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The Occasional Fisherman: Ever have a day like this -- twice?
Or, always wear a PFD (personal flotation device)
Ernie Mitchell
Ernie Mitchell writes about fishing for the Bryan County News

Last column we learned about Carlos Flower’s inaugural voyage in his compact pontoon boat. How his wife Margaret had to scramble to the back as the bow plowed into a hidden sandbar, washing all the gear into the river.

Well, Flowers is not the type of guy to give up easy. After all, he used to jump out of airplanes for the Army. So Carlos recovered, cleaning up his fishing boat to like-new condition. His dream boat with four swivel seats, trolling motors bow and stern and a 9.9 horsepower outboard motor was ready to hit the road,

So, a condo in St. Augustine was rented and Flowers headed south.

The crew successfully launched and headed down the Intracoastal Waterway, spending 5-6 hours of enjoyable fishing that first day. The cooler contained a decent haul of trout and redfish. They headed back to the condo, cruising along, satisfied with a great day of fishing.Carlos, having grown up in the Surrency-Baxley area, had fished plenty of ponds, lakes and rivers.

Tide change, on the other hand, was not something he’d had to consider. Then, wham.

Just like the first voyage.

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Bow down, stern up, gear fl ating away, cooler of fish headed to Davey Jones’ locker. Using his experience from the initial semi-sinking, Carlos recovered well, minus the dinner catch and some gear. The crew got the boat back to the condo, cleaned it up, went out to eat, ready to head back to Georgia in the morning.

Driving north on I-95, Carlos was still proud of his compact pontoon boat. That’s when he saw the two beautiful blondes in a car in the passing lane.

They were looking over at him. Think Chevy Chase in the movie “Vacation.”

Carlos’ chest swelled with pride as they pointed to his dream boat. He waved back. And that’s when Carlos’ wife said, “They are not looking at you, they’re looking at the boat.”

And that’s when they both saw the smoke.

The front trolling motor clamp had slipped loose.

The shaft lipped to the pavement. The base of the motor, which is shaped like a large bullet, was nearly completely ground off, propeller gone.

It looked like an iron instead of a bullet.

Returning to their pond house outside of Surrency, Carlos removed the outboard motor and declared the compact pontoon boat now his “pondtoon” boat.

You can reach Mitchell, the occasional fisherman, at He’s always looking for a good fishing story.

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