***My 99 cent e-book special is still on until Monday, April 1. Please find it on the post before this one, called Easter Special. Be sure to look there for the coupon code. You need it to get the discount.
And now, for an embarrassing fishing story.
This little article I wrote was published in Canadian Fly Fisher magazine a few years ago and was posted on this blog in 2011. For the record, the trout pictured below is not the one in the story. This one was released after its photo op.
Mr. Cool Goes Fishing
I now believe that lawn chairs should come with a warning label: “Not recommended for use by fools in small boats.” My cold splash of reality came on a sunny day.
Gary and I love fly fishing, but two people standing in a small boat isn’t safe. However, it isn’t particularly comfortable sitting on cold aluminum seats either. To please me, Gary came up with a solution. He would put lawn chairs in the boat so they straddled the bench seats. We knew it was a bit risky placing our centers of gravity up so high, but we were old hands at boating and decided we would be safe enough fishing for trout on the calm, reedy edges of one of our local lakes.
The day was perfect for shorts and T-shirts. We had brought a picnic lunch in our cooler bag, a thermos of tea, cell phone, and the usual clutter of fishing tackle. We cast towards the lily pads. In no time, Gary had hooked a trout. I offered to net it and wisely, I thought, slid down off the lawn chair to gain more stability. Net in hand, I dipped for the fish, but it darted under the boat. Gary, still up in his chair, leaned over to see where it went, and that was the end of our lawn-chair fishing.
Over I went, head first into the lily pads. I kicked away the entangling lawn chair that threatened my demise. Lily pads! As I floundered underwater thrashing through their long stems, my mind flashed to the story of a woman who had drowned in lily pads at Swan Lake when I was a child. Determined not to repeat history, I kicked and fought my way to the surface, inhaling water and belching. Madly treading water, I gulped for air.
Several meters away, Gary shook his head in slow motion and I blushed to realize how unimpressive my plunge was from the point of view of a perfect swimmer. I grabbed sinking articles near to me and tossed them into the half-sunken boat wallowing nearby—cooler bag, thermos, tackle box, my fly rod, even the old life jacket I had been sitting on instead of wearing, and of course, the accursed lawn chair.
I glanced over at Gary, bobbing calmly in the lake, scowling at me. Mr. Cool. His entry into the water, like that of an Olympic diver, had been almost soundless with barely a ripple. His frown suggested that I had been making quite a fuss and had attracted unwanted attention.
Two men who had been spincasting farther out on the lake, reeled in frantically. “We’ll be right over,” they called.
“That’s okay,” Gary yelled back. “We can stand.”
“We… can?” I spluttered. It hadn’t occurred to me to try to stand. My toes stretched down into the gooey silt, and my mouth went under. Being a couple of inches taller, like Gary, would definitely have been an advantage.
By this time the spincasters had paddled over. They held the side of our half-sunken boat as I scrambled in as gracefully as a calf moose. I began to bail water double time to keep the boat afloat. Gary, who had been steadying the bow of the boat, waited until there was enough freeboard and then hopped in easily. We thanked the men, sheepishly chuckling about the story they would tell their wives that night.
As we took inventory, Gary netted his trout, still hooked after all the commotion, while I wondered which fish was swimming away wearing my expensive Serengeti sunglasses.