It had been a while since I’d dared to venture onto the water with Arnold. Faithful readers of past experiences concerning Arnold and a boat will remember the many near death occurrences as we navigated the local lakes and waterways in pursuit of a fish or two. You may also recall that alcohol was, predictably, a factor.It started with a phone call. “I got me a brand new Minn Kota trolling motor,” Arnold exclaimed. I could hear the excitement in his voice.
“What was wrong with your old one?” I ask.
“Well, nothing until my son tried to drive the boat on the trailer while the trolling motor was still down.”(Ah, ha. Let the record show that Arnold’s catastrophes do not always happen while I’m around, just most of the time.)“This one is a doozy. It has this feature that will keep the boat within five feet of where you tell it to stay.”
“Bull."“No, no. It will. Or so they claim. We got to try it out.”
This I had to see. We loaded up, stocked the ice chest with beer (of course), and took a couple fishing poles to Lake Skiatook.It was nippy out, the wind from the north, but the sun was shining and we were blessed with a rare phenomena in Oklahoma, clear skies with only ten miles per hour wind, well maybe 15. Of course, we could have simply motored out a few hundred yards or so, dropped the new trolling motor, checked it out, and then have a few brewskies. But no. Arnold drops the hammer on the big motor and we head into the wind to try and locate some underwater structure on his fish finder. Why? I have no idea as Arnold didn’t intend to fish it anyway.
It’s time for the big test. Arnold throws out an orange float with a lead anchor on it. This will be our point of reference. We lower the trolling motor and Arnold hauls out yet another feature of his new toy, a remote control. Yes, a remote, just like the one for your TV. Lord, lord, what will they think of next?Arnold punches some buttons. The Minn Kota comes to life. And damned if it didn’t do as claimed. Well, maybe not five feet, but close enough. As we drifted downwind, the thing would power up, change heading, turn the boat around, and take us right back to our little orange marker. Amazing. We sat in the back of the boat, relaxing with beers in hand, and marveled at the technology.
With most people, that would be the end of the story. Not with Arnold. He decides we might as well fish a little since we’re there and heads up a narrow creek lined with dead trees. No, we didn’t sink the boat on a stump but we did run aground on a sandbar. It took a while, but a few anxious minutes later, we were able to pull ourselves free with the motor and not have to jump in and push. Did I mention the water temp was 55 degrees? I know this because the trolling motor told me so.Arnold does catch one little bass, but that was it. We were out of beer and decide to call it quits and head for the ramp. By now the wind has risen to the more familiar rate of 20-25 miles an hour. Lots of waves, a very rough and bumpy ride, but that does not deter Captain Arnold and we speed across the lake with all the power the 150 horse Mercury can muster. That is until the brand new fancy and very intelligent Minn Kota trolling motor got a case of the dumb ass and shook loose from its mount, flopping into the water while the boat was doing a good 50 mph or so. There was a loud thump as a huge splash of cold water drenched the boat. Oh no! For a moment, I’d thought we’d torn the motor from the mount, to die a watery death at the bottom of the lake. No. The Minn Kota hung on. Arnold checks the shaft for odd angles, but all appears well.
All in all, it was a good outing. The sun was bright, birds were singing, and nobody died.Next time, we’ll take more beer.