Backup plans

Every Elite Series angler you talk to will tell you about the importance of having a backup plan. Usually they’re talking about a pattern on a tournament lake or an alternative way to catch fish. This week I had an experience that shows us the importance of having a backup plan in other aspects of our fishing, specifically our tow vehicles.

Before we get into the details, however, I need to remind you that I’m somewhat frugal when it comes to my fishing. (Some would say cheap, and they would say that applies to everything I do. I disagree, sort of.) My tow vehicle has something like 180 thousand miles on it. I know that’s way past the point of replacement.  Nevertheless, it still starts and, until last week, it towed my boat just fine.

Anyway, I was coming back from Richmond when the trouble started. I thought I felt the transmission slipping a little. As the miles went by it got worse and worse until it reached the point where I had to pull over and let it cool down.

I finally made it to Columbus. I thought I had it made. But, about two stop signs before my house, it totally quit. The darn thing wouldn’t move at all. Mind you, this is on a Saturday night and I have to be in La Crosse to prefish the Mississippi River on Monday morning.

Normally that would be a problem. It’s pretty hard to get your hands on a new truck late on a Saturday night. But thanks to a little preplanning on my part, not to mention an understanding wife, I had a backup vehicle waiting for me.

You see, a couple of years ago Tracey needed a new vehicle. The one she had wasn’t getting the job done anymore. I had the foresight to talk her into a big SUV with a complete towing package. It cost a little more at the time but I figured it might come in handy someday. It did.

All I had to do was call her, tell her where I was and switch vehicles when she arrived. Once I had all my tackle and traveling supplies switched to her SUV I was good to go early on Sunday morning. The whole thing didn’t take more than a couple of hours.

The only thing left for me to do is to convince her that being without a vehicle for a few days is a small price to be paid for marrying me. Ha, fat chance!

I want to mention something else, too. I can’t tell you how many guys who were fishing the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open passed me on the road and saw that I was having trouble. Every one of them — to a man — slowed up, rolled their window down and asked me if I needed help. I didn’t. But if I had, their assistance would have been worth its weight in gold.

Thanks to every angler who gave me a shout. It’s nice to know that in a pinch we can count on our fellow competitors to help us out.

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