If you havenít yet read it, Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com blogger Mark Schram recently had a post on how his first trip out on the boat this year left him with a beat up hand. I wonít go into details, but you can read it here. Mark, I hope all is well with your hand.
Anyhow, Mark's story got me thinking about some interesting things I have seen the past few years while we all rush to DePere for the first boat trip of the year.
The first incident I thought of was the year a few guys were backing their boat down the launch at Voyager. Now keep in mind that this boat must have come right off the showroom floor, because there was still plastic on the bow seat. The driver must have been new to backing in but was doing a pretty good job. There was a gentleman walking in front of the truck and another was by the bow of the boat. As the truck was backing up. the guy driving is hitting the breaks often to keep control. Well, guess what the guy who is by the bow of the boat does? You guessed it, with about 30 feet of concrete left he unhooks the boat from the trailer. Well the driver hits the breaks and the boat shoots off the rollers onto the cement. The guy who is in front of the truck hears it but canít see, and yells to the driver to hurry up before the boat comes all the way off. Needless to say he obeyed and pushed the boat the remaining way into the water. I didnít see the boat after they pulled it back out but I can imagine it had some pretty good battle wounds.
My own adventure took place two years ago, also in DePere. It was only the second time my boat had been in the water and I had yet to run it full throttle. I had been fishing for a few hours and decided that I would call it a day and return home. It was getting a bit cold and I hadnít dressed for it. Well, I decided to open it up a bit and see what it could do. As I jumped on the throttle and the boat came up on plane I had another boat also up on plane heading at me. I moved over a bit and looked down at the speedometer. It was just passing 42 mph. I turned my attention back to the water and just as I entered the oncoming boat's wake I saw a very thick chunk of ice come up. I had no time to react and before I knew it, the boat shot out of the water and went completely vertical. The ice chunk was so big that I actually landed back on top of it when I came down again. My first thought was I had just ripped the boat in half, and it wouldnít be long before I was at the bottom of the river.
I put the hammer down in a panic and headed for the landing. When I pulled up I yelled to a guy on the dock that I had hit a chunk of ice and ripped a hole in the boat. All of a sudden people around me sprung into action and came to my aid. A guy on the dock pushed his boat away so I could tie up and before I knew it I had 2 boats tied to the other side of the boat. Another guy was telling people to get out of the way and told me to run for my truck. As many of you know the landing can be an absolute zoo and this was rush hour. When I arrived back at the dock I pulled the trailer in and some gentleman drove my boat on while another hooked the front. I quickly pulled out and jumped out to see the damage!
Well, what can I say Ö I walked around the boat and didnít see as much as a scuff mark. Angry eyes set upon me as onlookers came up with the same result. Just then an older man walked up and asked if the boat was ok. He had been standing on shore and saw me hit the ice. Everyone relaxed a bit and I thanked everyone for their help. The old guy who saved me from a beat down looked around and said, ďLet this be a lesson to you all, this young man sure as hell knows how to beat the traffic!Ē Everyone around us broke out in laughter, and all was well. I once again thanked them all and offered to help get some boats loaded up. I still laugh every time I think of that old guy.
We all have some crazy stories of what went wrong on a certain day. But it sure is nice to be able to look back and laugh it off. I wish all of you and safe and successful open water season this year. Be safe out there and create some great memories.
Corey Clark is a life long resident of Wisconsin and avid outdoorsman. On the water or in the woods is where his passion lies.