Bubbas New Boat by Gary Benton
Bass fishin’ is THE summer sport for many people. We spend hours each summer and winter fishing for the elusive bass. We fish the lakes, streams and rivers of the hills, hoping to catch just one nice one. But, what is a “nice” one. When I lived in Alaska I caught King Salmon that weighed more than 50 pounds and Halibut that were more than 100, but they lacked the excitement of a bass. Pound for pound I think a bass is about the most exciting fun you can have fishing!
A few years back my buddy Bubba and I decided to go bass fishing on hot summer day. Early the next day Bubba was at my door in his old Pick-em-up and off we went. A false dawn filled the morning air and I looked forward to a day of fishing. Bubba even had his modified “John” boat on a trailer behind us. Earlier that year he had constructed the boat from plywood, added elevated seats, a fish well, and an old 65 horse power motor. Additionally he had scraps of carpet, in various colors, on the floor to sound proof his rig. All total, not counting his motor cost, he had about twenty-eight dollars in his boat. See, the chairs were bar stools he purchased when a local pub went out of business. The boat motor he had bought from an uncle that found it in a barn he was tearing down, and the fish well was an ice chest he hot glued to the floor after he cut the bottom out of the boat.
Once at the lake we launched the boat. Well, I must admit Bubba did have more than a small bit of trouble backing the trailer up. It took him about two hours and as he explained, “the trailer hook would stick and the rig would not line up properly.” Yea, sure. I suspected it was just Bubba, but I didn’t say anything.
Well, at any rate, we were soon in the water and that meant things were looking up, at least in my opinion. While in the boat Bubba demanded that the captain and crew wear life preservers all the time. He handed me a blow up preserver of a cartoon character. I didn’t really like the idea of having a large mouse under my arms, but I do like to fish. His preserver was of a popular duck and at times he would look at me and go, “quack, quack.” The things I put up with to fishing.
As we drifted around the boat launch area Bubba attempted to get his big motor started. He pulled and pulled on the starting cord, but it would not start.
“Bubba, did you start the motor at home?” I finally asked. I was getting a bit upset over his laziness most of time when it came to preparing for a trip of any kind.
“Well, not exactly. Kind of.” He responded with another pull on the starting rope.
“What do you mean by that. You either did or you didn’t.”
“Well, I checked the spark plug and gas level.”
“Bubba, DID you start it?”
“Of course not. I didn’t have any water to do it in. Ya gots to have water to run a boat motor and you know that.”
I was a bit upset. Bubba had about ten 55 gallon drums, empty ones, on his farm. All he had to do was fill one with water, attach his motor to the side of the drum and check it. Oh, well, not much I could do about it now.
Suddenly, the motor caught and we were off…for about fifteen feet, then it died. Five more minutes of pulling on the rope and it started again.
“I think it just needs to be ran some.” Bubba said with a big crooked smile. He then opened the throttle full speed.
As the old motor sputtered and spit we crossed the large lake. The wind was light and the surface of the water was as smooth as glass. When we reached our fishing spot, Bubba threw out a coffee can filled with cement, or his anchor as he would say. Unlike the last trip, he had the can tied to the boat this time, so it was an anchor of sorts.
I loved the peace and quiet. The water was calm and the sun was warm. I could hear the birds and I could just day dream looking into the clouds. I slowly worked my lure near a group of lilly pads. I had been at it for some time with my floating lure with no luck. I was just about to suggest we move to another spot when the tip of my pole started dancing.
“Fish on!” I yelled, just like I usually did. I kept the rod tip up and slowly worked the fish.
“Of course it’s a fish. What else would it be.” Bubba responded, not realizing that when you were combat fishing in some states “fish on” was a warning to other fishermen.
I soon landed a nice big bass. I was excited and happy. So far the trip was going as well as it could, with Bubba along. Of course, since I had caught a fish and Bubba hadn’t he decided we needed to move to another location, immediately.
Once again he had trouble getting the motor started. Then, all of a sudden, it zoomed to life….and came right through the floor of the boat. From stern to bow we were opened up. As water began to fill the now cut in half boat, I abandoned the ship and floated next to the sinkin’ “Titanic.” I was soon joined by Bubba.
“I got the ice chest.” he said with a big smile.”
We made our way to the shore and were soon sitting on a big log. Bubba opened a softdrink and took a long swallow. I could see he was deep in thought. All I could think of was if I had my pole I could at least still fish. But, my pole along with all of my fishing gear was at the bottom of the lake. Nothing else to do, so I opened a cola and looked over at Bubba.
“Bubba,” I asked as soon as I had taken a drink, “Now what do we do?
“Well, we can walk back or we can wait fer a ride. Since we got a cooler of soft drinks, I suggest we wait.” He then reached over and pulled out another drink.
About four hours later we were picked up by a fish and game warden and taken back to the boat ramp. I was mad and frustrated. A fishing day, completely wasted due to Bubba’s crazy ideas. It was not the first, nor was it the last time it would happen. As I made my way up the ramp I heard Bubba ask me, “Wonder how a feller makes himself one of them houseboats?”