I had such high hopes for the outing I planned with my friend and hunting buddy Doug and his boys Landon and Tristan. It is Victoria Day weekend and a fishing expedition was on the agenda for Sunday morning. The week before, I met up with another of my hunting buddies, Omer, to take the blind frame off my John boat. This would make the boat better for fishing. Initially, I thought we would take the boat on the Rideau River, launching at Mooney’s Bay, and trying our luck on a stretch of the river near Hunt Club Road. There are walleye, pike, bass and sucker in these waters. Though bass season is not open, I hoped we might get into walleye and sucker. However, given that Landon is six and his brother Tristan is five, I thought it might be better if we took them to a spot where we could get into small fish like perch, sunfish, crappie and catfish. I expect the boys would have more fun catching small fish. Shirley’s Bay on the Ottawa River seemed a good choice; but jeez, how the best laid plans went off the rails this Sunday morning.
I picked up Doug and the boys at 8:00 am as planned. I rent space in a garage in the home of an acquaintance to store the boat I planned to use. When we pulled up my chum’s residence, we found a car parked in the driveway, blocking the garage door. I rang the doorbell twice, but nobody answered. I thought he knew I was coming this morning to take my boat out for the morning! Okay, fine, I have a second boat at home, though the blind frame cannot be removed as easily. Still, the boat is fit for fishing in a pinch. We drove to my house and hitched the boat trailer to my Jeep and we were on our way to Shirley’s Bay. We stopped en route to get fuel for the outboard motor. We pulled up to Shirley’s Bay in good time only to find the wind was gusting toward shore. There were other people making ready to set out on the river in kayaks. I checked the map on shore and found there is a sheltered bay not far from the launch ramp. Our plan was to launch the boat and motor to the bay.
I put on my chest waders and Doug backed the boat and trailer into the river. The launch ramp is not very steep, so you have to back your vehicle farther into the river than is usual for a launch ramp. I successfully got the boat into the water. We put our gear on board and the boys and Doug climbed abord. I tried to push the boat off the ramp into deeper water, but the boat was firmly aground. If this was not bad enough, the wind squalled and waves crashed over the boat, swamping it. Doug and the boys got out. At the same time, I saw the kayakers abandoned their effort to launch. It was just too windy to launch this morning. That being the case, Doug chose to call off the expedition. He was soaked through. Getting the swamped boat back on the trailer took some effort, but we got the job done.
It was disappointing for the boys; I so wanted this to be an enjoyable outing for them. Doug explained to his sons that this happens sometimes when you are into outdoor sports like fishing and hunting. He promised them we would try again in two weeks. I hope I can make it up to them. Before we go out again, I will see that we are better prepared and there are no misunderstandings regarding access to my boat in the rented garage. I will check out various launch ramps and locations where we can get into small fish for the boys. I will make sure we have more than one place to go and pay closer attention to the weather before we set out.
Doug left Tristan’s car seat on board my Jeep, so I stopped by the next day to return it to him after taking my dog Hera for her morning run. Doug, his wife Mijanou and the boys were outside when I drove up to their house. I returned the car seat and the boys were happy to see me. I spoke to Doug and Mijanou about the debacle that was the ill-fated fishing trip the day before. They assured me the boys, though disappointed, took it in stride and remain eager to try again. I still want to do something to make it up to the boys and Mijanou suggested I take them for icecream after our next fishing trip. I will indeed take them for icecream the next time we go fishing. I must say I am impressed that Landon and Tristan took the failed fishing trip in stride. Looking back, I doubt I would have been so forgiving when I was their age. I think they are well on their way to becoming fine sportsmen and along with taking them fishing I look forward to introducing them to hunting, together with their dad, in the years ahead.
Posted by Geoffrey