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By Capt. Chuck Uzzle
For the Record 

Sometimes you just have to laugh

 

Last updated 4/2/2024 at 8:35pm

From my perch on the poling platform I often have plenty of time to think while I push my little boat around the marsh. The standard stuff that goes through every fisherman’s mind usually dominates my thoughts. “Where are the fish?” “Should I change locations?” “Is this the right bait?” Nothing out of the ordinary, just everyday fishing thoughts that happen to come to mind. Plenty of those moments routinely get interrupted by my fishing partner for that day and I snap back to reality. During one of my recent “brainstorming” moments I watched a client just absolutely beat himself up for not remembering to bring a particular piece of gear. The whole episode spawned a conversation between the two of us about our own misfortunes or “Murphy’s Law moments” while fishing. Much to the delight of my client for the day I had plenty of those moments from which to choose from.


I don’t care who you are or how experienced you are, if you have ever owned a boat you have forgotten your keys or lost them on the way to the launch at least one time in your career. Many folks don’t consider how easy it is to have your keys blow out while trailering to your launch if you leave them in the ignition. I learned that lesson the hard way. Nothing makes you feel more foolish than committing a blunder like that in front of 3 clients, trust me. Luckily I was only 5 minutes from my house and was able to retrieve my spare so essentially it was no harm no foul. I have however seen the really bad version of this event unfold on an extended road trip 100 miles from home. The feeling of excitement one gets from the opportunity to fish a new body of water is quickly erased once everyone realizes there is no way to start the boat and no place to get a new key. Buzz kill does not begin to describe that ride home.


Speaking of forgetting things I have had clients forget all sorts of gear. I’ve had them show up with no rods. I’ve had them show up with no reels. More than a couple of occasions they have also shown up without various pieces of wading gear up to and including waders, jackets, and most often boots. Typically I can accommodate folks because I keep several spare sets but on occasion it just doesn’t work out when you try to put someone who is 6 foot 3 in waders made for those of us who are “vertically challenged”.

As far as waders go I have had my own difficulties and I have no one to blame but myself. For example a few years ago on a duck hunt I picked up a pair of my Gulf Coast breathable waders that I wear for both fishing and hunting, I had stuffed them in my wader bag for a hunt the following day. The morning of the hunt I reached in the wader bag and pulled out my boots first and then grabbed my waders, or so I thought. I unrolled the pair only to realize that they had no stocking feet on them! I had taken this particular set that I replaced and cut the feet out of them to leave in my truck for use as raingear or while training dogs at the pond. There was nothing I could do but take my medicine, wear them, and make the best out of it. Needless to say my hunting partners were extremely amused at my misfortune and all I could do was laugh with them. Fortunately for me it was not really cold and I managed to make due. From that point on I have made it a habit to double check my gear. Lesson learned.


Another one of those laughable moments that comes to mind happened at a gas station. A good friend of mine, for whatever reason, accidentally put the gas nozzle in a rod holder on his center console and proceeded to fill up his boat. Yep, you guessed it, that was an eye opening moment the minute the bilge pump kicked on and started pumping gas out of the side of the boat onto the ground. Because of the angle the boat had while sitting on the trailer it allowed the bottom of the boat to gather 30 gallons of gas in it before the bilge kicked on and began pumping out. Having a hull full of gas was bad enough but the big “OH $#(T” moment was realizing that when the bilge pump kicked on the real possibility of a spark and ignition was present. Fortunately nothing sparked and my friend was able to drain the gas out of his hull with no damage. We still scratch our head and laugh at that one while wondering how we didn’t blow ourselves up.


Now there are plenty of other crazy things that have happened to me while on the water or at least on the way to it and I am sure there will be more. Each one has taught me a lesson and provided some sort of entertainment for those involved. It’s easy to look back and laugh at all the mishaps because they trigger some great memories. It’s always been said “if you can’t laugh at yourself then you may be wound too tight”, I have no problem laughing at myself and I hope that some of my episodes will help keep you from your own mishaps.


 

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