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MAKIN' WAVES - Anchors away!

It was an early spring a few years ago after the ice had gone out, not unlike the spring we are having so far. A week of really warm temperatures following ice off had sent the sunfish and crappies up into the shallow water way ahead of schedule. My schedule, not theirs. Fish never seem to follow or even give a bit of consideration to my schedule.

The panfish were in the shallow, muddy, warmer bays sucking up the sunshine and the hatching bugs in large numbers. The water was really clear and the fish were really edgy, but if you snuck into some of the quiet bays you could get the slip on them and nab a few before they got spooked and scattered. Nice crappies and bluegills to fill the frying pan.

I need to backtrack a bit first before going further on this fish tale. Everyone had been caught off guard by the early ice out, including myself that year. There is always a mad rush to get my boat out of storage, get all the gear tuned up, get everything in the boat and hit the water and this year was no exception. There is honor among fishermen, sometimes for the oddest things, and being the first on the water each spring is one of those honorable attributes.

Everyone is in awe of those folks that are organized and prepared enough to hit the water weeks before anyone else has even blown the dust off their bobbers. What those people don't tell you is that they stay up for 48 consecutive hours untangling lines and fixing corroded trailer lights to be the first out there. But, alas, they are the first ones on the water and respected.

Anyway, I had told my buddy about the nice fish and that I had been picking a few off. He, like most, hadn't even thought about getting his boat ready ahead of time. After some serious consideration and begging to his wife, he assured me that he could get his boat ready and meet me on the lake the next evening.

That evening I slowly snuck back into the bay. No sign of my buddy at the time he said he would meet me. I shrugged it off and went to fishing. After an hour or so, here he came. He proceeded to pull into a reed patch about 20 yards from me.

"It took me half the night, but I think I got everything ready on the boat," he boasted.

I was looking toward him when I saw him drop his anchor. One does not forget the sight of your buddy dropping an anchor over the side of the boat without any rope attached to it. One also does not forget the look on that buddy's face as his anchor disappears into the mud without any hope of retrieval. It seems, in his hurry to hit the water he had forgotten to tie a rope to the new anchor he had just bought.

Luckily, after he stopped mumbling and swearing to himself, he recalled he had a backup anchor with him. Once he got his bearings, the backup anchor that had now become the primary anchor, quickly slid into the water. Problem solved and time for him to fish.

Less than a minute later he came drifting toward me. With a sheepish grin on his face, he said as he came closer, "I'll be darned if I forgot to check that the backup anchor rope was tied to the boat too." We laughed and laughed as he kept drifting down the lake.