Monday, May 31, 2010


On the Chesapeake, even though fishermen trolling have no navigational right-of-way, I've noticed that most sailors are polite and don't demand rights on the open water where trolling is common. Everyone gives your transom wide berth, recognizing you have gear in the water as much as 300 feet back.

25 years ago, when I had a Prindle 16 catamaran (no engine) I was trolling for bluefish on the lower Potomac, when a waterski boat decided it would be funny to do a loop around my boat, quite close. Suddenly, one the reels started to scream, all the line ran out, and it broke off at the spool - unusual, because line generally breaks at the lure end, but I didn't think much about it.

I had already caught one good fish, the skier expereince had bummed me out, and so I stopped fishing and just sailed for a few more hours, wandering my way back to the launch ramp. I de-rigged my boat, secured it on the trailer, and then noticed that the ski boat was back on its trailer too, a swarm of guys hovering around stern drive. It had been towed in.

I wandered over, curious - morbidly - to hear what misfortune had befallen the JERKS when I saw a something familiar. My lure, a 12-inch hose eel, was hanging from his drive. It seems the wire leader had cut through the oil seal, the lube had run out, and in several hours of hard running, he had fried his stern drive.

I walked over, cut my lure free with a multi-tool I had in my pocket, and thanked him from returning my lure. I left for home, directly.

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