Fishing while Striving for Excellence

My Mom always says:  “No matter what you do, do your best“.    So at the end of the day, you’ll know you’ll have given it 100% and you can feel good about yourself.

So last week, when I decided to screw up a fishing day,  I followed Mom’s advice.

CAN, and WILL.

Yes, I believe I CAN and WILL screw up today BIG TIME.

It began in the morning, when I was using my electronic fish finder.    Later, I decided to change fishing spots, and started the motor and proceeded ahead at full-throttle.

Then I heard a CLANG!….and turned around to see what made the noise.

I was rewarded with the sight of my  fish finder going Blub! Blub! Blub! and disappearing beneath the waves.   (I had forgot to remove the sensor that was attached to the side of the boat).   When I had gunned the engine, the rushing water yanked it off (along with the LCD console) and swept the whole shooting match overboard.

Sigh.   $200 down the drain.

(Friar, you ASSHOLE.)

Well, no sense crying over spilled electronics.   Let’s make the best of the day.  So I opted to try the other end of the lake for some more walleye.

30 minutes later (going full throttle), I decide to take a short-cut between two islands.

(Can you predict where this is going?)


Nobody said anything about any rocks.


Just.   Freaking.  Great.

I stopped the boat, and looked at the prop.

Oboy, I had dinged it pretty GOOD.  The precision-engineered hydrodynamic-screw blades were transformed into an Op-Art sculpture of rose-petals of jagged metal.

But, turns out it wasn’t totally catastrophic.   The motor still ran smoothly, and the prop still seemed to work.

Well, sort of.   (At a significantly reduced efficiency).    Whereas before hand,  I could go 30 km/h, now I could barely make 10 km/h.

Okay, change of game plan.   It’s too far to go to the other end of the lake with a compromised motor.    But no problem, I’ll stick around this cove here, much closer to the lodge.  I wanted to go there anyway.

So I started to fish, trolling around the cove, and I caught a few modest pike in the process.

At this point, I was quite pleased with myself.   Look at how I had two setbacks, yet I still found a way to salvage the day, and make the best of it.  And I managed to do this with minimal swearing and temper tantrums.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.   Don’t worry.  Be happy.  Dancing elves.  Rainbow fairies. (…Look how positive and pro-active I was!).

This was all fine and good, until it was time to head home, and I re-started the engine.

Sputter sputter sputter.


I checked, and I was almost out of gas.

Normally, I’d have been okay.   But you see, the busted prop meant that the motor burned much more gas than normal.   This had never occurred to me.


So, let’s re-cap:

Alone on a boat.  In the bush.  Miles from the Lodge.   Where nobody can see me.   And I’m almost out of gas.

At least it’s raining and the wind is picking up.

Hmmm.  Might be an “interesting” evening, tonight.

I coaxed the engine to start, and trying to squeeze every last bit of gas to the engine.

If I can just make it out of the cove, onto the main lake, that would increase my chances of being seen.

When I got out of the sheltered cove, I realized that a gale had been blowing on the lake.

Fortunately, there were 3-foot whitecaps.

(No, this wasn’t the actual photo!….This was from another day, but you get the idea).

WHAM!  WHAM!  WHAM!   The3-foot waves slammed the 15 foot boat.  It was a great roller coaster ride.

(Actually, if this had been a ride at Six-Flags, it would have been a lot of fun).

Now…if only I can make it around to that next point, I’ll be within sight of the Lodge.

WHAM! WHAM!  WHAM!    The gas sloshed in the empty tank, and the motor died again.

Sputter, sputter, sputter.

Now I was being blown ashore where the waves crashed against the rocks.

I pulled the rip-cord, and the engine started again.

…500 more yards…I

Sputter sputter sputter.

Engine dies.   Restart it again.

400 more yards.


Sputter sputter sputter.

Engine dies.   Restart it again.

300 more yards.

(By now, I had images of that cartoon, where Sylvester keeps desperately trying to start the engine, just before he goes over the falls.)

That’s when I finally got a break.   There were only four boats on the water that afternoon.   One of them happened to passing by on the way to supper.    I flagged them down, and they towed me back.

Damage to prop and the driveshaft:   $150.

Loss of fish-finder: $200.

Laughter at Friar’s expense at the dinner table:   Considerable.

Not to mention that I almost ended up being a Gordon Lightfoot song (the Wreck of the Edmund McFriar…?).

Moral of the story:
If you’re going to screw up, then you might as well go ALL THE WAY.

At least it makes for good stories afterword.

Later that evening, they showed me the prop.   One of the staff said was the most damaged one they’d ever seen, since they started to work there.


It’s always great when you’re best at something,  isn’t it?

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25 Comments on “Fishing while Striving for Excellence”

  1. Steph Says:

    LOL!!! Holy crap, you ARE being positive about all this! Already your holiday cost a lot… but good for you seeing the funny side of things!

    I’m totally the same. If I’m gonna screw up, I screw up REAL good. Like with my computer and wiping the hard drive clean. Or saying a little something so that someone never speaks to me again. You know, stuff like that.

    Oh well. As you say, this one made for a great story!! 🙂

  2. Friar Says:


    I still consider that the best day of my whole vacation, because that’s the same day (earlier in the morning) that I caught the monster fish I had just written about. That itself made the whole trip.

    Good or bad, you gotta admit..this particular day was SIGNIFICANT. 🙂

  3. Nicole Says:

    LOL! That was priceless Friar. That prop is definitely the worst I’ve seen. At least you had a few pike to show for it, right?

    So wait, this is a 15″ outboard? Why do oars never figure into this story?? 😉

  4. Writer Dad Says:

    “The precision-engineered hydrodynamic-screw blades were transformed into an Op-Art sculpture of rose-petals of jagged metal.”

    Good stuff, man. I like, nay I love to screw up BIG time.

    Have a great weekend.

  5. Brett Legree Says:

    I thought there’d be Vikings in the story somehow. As in, “I was being chased by Vikings, and tried to take a shortcut between these two islands…”

    Heh heh… folks, I saw this prop last night at Friar’s house, and it’s pretty fraked up… I suggested maybe Friar take it to a local shop and have it mounted on a plaque like a trophy…

  6. Cath Lawson Says:

    I know I shouldn’t laugh – but this was hilarious. At least you did manage to get to the lodge eventually, which is a major plus on your part.

  7. Kelly Says:


    LOL from beginning to end. Great story, well-told. And the prop photo at the end is priceless.

    And may I say in blissful ignorance, I can’t believe there’s such a thing as an “electronic fish finder.” I really thought you were joking. Not to go all crunchy-granola on you, but where’s the sport in that? I mean, do they have electronic fisherman finders?

    . .

    C’mon down to Delaware, you can fish in my parking lot right now. No whitecaps yet but it looks like the tail of this storm’s gonna whip around shortly. TS Hannah’s left a lovely place for your boat, and if you get down here quick, maybe you can hook my minivan.

    Bring your electric Caravan finder.



  8. Friar Says:


    Oh, there WERE oars. But given the gale-force winds, and how far away I was, it would have been humanly impossible to make it back to the lodge.

    I was never really in any serious peril. Worst case, I would have been uncomforatable and pissed off and shivering wet for 4-5 hours, waiting for them to come and find me (They get worried when their boats don’t return by dusk).

    @Writer Dad
    Yeah, if I had just done a minor prop ding, it would have already been forgotten.

    Go big, or stay home. That’s what I always say. 🙂

    Maybe I should bronze it, and turn it into “Friar’s FUBAR Award”.

    Oh, don’t feel bad laughing.

    After dinner that evening, I put the prop on the table for all to see, and I swear everyone was gonna piss their pants. 🙂

    Best. Day. Ever.

    I don’t find fish-finders are that useful to locate the fish themselves. You see a little blip on the sonar screen, and by the time you get your hook and line down there, the fishies have long since gone.

    Fishermen use fish finders mostly to locate structure (shallow reefs, deep holes, steep drop offs). To find places where fish MIGHT like to hide.

    Dosen’t guartantee they’ll be there. And even if they are, dosen’t guarantee they’ll bite.

    And even if you have one hooked, there’s a bit of skill involved in landing it in the boat without losing it or snapping the line.

    So don’t worry…there’s plenty of sport involved. I end up losing way more than I catch.

    We’re getting a bit of drizzle and gray cloud right now. I think it’s remnant of Gustav from last week.

  9. Rita Says:

    After my husband gave me a piece of his umm….MIND for waking him up I was laughing so damn hard last night, imagine this:

    Tim and Harvey in the boat together.
    Harvey, of course, is captain.
    He keeps telling Tim what to do.
    Harvey says “Hey Tim, I wanna just take a look at the fish finder – go get it for me”
    Tim looks around with THAT look, strips to his skivvies, jumps in the water…
    Retrieves a BOLT from the fish finder
    Goes to Harvey, sopping wet, nearly naked with the bolt, with THAT LOOK on his face.
    Harvey is already in smiling mode – asks Tim for the fish finder
    Tim has THAT look, a moment of hesitation, holds the bolt out to Harvey…

    YOU ARE A ONE-MAN VARIETY SHOW! I am DAMN glad my husband’s working in the other room at the moment 🙂

    Good one, Friar.


  10. Friar Says:


    Thanks. Glad I could make you laugh.

    (Sometimes I think my LIFE is a variety show!) 🙂

  11. So exactly which dancing elves and rainbow faeries did you piss off that day? Not that I could imagine Friar actually pissing off any otherworldly nymphs. Nooooo……

  12. Ian Parker Says:

    Wow, Friar. They do say that reality is stranger than fiction. That is one rough day. Funny, but rough. Makes me think that the writers of Looney Tunes must have had some bad days frequently. Else where would they get the material?

  13. Friar Says:

    @Urban Panther

    Oh, I pissed off lots of evles and rainbow faeires (they make good live bait!)

    If that motor started to run after I got out of trouble, I’d want to take a sledge hammer to it (just like Slyvester did!) 🙂

  14. Karen Swim Says:

    ROFL! I actually spit when I got to rainbow fairies because the laughter came out even harder (I know disgusting and way too much information). Hey, at least your mom would be proud. You really screwed up 100%! LOL!

  15. veredd Says:

    That was FUNNY.

    Today is a bit stressful so thank you. 🙂

  16. Friar Says:


    I know my post was successful when I get people to spit out what they’re drinking! 🙂


    That’s what I’m here for….to help lighten up the day.

  17. Too good. Just wonderfully fun from start to finish…love the photos. I vote trophy. That is the worst prop damage I have EVER seen too.

    I dated ( very briefly ) a Federal Agent some years ago. Mutual friend a Federal Prosecutor slyly set me up with at the Napolean house during lunch one day. Tall ,single ,manly, rugged… I think it was his gold porsch, go with it… He went bear or elk hunting on horseback for his vacation one year out west, he told me, for 10 days. I said that must have been something. He said yeah, something he would never do again. He f’d up so many times AND his butt was so sore to boot he’d rather chase criminals who shot at him than do it again. Like what was he thinking he said. Bear on horseback?Elk? Manly vacations… not even a spa in site….sheeesh…tell me there was a spa at the lodge. please… a hot tub? Warm showers?

    He did not get his bear, (or me)…. I am happy you got your splendid Pike on such a significant day. AND that you would go back and do this all over again next year. It actually looks fantastic. 😉

  18. Jenny Says:

    I’ve been on a boat like this! It’s stopped dead in the middle of the Chain out by me! I can totally relate! One night I wasn’t sure we wouldn’t be sleeping on the boat! Glad you at least made it back to the lodge!

  19. Hi Friar,

    What a great story. Kind of remind me of when we went boating and had some type of problem and had to be towed in. Not pretty!

    Love the picture of your prop. That’s worth keeping as a conversation peice.

  20. Friar Says:


    Oh, I’ve paid my dues, believe me. I can’t count the times I’ve had vacation equivalents like your friend (12 hour drives, rain, hypothermia, bugs, broken equipment, crowded camp sites, terrible fishing and going home skunked). It’s taken me 15 years to finally be able to do this.

    No spa, but my own room with hot showers, Houskeeping included, and meals, like ribs, steak, prime rib, etc. (Not to mention fresh pickerel shore lunches every day).

    I consider this pay-back time! 🙂

    Yeah, getting stranded would have been uncomfortable, and wet, and very annoying, but not life-threatening. Fortunately, it was still warm enough outside that I didn’t have to worry about hypothermia.

    Yep…that prop’s a keeper! (At the very least, it will sit on my bookshelf with other mementos…if not having it bronzed and mounted in a plaque!).

  21. Laughter is the best medicine as the doctors keep saying, so according to your post I should be healed now. Man, you crack me up. Now my sides hurt so much they feel like I’ve broken a rip.

    There certainly is always an adventure nearby wherever you while. 🙂

  22. […] to Friar and do some fishing…what else would the man do with his time anyway. Ah yes, he is fishing while striving for excellence. Now, that is a […]

  23. Friar Says:


    Hey, welcome back! (Flus really suck, don’t they?)

    I don’t know WHY adventures like this happen to me…they just DO. 🙂

  24. Friar,

    I was alternating between cringing and laughing, I felt so bad for you but it was still so funny! Poor Friar…ahhhhaaahaahaaa…poorr Friar…Ahhahaaa…Oh…Poor, Poor Friar….Ahaahaaahaaaa…….


    Automatic Fisherman Finder…Ahaahaahaaa…I Can Totally picture Kelly out in her Spiky open toed shoes and Man-Eating Skirt, focused and concentrating as she zeros in with her Fisherman Finding Device on the Male Population in her area…beep..beep…beep…beep….Suddenly the radar picks up a signal and Kelly’s attention is narrowed in on a handsome face in front of her…she comes in for the kill……….

  25. Friar Says:

    I still look at that day as a huge sucecss (on account of that 34 inch pike I got earlier..that’s MOSTLY what I remember!)

    “man-eating skirt”. Hahahah!

    Though Kelly might be dissappointed looking for “handsome” faces. Most of the clients at the fishing lodge were Olde Fartes, (heck, we even had two guys in their 80’s!)

    The younger crowd are too busy making babies, and/or raising teenagers, I suppose.

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