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The Occasional Fisherman: Ever have a day like this?
Ernie Mitchell
Ernie Mitchell writes about fishing for the Bryan County News

Most fishermen have watched the Bill Dance blooper videos. If you haven’t, look them up on YouTube. Think of slapstick humor like Laurel and Hardy or the Three Stooges.

I can’t help but think that many of us can relate to them, even in our fishing times. Think back to your childhood, or maybe yesterday — bet you can come up with one.

So I asked some of my fishing friends to share experiences. So far, everyone I talked to has at least one story. It’s looking like this will take more than one column to get them in print. Please take the time to share yours with me by emailing to

Carlos Flowers of Statesboro told me that his longtime dream, upon retirement from working 40 years with Amoco Fabrics, was to buy the boat of his dreams. It would be comfortable like a pontoon boat but have the features of a bass boat.

After a thorough search he and his wife, Margaret, found a compact pontoon boat. It had two swivel seats, a 9.9 horse power engine, trolling motors front and back. Then he and his wife went to Bass-Pro and bought all the latest gear. They were ready to catch fish.

Carlos’ head swelled with pride as he got oohs and ahs and photos taken from folks on the road and the fishermen at the bait shop. He would make it into local fishing lore.

Launching went well — until he put it in forward and rammed the opposite dock before heading to the honey hole. Explosive laughter came from the shore.

From there the cruising was fine — until he geared up the rods, coasted to the timber-filled bass haven and the boat bumped a standing tree with a black wasp nest.

The wasps quickly swarmed them, and he quickly gassed it out of there. Over the side went four of the new rods. They rescued two with fl ats and minnows attached.

After about five hours of hard fishing and “fun,” they decided to call it a day. They got back in the marked channel, puttering along when, all of a sudden, the bow headed right to the bottom.

Margaret, sitting in the bow, quickly waded to the stern while everything onboard floated away. The motor kept running, pushing the boat, until Carlos’ ankles were in water and Margaret was about to abandon ship.

He got it turned off and the boat floated to the surface. Looking backward, they were able to see tackle boxes, coolers and extra life preserves floating, while the minnow bucket with six dozen minnows was slowly sinking.

They had hit a sandbar in the middle of the river.

Returning to the docks, it looked like the same crew was there. They warned about rumors there was a submarine spotted upstream. Carlos, being the good natured guy he is, shared some beer with those fellows, and all enjoyed a laugh.

The saga will continue in our next column

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