*** When we last heard from Conrad and Bobby, Conrad was telling Bobby some bad experiences that occurred on a drift boat fish trip in an attempt to dissuade Bobby from wanting to go.
“So then what happened?” Bobby asked.
“Well, the next morning we had to go down to the dam to get our drift boat that we rented for the day.”
Smiling, Bobby reminded Conrad about his flat tire.
“I know,” Conrad started. “We had the whole group of shore fishers watching this van hobble on down the road at 5 mph, making the flat tire ‘flip-flop’ sound. It must have been a sight to see.” Conrad said with a twinkle in his eye. “But that’s not the worst part.” He said, baiting them for what was to come.
“What could be worse then that?” Andy asked.
“One of the workers had to drive the van downstream from the dam to the landing site so we could leave when got out of the boat.” Conrad answered.
“How’d he get into the van?” Grandpa Wally asked.
“I put the keys on the flat tire.” Conrad answered smiling while the room full of people either gaffawed loudly, or chuckled into their hands, completely forgetting about the game on television, and trying to catch Conrad in a lie they thought he was trying to weave.
“So then what happened?” Bobby asked.
“Well, Ralph grabbed one of the three drift boats whose anchors were tied up in some weeds on the shoreline, and placed a cooler of oat soda’s and munchies as well as his fishing vest that served as a life jacket. Then he went to the van to get my gear to put into the boat, but when he turned toward the boat with the arm load of gear the boat had already drifted fifty feet from shore!” Conrad exclaimed.
“I guess that’s why they call it a drift boat.” Conrad’s nephew Jim said for many to chuckle at.
“How far did he have to go to get the gear?”
Cousin Fred asked.
“Twenty feet.” Conrad answered. Then went on with his story before any more questions came up.
“So, a couple fellows in another drift boat chased it down for us, and we had to listen politely to their lecture on proper drift boat loading procedures and how to not let the slippery things get away. It was a real drag I assure you. So we loaded up the rest of our gear and started down the river.” Conrad had to pause while some complaining took place because of the touchdown the other team scored.
“The next problem arose because we had never discussed who was going to fish, and who was going to paddle. So, we just drifted down the river the current pulling us along to certain oblivian; then sure enough we both hook up with fish only seconds apart. Now we suddenly are both fighting these big two foot long rainbow trout, and neither of us is paying attention to the boat. So I yell to Ralph, drop the anchor!”
Conrad paused in his story to gauge his audience, who he had in the palm of his hand, and describes how the anchor mechanism worked on the boat.
“The anchor isn’t like the one you have on your row boat Bobby, the one where the line goes over a little wheel at the front of the boat, and the extra line is spooled and stored at the bow.
On a drift boat, the line enters through the stern, and moves through the inside of a PVC pipe where it meets a foot pedal. The foot pedal has a release mechanism that allows the rope to slide through the PVC tube releasing the anchor to the river bottom below. If you take your foot off the pedal, the line stops coming out, the anchor takes hold, and you are stopped. Then, when you want to pull up the anchor, the guy who stomped on the pedal can then reach near to where his drink is, because the rope follows from the foot pedal, through a series of pulleys to where the pilot of the boat can just grab the rope, and pull it toward himself, without having to press the pedal, thereby lifting the anchor off of the river bed.
Now the end of the rope is knotted similar to yours, Bobby, so that if the river is deeper than your rope length, then the line will catch itself at the pulley guide so you don’t lose your anchor, and all your rope.”
Conrad paused here to check and see if everyone understood his explanation before moving on. Seeing that everyone was tuned into him, because the game was now a wash, he continued on.
“Well, when I yelled for the anchor, Ol’ Ralph stomped on that release pedal line he was going to the races, and he held it there! I said, ‘Ralph, aren’t you gonna put on the brake so we can fight these fish?’ And he said, Yeah, I’m doing it.’ Then suddenly we both heard a “plink” sound, and something flew up from the bottom of the boat and landed right into the bag of BBQ chips we had opened.” He paused and looked at his audience to let the moment build. “It was the knot from the end of the anchor line, as it snapped off on its way to the bottom of the river.”
After Conrad was shouted down for being a liar, he regained control of the raucous group of family members.
“Now, now it’s TRUE! Every word, but that is not the end of the trip. It gets worse.” He paused as one of the family members clicked off the t.v.
“So now Ralph is feeling bad for letting the anchor go so early in the trip, and he tries to take over the rowing duties, since he felt like he has ruined the trip for me. So I chase him away from the oars to fish, while I row. Ralph catches a few, and he starts to come around feeling chipper again.
Then all of a sudden he starts saying he can hear water coming into the boat, and that we have a leak; and INSISTS!” Conrad emphasized this, pausing while holding up his index finger, calling for attention. “He insists, on pulling over to shore to investigate where he thinks the leak is coming from. Now for historical references, this is an important point.” Conrad explains to those assembled. And begins laying out his case, as if to a jury. “He INSISTS!” Long pause. “On going to shore, to investigate the leak, okay?” He asks, not really wanting an answer…
Well, folks. I know it’s a tough spot to stop, but I think I should save the rest of the story for next month. When we reach the end of the tale. Until next time…