Happy Place

Hey Kids,

Sitting in the dark, with the wind to my back, and the kayak bobbing up and down in the waves one has time to think.bullfrog sunset

The water was too rough to head out so I tied the boat to the string of large tractor tires that form a wind break around the marina and took advantage of the artificial reef it also created.

Between the fish that fell victim to the jigs I threw out, I watched the full moon rise. It reflection and the lights of the marina flickered across the rippled surface of the water.

My thoughts focused on the beauty of it all. The smell of the lake, the warmth of the air, the coolness of the water, and the pull of the fish. There’s a simplicity to it. There’s a complexity to it. There’s a feeling of being part of it.

That is my happy place.

 

Post 3-162

Be Calm and Catch Fish

Hey Kids,

It’s pretty late right now. Actually, it’s really early in the morning, but I’ll count this as last night anyway.

“On business” we are back down to Lake Powell for the weekend. A couple of possible share owners want to see the boat this weekend so we volunteered to be the hosts. It was really just an excuse to stay on the boat, but why not?

The high winds were against us again in traveling down here. The kayaks tied to the top of the car made us sway across the road like we were listening to song but dared not to dance. It was nerve racking and it tests me. I get tested a lot lately.

I make it no secret that I miss my kids. For those who have followed this blog for a while, you know that I write this blog primarily for them. One day I hope one or all of them find it, read it, and if nothing more, learn a little more of who I am and what makes or made me tick. It’s why I always start out with “Hey Kids”.

Over the past several weeks, my emotions have been stretched thin. Sadness and anger are always waiting just under the surface. Little things, like the wind, can trigger a response that isn’t always the most appropriate.

I am also very susceptible to kind gestures as well. The feels overwhelm me and I become a little, well, let’s just say emotional. It’s a terrible roller coaster. Sometimes I wish I could settle out, be more stable. But then again, these intense feelings are my way of knowing that when I say I miss my kids, I’m not BSing myself. It’s not just words.

But tonight I’m back to my lake. A few hours here and I can relax. Already at the dock I’ve watched the boys fishing catch some nice fish. The stripers are prowling the young shad. And if you know nothing more about me, know that I love catching striped bass.

The winds are calming and by morning it should be kayakable for a few hours.

Let the healing waters do their thing. I’m here to catch some fish and to be calm.

Hope the kids join me here someday.

 

Post 3-160

Filling it.

Hey Kids,

18 feet in 22 days. That’s all I need.

Nearly 10 inches per day from now until the end of the month. Mother nature do me proud.

I entered a contest and that was my prediction. I stated officially that Lake Powell would be 509 feet deep at the dam on July 1st.IMG_0103

I’ve been watching the water flow daily. I’ve watched, experienced, and can witness to the nearly 30 feet of rise so far this spring. But I may have outpaced the run off in my last and final prediction.

It’s currently filling at just over 7 ½”, as of yesterday, which would leave me shy but I’ll hold my ground. I’ll stick to my earlier math. And if my total is right and I am randomly selected against any that may have tied me, I’ll use the winnings of one day’s boat rental with pride.

Yes. I am that type of geek.

Sometimes.

 

Post 3-159

Let’s Do It Again!

Hey Kids,

Returning to work seems a little harder than ever leaving at all.

But of course I don’t mean that. It was needed to get away, to take a break.

Even still, my laptop doesn’t wish to connect- perhaps enjoying its vacation as well.

By the end of the week, I’ll be back into the swing.

I can’t wait to do it again in June!

 

Post 3-142

Wind Sick

Hey Kids,

The week drew to a close. The boat was cleaned, the appliances switched off, and the doors locked. It was sad to say good bye to our home and friend born of our adventures. It had served us well, ran beautifully, and had kept us safe.

The bow bobbing in the slip seemed to wave to us good bye.

And then the next adventure began.

High winds accompanied an incoming storm. One that nearly tore the kayaks from our rooftop and tilted the car so far off of its suspension with its gusts, our loss of traction alarm sounded. We had to turn the truck into the wind and wait out the high winds until the front passed.

I have never been so sick of wind as I am right now.

 

Post 3-141

To Dock or Not to Dock

Hey Kids,

The day of fire arrived.

The skies were blue, the air warm, and the winds calm. It would be smooth boating from our beautiful spot at the Rincon, back up the channel, and near our return to Bullfrog Marina. This would be the easy part.

The first three hours of traveling passed without incident, as expected, with nearly no traffic until we got within an hour of Bullfrog. Slowly more crafts began to share the channel. I had no worries. I kept the boat traveling from buoy to buoy and changed course only to give way to a few faster houseboats.CleatRope

As turned off of the main channel and steered into Bullfrog Bay, we spied our target: the waste pump docks. It was now time for me to pilot this boat into a bust marina and onto a public dock. Fortunately, the outer dock was open but that would not matter if I could not dock, or worse smash the hull into the crapper. As luck and maybe some acquired skill would have it I was able to guide the boat to a gentle kiss. And after our procedure, it was time to park the boat into the slip.

Our neighboring slip not only help its boat, but one of its owner sat on the back deck, with her yappy dog, and reading a book. Under her eye, I was able to pivot the boat and drive the boat into its slip without a touch to the dock on either side (with Annette guarding with dock poles of course) (in other words, I would’ve touched without her guidance).

Once the dock lines were secured and the motors placed at rest. The baptism by fire had ended.

And I confirmed a competent captain.

Potty dock confirmed.

 

Post 3-140

This Was The Day

Hey Kids,

Another beautiful day.

We took the kayaks a mile upriver and checked out Iceberg Canyon. The girls traveled much faster than I did, so I fish and picked up some smallmouth bass in and around the rocks in the mouth of the canyon while they continued up further.

We returned, ate some lunch and as the day began to stretch towards it conclusion, I paddled back out into the bay on water so calm it seemed like looking into a mirror. I found the school once again and caught stripers until it got so dark I couldn’t see anymore.

This was the day at Powell for which I had been waiting.

 

Post 3-139

Posted Retroactively

They Were Lost But Now They’re Found

Hey Kids,

Found at last!

After searching for a little while, and several times elsewhere, I found the school of stripers. The fishing map I have gave the clues and once we had calm winds and sunshine, I got out to the spot and spent a few hours searching.

The kayak has its advantages, but not on the list is searching open water and the general lack of electronics. But I’m a little seasoned now in the handling of the boat and my hand held can give me depths and sometimes even tells me of the presence of fish (although it does have a tendency to lie from time to time).

I also had to contend with a boat that want to troll through where I was trying to scout. Out of curtesy I would alter my course to allow them to troll though. The same gesture was not offered to me. It was a little pain in the butt but I held my ground (water, even that sounds wrong), and they eventually left.

Off the point of the little island, the depths drop off to about 30-50 feet of water. From there I would paddle straight out from its point until the water dropped off quickly to about 100 feet. I had brought two rods. A lighter spinning outfit that I thought would be good for the rocky points in shallow water for Smallmouth, and a heavier baitcasting outfit for the deeper water and stripers. However, I am also of the mindset that one should always use as many rods as one has. I tipped both outfits with anchovies and casted them out from the kayak and allowed them to drift and swing back to me.

The slight breeze and waves would then slowly push me back towards the island. The school, I found, were handing out along that sharp drop off in about 80-50 feet of water. When my baits hit that spot, it was time to hang on. Having fish on both rods was not uncommon. The smaller rod, that I’ve had with me for as long as I can remember, did just fine. It can now add stripers to its long list of fish caught on it.

As I may’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the striped bass is not a timid fish. They take the bait with a vengeance and pull like a Mack truck. By the time I would land one or both fish, the kayak would be pulled out of position and I would have to find the spot again, rig up and begin my drift. Of course, learning where that drop off was, and matching the depths to the bite took a number of experiences to dial it in. And then the afternoon winds came.may18

During the wind break, I filleted several of the fish and fried them in a pan of oil and seasoned with Old Bay. I sat and munched on crispy fish bits and tartar sauce while reading for a few hours.

The wind died down early in the evening and I set back out on calm waters and found my spot. I fish until near dark, catching my last striper of the day against the orange glow of the last bit of sunlight reflected off the few remaining clouds and the redrock cliffs of the lake. It was a picture worth a thousand memories and one that I will forever have in my head.

It was one of the best days I have spent on this lake.

 

Post 3-138

Stormy B-Day

Hey Kids, rainyBday

Birthday #51 was spent fighting storms and hoping to keep the boat anchored tight.

Freak storms came at us from one way and then back from the other. The boat was harassed by white caps and wind gusts that made us power the engines to feel like we’d still have a boat.

It wasn’t that much fun, but it’s the boating life and especially at Lake Powell.

But for a birthday- I don’t think I would’ve had it any other way.

Except for maybe actual fishing time.

 

Post 3-137

 

Posted retroactively on May 24, 2017

The Rewards of Being Neighborly

Hey Kids,

The wind blew today. It blew a little more later on. And then tonight it’s blowing still.

So we have opted to wait until tomorrow before we try to leave the slip.Instead we kayaked around the bay and more importantly, I caught some fish. Good fish too.

This evening, knowing that fishing was most likely off the menu, I walked the docks. I look at other boats and evaluate what I like and what I think I don’t, what color schemes look the best, and I wonder who the hell really has enough money to own some of the bigger nicer boats.

I also took the opportunity to introduce myself to the owners of a boat on the dock opposite from us. We’ve seen them a couple of times since we’ve been coming down here and have waved as we paddled by in our kayaks.

It turns out that the pair of guys that were sitting on the back deck of the boat are avid striper fishermen.

howie

A Howard Special- as featured on a popular Lake Powell website

And the one gentlemen is a pro lure maker; he gave me few to try out. I learned invaluable information and now can’t wait to get back out fishing. Once the wind stops blowing.

Sometimes it pays to reach out a hand and say hi. You never know who you might meet. And what they might know about fishing.

 

Post 3-135