At the mercy of weather

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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.

Today was another unproductive landscape day, as it rained on and off all day.  I tried to work for the few minutes it quit here and there, but finally I just had to call it a day.  Weather has a huge impact on what I do, since I pretty much live outside.

Sitting in the car as it rained, I thought about my worst experience with bad weather. It was a couple of summers ago, and I was fishing with my buddy on Kentucky Lake.  We were down in the New Johnsonville area, and were having a good time ledge fishing.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and we were catching them pretty well.

We pulled up to a new ledge, and located a pretty good size school of fish.  We got the school fired up and started catching them pretty good.  I noticed a few storm clouds in the distance, but didn’t think a whole lot about it because we were reeling them in every other cast.

Before I knew it, just a few minutes later, the entire sky was dark and the wind started howling, it began pouring and lightning was striking near us.  We kind of got caught off guard -- I had never seen a storm move in so fast.

I told my buddy that we better get to the closest marina to take shelter …  bad choice (I should have just driven to the nearest shoreline).

I had only been in that area once before, and thought the marina was much closer than it was.  I thought it was less than a mile away but turned out to be 3 or 4 miles.  So there we were driving down Kentucky Lake in a lightning storm looking for a marina for like 10 or 15 minutes.  The waves were so bad we could only go about 20 or 30 mph. 

I should have stopped looking and just went to a protected shoreline, but I just knew the marina was going to be in the next creek, no the next, no maybe it’s the next.

We finally spotted the marina in the distance and felt a sense of relief.  As we drove closer, the lightning got worse.  It was like we were driving into the heart of the storm.  As we started to turn into the creek, one lighting bolt struck the water 50 yards in front of us.  It was incredibly loud.

My friend and I turned to each other, and screamed “that was a close one!”  Just as we said that, another one struck even closer!  At this point, I am shaking like a leaf and we are in the no wake area going 60 mph to get into the boat slips.

Just as I slowed down as we got closer to the slips, I hear the loudest noise I have ever heard in my life. I see a lightning bolt strike the water 5 to 10 yards right in front of us.  The water splashed up 20 feet in the air from the strike.  It was probably the most scared I have ever been in my life. 

It hit so close that it messed up all my electronics on the boat. Both depth finders were completely shot. We finally made it into one of the boat slips, and were speechless for the longest time. I’m pretty sure we both knew that we had just escaped death.

Before this experience, I used to fish in the middle of really bad storms and thought that nothing could happen to me.  Not any more!  I am now one of the first fishermen to go in when a storm is coming.  I will forever fear the wrath of lightning storms.

We really are at the mercy of weather.

Remember to chase your dreams!

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