My First Striper or High Speed Trolling
When I was 14, fit and full of vim and vigor,
I was invited to spend a couple of weeks on
the Colorado River near Bullhead City, Arizona
during summer vacation. The invite was actually
an off handed remark made by my buddy Ron's dad
around Thanksgiving, but Ron and I decided it
was a go. I would spend two weeks with them at
their trailer on the river to "help keep Ron out
of trouble." That's the tact we took with Ron's
mom and it finally worked.
By Frank Reid
The night before we were to leave, I remembered
to break the news to my mother. She thought it
was a wonderful idea, i.e. only six mouths to
feed on a widow's income. I had to do some
serious wheeling and dealing with my siblings
to handle the chores that I had listed. My
brothers and sisters tried to veto the whole
thing because I was the camp cook around the
corral. The chores I had to do when I got back
got doubled when they realized they would have
to eat my sisters' cooking. Eeeww!
I packed up all my fishing gear (well, my dad's
gear) and was waiting on Ron's porch at five a.m.
Didn't want to get left behind. Ron's mom came
out to get the paper in her nightgown at about
7:30. She was slightly startled as I rose up from
next to the planter with the look of man ready
for some of those 80lb stripers I'd heard about.
I looked around for the Pope Mobile after she
screamed "Holy Truck!"
I got stuck in the back of the Olds Vista Cruiser
with the luggage for the 400-mile trip through
the desert. I didn't care, I wanted one of 'em
big ol' bass. Ron's dad even had a boat that Ron
and I envisioned taking up and down the river to
find those big fish.
It was too late to go fishing when we got there,
so the next a.m. Ron and I were on the water at
first light. We stayed there all day casting
hula poppers and spinner baits. I was using my
dad's surf casting rod and reel so I actually
spent more time clearing backlashes than fishing.
One nice thing about the local doctor there in
Bullhead City, he's use to stupid 14 year olds
baking themselves to a crackly crunch in the sun
while fishing all day. I didn't even feel the I.V.
needle. The downside was that I lost the next three
days of fishing, well, three days of moving period.
The upside was that I could gross out Ron's sister
by popping the blisters.
Since the fishing wasn't going well, when I
recovered enough, Ron's dad decided to take
us water skiing, Cool. I was obviously a world
traveler, well versed in water skiing (I'd seen
it on TV), and told them so (not the TV part).
When my turn came, I got up on the skis on about
the third try. A little bit rusty doncha know.
Ya gotta understand, the boat wasn't really a
fishing boat. It had a 454 Olds. A little bit
of power there.
After I got up, I tried to readjust my hands,
as there was a split in the towrope grips that
kept pinching. Something about my thumb going up
repeatedly gave Ron's sister, the spotter, the
mistaken belief (could'a been revenge for the
blister-popping show) that I wanted to go faster.
And we did, and we did, and we did.
The wake was beating me up a bit, so I decided
to be cool and swing out from behind the boat.
Wrongo Keebler, that calm part behind the boat was
glass compared to what I encountered.
Terror is a wonderful thing, it lends you skills
that you didn't know you had. I saw some calmer
water up and to the left so I headed for it.
Hey, I can actually control these ARRRGH!
Calm water on the Colorado denotes one thing,
a sandbar covered by one inch of water. Hit
that sucker at about mach 3. When Ron's dad
came running up to me (how odd, this man is
running on the water) and after seeing that
I was basically all right (save the fact that
the skin that hadn't burnt off was now gone
via dermabrasion), started laughing hysterically.
I personally didn't think it was all that funny.
He then walked back to the edge of the sandbar,
bent down for something, and returned with his
find. He dropped it next to me and said that
dinner was on me.
I looked over and there, lying next to me was
about a 15-pound striped bass, still gasping,
with a gash three fourths of the way through its
side where the skis had cut it. We don't need
no stinkin' Hula Poppers. ~ Frank Reid
Born and raised in Southern California, my mother
taught me to love fishing. I would fish from the
piers around Los Angeles as all my friends hung out
on the beach. At age 19, I joined the U.S. Air
Force to see the world and liked what I saw, so
stayed in for 23 years, finally retiring in 2000.
I've lived and fished all over the US and the globe,
from the deserts of California to the Philippines,
Germany, South Korea, England, beautiful Omaha,
Nebraska and about 1,000 other places in between.
These travels taught me to fish for whatever happens
to be in the local water. I now work in the Baltimore
area as a computer consultant trying to earn
enough to buy that next new rod or go on that next trip.
My wife is Brenda (who's quilting addiction rivals my
fly fishing/tying obsession) and we have two lovely
daughters. ~ FR
Lighter Side Archive