The Last Windrow: Why haven't I launched my fishing boat yet this year?

It seems that with age some of the luster has come off the sport.

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What is happening to me? My fishing boat has not yet left our garage after I tuned it up in April!

Something is very wrong!

In my youth, I was known to have gotten nose bleeds in anticipation of going fishing. I dreamed of pulling a giant carp or catfish from the slow moving rivers in my part of Iowa. I eagerly dug a can of earthworms from under our barn's eaves and watched as my mother boiled up a batch of corn "doughballs" atop our farm kitchen's cookstove.

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Going fishing was all that occupied my thoughts the week before our trip to the river.

I really never lost that zest for the sport through all the years of my growing up and adulthood. I eagerly purchased my first fishing license at age 16 and I've purchased at least one every year ever since, including my Canadian licenses.

My neighbor, Norman, and I paged through the outdoor magazines and purchased lures that would never work, but they looked good on paper. We made our first sojourn to northern Minnesota in 1962, and I couldn't wait to toss that first lure into the lake. Even if the first bite I had ended up to be a chunk of weeds, it felt good to feel my new fishing rod bend under the strain.

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Over the years I've managed to catch just about every freshwater fish that swims. No paddlefish or sturgeon yet, but just about everything from eelpout to dogfish to a rather large muskellunge. Along the way there were stringers holding walleyes, bass, northern pike, crappie, bluegill, trout and salmon.

You could say that my boyhood fishing dreams have been fulfilled.

So, why is it that my fishing boat has not yet been towed out of our garage? It seems that with age some of the luster has come off the sport. Could it be that over the years our garden has enlarged every year, demanding more attention? Or that my brothers and sisters have moved away from home and no longer require the guide services of their oldest sibling?


The price of a license hasn't gone up that much so that wouldn't be a reason to let my boat rest atop its trailer with nary a drop of water in the livewell.

I was blessed to have fished before the advent of the invasive species problem. I could pull into any public access and unload my boat without thinking about anything except which sandbar to fish first. Now as I back up to the ramp I am approached by a person with a clipboard in his or her hand and I know I'm about to be questioned about where I have been, where I'm going, how long my boat has been out of the water and if I've remembered to remove my drain plug.

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I know that process is important, but I've got enough forms to fill out already and don't really need to fill out another one. But, we must all do our part I guess.

This summer's extra warmth hasn't done much to spur me onward as well. There is nothing quite like sitting atop a flat, calm lake with nary a breeze and soaking in a 100-degree temperature. Dousing oneself with enough suntan lotion to clog your pores is not really the most pleasant feeling.

Perhaps avoiding the pain of a sunburn is the reason that has my boat sitting idle this summer.

I keep telling myself that this fall I'm going to hit the water with a vengeance and make up for all these days on dry land. I will again hear the roar of the 40-horsepower Johnson motor and feel the spray as it crosses my face. I will again sense the light tap on the end of my line that I know is a walleye waiting for the frying pan.


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I keep telling myself that the good days are just ahead.

I'm getting so excited I might even spout a nosebleed, just like the old days. I hope the season isn't closed because of fire danger due to this year's drought. That would about top it. That has happened before. Pray for rain!

See you next time. Okay?

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