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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