Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fishing for Swans

Mr. Arnold had a pond EIEIO,
And on this pond he had a swan EIEIO.

In fact there were three swans. Arnold has a pair of swans that hatched two more swans but one met an early demise, cause unknown. Last night, he almost lost another one.

As any alert reader of this little blog knows, every time Arnold and I get together around water, something bad happens. The Missus and I had accepted an invitation to the Arnold abode for some barbeque and a brewski or two. Somewhere between the beers and the ribs, Arnold suggest that we step outside so that I could check out a couple of his fishing reels; ease of casting, that sort of thing. You see, I was in the market for a new reel as my favorite Bass Pro Special had blown up on me last year at Lake Fork.

Arnold had three reels ready for my observation. Two were identical but with lures of a different weight. The third was the same brand that self destructed right in front of me when I needed it the most. He demonstrated the best way to set the tension to reduce the dreaded backlash, the bird’s nest, my personal nemesis on the water. I honestly think I spend more time picking knots out of the line than I do fishing, thus my interest in a quality reel. Of course, better gear isn’t always the answer. It may be like photography; if only I had a better camera, I could take better photos.

Arnold made a long cast into the wind (always a little tricky) and even though he hadn’t used his thumb to control the speed of the reel, there was zero backlash. I was impressed. He then picked up the reel like I had previously owned, and made the same cast. The line spun up and coiled and looped, a familiar sight to me.

But while Arnold was clearing the reel, the male and the biggest of the swans, swam over to investigate the floating thing in the water. He didn’t try to eat it thank goodness, but  he did manage to snag the lure.

So here’s the scene: A giant white bird is paddling across the pond as best he can with a Rapala Rattletrap hooked in his left leg while a grown man with a glass of beer is trying to reel him in. The rod is bent as Arnold dashes along the shore, hoping to get the bird to the bank with as little physical damage as possible. What a time for a camera. The swan failed to see the humor in this and complained mightily; HONK, HONK, HONK, as he was slowly brought to shore. I tried to help and grabbed the bird by the goozle in a feeble attempt to calm him down. The pressure on his neck turned his HONK into a kind of HINK, a sound I’d never heard a swan make before. In the meantime, Arnold was taking a beating from those huge flapping wings not unlike being in the ring with a white Mike Tyson.

Luckily, the lure was dislodged with a minimum of effort, there was no blood, and the swan lived to swim another day. It was a lot like the old joke about an Okie’s last words.

“Here, hold my beer and watch this.”

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