This past weekend, we decided to take a day trip to a lake about an hour away from our home. Yes, I realize that it was January…but when you live in the South, the temperatures are in the mid 70’s even during the winter. So it was a beautiful day and we decided we should spend all of our time outdoors.
Our adventure began early that morning. We hopped in the car, turned the radio up as loud as it would go, rolled the windows down, and started driving down the highway. We arrived at the family cabin on the lake and unloaded all of our stuff. My son and I decided we weren’t going to waste any time and grabbed our fishing poles and jumped in the boat. Luckily for us, it was full of gas and ready to go because my brother had used it the week before. We took off to our favorite fishing spot in a cove about 2 miles away from the cabin.
We baited our hooks and settled in for some nice relaxing fishing time. Not five minutes after my son put his line in the water, he got a bite. You could tell it was a big fish because his rod bowed and he almost lost his grip on it. I jumped up to help him and we spent about 10 minutes fighting with that dang fish. It finally gave up the struggle and we reeled in what had to have been a 50 pound catfish. I’ve never seen one so big in person. He was jumping around the boat yelling about how this was the best day ever. We took some pictures and then let the fish go. I told him that a fish that big had lived for a long time and deserved to go back to his home.
The rest of our fishing was pretty uneventful, but we didn’t care because he had caught that huge fish. We decided to get things together and head back to the cabin to see what the rest of our family was up to. I cranked the motor and all we heard was some sputtering. I knew we weren’t out of gas because I checked before we left so I checked some things out and tried again. Nothing. I know how to drive a boat but I don’t know a whole lot about how to fix a boat. I looked for my phone to call my wife to see if one of the neighbors was around with a boat who could come help and as I was grabbing it, it somehow slipped out of my hands and fell to the bottom of the lake. It was like a scene from a movie, slow motion and everything. So now what? I looked under the seats for a paddle because I realized I was going to have to get us back somehow. No luck. I tried to stay calm while I figured out what we should do, but my son could tell I was worried. He spoke up and said “Dad, we are going to have to swim back if we ever want to see everyone again.”
I checked the anchor on the boat to make sure it was secure, locked my wallet and watch in the safe, grabbed some lifejackets, and prepared to jump in the water. At least it was warm outside. We jumped in the water and were hit by the shock of the freezing cold. It was January, so even though it was warm outside, the water was not. I knew we had to get moving if we wanted to warm up so we started swimming. Two miles might not sound like a lot, but if you’re having to swim in cold water, it’s a lot.
I kept hoping my wife would realize we had been gone for too long and send out a search party, but that never happened. We finally made it back to land and found the rest of the family hanging out in the hammock. By the look on my wife’s face, you would think we were swamp monsters. After we dried off and changed clothes and rested for a bit, I knew I had to get the boat back to land. Thankfully one of the neighbors was out and he drove me back and helped me get the boat started. Apparently, I had forgotten to flip one of the switches on the boat and that’s why it wouldn’t start.
So our not-so-fun adventure at the lake could have been avoided if I knew more about boats. I’m still glad we went fishing and my son caught that 50 pound catfish. My family is still making fun of me a week later…and I’m sure I’ll never hear the end of it.