Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The $500 Bass

For the past fourteen years, Cheri has gone to the beach every spring with a group of her friends.  Before my boys were in high school, we would use that time to take our own trip somewhere.  One of those times, I took them to Scottsboro, Alabama for some golf and fishing at Goose Pond Colony.  Goose Pond is situated in a picturesque setting on the banks of the Tennessee River’s Lake Guntersville and surrounded by the Cumberland Mountains.  The park has an 18-hole golf course with wide, open fairways and a marina. 

In my youth, and through my college years, I spent a lot of time fishing in Scottsboro.  My Uncle Harry and Aunt Naomi had a house on the lake, and I loved getting up and taking the boat out early in the morning.  When that wasn’t an option, my dad and grandpa would take us to whatever location my grandpa said the fish were biting, and we would spend our vacation days fishing. 

I had taken my boys fishing a few times when they were younger, but they never really enjoyed it.  The fish were never biting, and they got bored, so we didn’t pursue that as an interest for them.  We enjoyed playing golf together, and had a great time playing at Goose Pond.  But I had a treat in store for them … and for myself.  I had arranged to rent a pontoon boat at the marina for the afternoon so I could take them out on the waters where I loved to fish in my youth.

We loaded our gear onto the boat and headed out of the marina toward the Tennessee River.  It was a beautiful day, and I was hopeful that my boys would catch some fish.  Perhaps if they did, they would understand why I loved it so much.  As we were passing through the channel to the river, I suddenly heard a “thunk” and the boat lurched in the water.  I looked in the water just behind the boat and saw the tip of a submerged buoy just barely sticking up out of the water.

We were still moving at a slow speed, and the boat seemed fine, so we proceeded out to the river.  When I accelerated the motor, I heard a strange gurgling sound, and the boat was difficult to steer.  But I was determined we were going fishing.  So, we headed on up the river and found a nice cove where we could start fishing. 

We fished for about an hour and I caught a single bass that weighed about three pounds.  But to my dismay, my boys had no luck at all.  They quickly grew tired of tossing their lures into the water over and over again.  Finally, I agreed to head back to the marina.

As we pulled up to the boat dock, the marina attendant heard the gurgling sound from the motor.  He took one look and informed me that I had broken the housing on the motor and I was going to have to pay for the repairs.  And if it couldn’t be repaired, I would be paying about $1,200 to replace the motor.

About a week later, I received a bill from the marina for repairs in the amount of $500.  I was thankful that it wasn’t $1,200!  As I wrote the check, I thought about the $500 bass.  No wonder my boys don’t like to go fishing!

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