First fishing trip with the girlfriend

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Brandon Card

Brandon Card

Tennessee’s Brandon Card, who competed for the University of Kentucky, is the first Bassmaster College Series angler to qualify for the Elite Series.

Anna has been asking me to take her fishing for a long time, but we haven’t really had any opportunities because she works on the weekends when I normally fish. I also fish on rainy days because I can’t landscape in the rain. Last Wednesday was one of those rainy days, and Anna wanted to go. I told her that it would be really wet and really cold (rain all day and a high of 50), and we should wait and try to go when it was nice out. She would not take no for an answer, so I finally gave in.

We arrived at the ramp around 8 a.m., and the rain was pouring down. We got out and suited up for the rain. I put on my high-dollar Gore-Tex® rainsuit and Gore-Tex boots. She put on her pink rainjacket (no waterproof pants) and her $5 pair of plastic rain boots.

After that, I got the boat ready for launch. I took the transom saver and the tie downs off the back and unhooked the front strap(s). I asked Anna if she would go ahead and get in the boat so I could launch her with the boat. She declined and said she would get in after I pull it up to the bank. I say “suit yourself” and got in the truck and backed the boat down the ramp, as she watched from the bank.

I backed the boat into the water, and hit the brakes and the boat floated off the trailer and out toward the middle of the lake. I got out of the truck and thought about jumping in and swimming after it, but the 48-degree air temp made me reconsider. I stood there at the water’s edge watching helplessly as my boat floated farther and farther away. I looked up at Anna, and she asked, “Was that supposed to happen?” as she laughs. Embarrassed, I respond by saying, “Yep, a professional bass fisherman doesn’t even know how to launch a boat! This is only the second time this has ever happened.” She says, “Well, I’m glad that I get to witness the second!”

Let’s rewind a little, and let me explain what I did wrong. I have two straps on the front of the boat. One is connected to the winch that actually ties down the front of the boat. The other is a loose strap that I use when launching the boat by myself. It lets the boat float off the trailer a couple feet but keeps the boat tied to the trailer so it doesn’t float away. I must have not been thinking and unhooked both straps when I was getting the boat ready for launch.

As the boat was floating away, I tried to think of a plan. I knew that there probably wouldn’t be any other fisherman launching since it was during the week. I thought about calling some of my friends to see if they could help, but my cell phone was in the boat. I thought about going to nearby homes to see if anybody could help, but most of the homes are vacation homes and are vacant this time of year. I noticed that the wind had picked up, so my plan was to wait until the wind blew the boat across the lake to the other shore and then we would drive around the lake and hike down the bank to get it.

We waited, waited and waited. After an hour of watching my boat float, it looked like it was getting ready to touch the bank on the other side of the lake. We drove down these narrow little back roads to get to the other side. After a few minutes, we made it to the other side and found the boat sitting 30 feet from the bank. Unfortunately, it was heading back out to the middle of the lake as the wind changed directions.

By this time, I was getting a little perturbed, so I started going up to random homes to see if anyone was home. After several houses, I finally found somebody. He tells me that his boat is put up for the winter and doesn’t really know anybody that can help me. As we were talking on his back porch, I looked across the lake and see a boat launching at the launch ramp.

I ran back up to the truck and told Anna to hang on. I drove like a mad man to get back over there before they left. We barely made it, as they were getting ready to leave as we pulled up. As I walked up to the boat, I could tell (smell) that is wasn’t a typical fishing boat. I asked them if they could help us out, and they said, “Shoot yeah, we are just heading out to go pump some sewage from the marinas.” We both look at each other, and with no other options, we got on the “poo boat”.

So around 9:30, we finally get back to my boat and start to fish. Three rainy hours later, Anna says she is so wet and cold that she can’t feel her fingers or toes and is ready to go. We finish the day with only the three fish.

The day didn’t go as smoothly as I planned, but amazingly we still had fun. Needless to say, I bet Anna won’t forget her first bass fishing trip. Just another wet and wild day on the lake for me.

Remember to chase your dreams!

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