Potomac "fishing" report

Also posted on B&B. Once you read it, you’ll see why. Initially posted on a smallmouth bass fishing forum I frequent.


So, here’s how my birthday fishing trip went. It took me from 9AM to 11:50AM to get stuff in my truck. Everything was upside down because of the remodeling we’re doing and it took me forever to find stuff. I put the trailer on the truck, and it wouldn’t go on the ball hitch. Nothing seemed to work. It took me a good ten minutes, a couple applications of grease, and a big honking screwdriver to pry the doohickey open so that it would fall down onto the ball. When I had everything loaded in the truck or the boat and checked the lights, they weren’t working. So I had to run that down. Ends up it was just a bad ground, so it was easy to fix. 11:50 now, and I am heading towards Brunswick. I went to the Roy Rogers for lunch, chatting with Ogbudha hoping that he wasn’t at work and wanted to join me, but he was at work and couldn’t join me. He gave me some capital advice on where to fish, though, and it was a spot that I know well. Nothing like some good advice from someone in touch with the current conditions. So, I get to Brunswick and am playing tour guide answering questions from folks out for bike rides or walks on the canal. I’m not sure why they figured I would know the answers to their questions, but I did and so that was cool. I like talking to people, but it did delay me a bit. I go to get the water jugs to fill with river water for ballast, and the lids aren’t with them. So, down to the ramp to find some loose, big rocks that aren’t so big that I don’t want to or can’t lift them. I find a few and put some ballast in the bow. Ready to launch. Launch is no problem. It all went smoothly. The end of the ramp is exposed, so at the end of the ramp, the tires went off to the river bottom, which is about a three or four inch drop. I found this entertaining, because with the canoe still attached, it floated the trailer, which made for an interesting but uneventful disconnection. I put on a painter, tie it to a rock that was too big for me to lift, and put the trailer back.

So far, so good. I disconnect the painter and drop anchor. First trip with a new anchor outrigger. It’s removable. That matters later. The engine starts on the second pull. Great! So I attempt to retrieve the anchor and it won’t retrieve. The line has slipped off the pulley and jammed between the pulley and the thing around the pulley. So I carefully walk up to the bow and fix that, then carefully walk back to the aft and sit down and retrieve the anchor. Then I use an oar to make sure the engine is in deep water (this is an inappropriate and extremely relative term right now) and engage the prop. Not deep enough. So, I panic and cut off the engine the quickest way I know how, which is to pull the kill switch. Then I use an oar like a paddle to get out into the river, which is not the first time I’ve done this trip as Br’er Rat can attest. Out in the river, I drop anchor in what I think is deeper water and restart the engine. Ooops. Ends up that I never put the engine into neutral, so I shoot off like a rocket with the anchor down. This proceeds to pop the removable anchor outrigger off and wedge the line between the pulley and the thing around the pulley again. So I put the engine into neutral this time (I am learning!) and then carefully walk up to the bow and pull the anchor into the boat and then carefully walk back to the aft and sit down. Then I reengage the transmission and the prop promptly hits a rock that I drifted into while walking carefully from the fore to the aft.

Now, I did not know this had happened yet, because we’re in a bunch of weeds. So I figured the weeds had got around the prop and were making it ineffective. So I go under power AND oar as a paddle to some rocks. Before getting too close to the rocks, I cut off the engine, put it into neutral, and stow it. I am really learning now! The current isn’t too strong, so I allow the current to pin the boat up against the rocks. I turned around and pulled the weeds off the prop and the hangy down thingy between the part that goes vroom vroom and the whirly part of the outboard. It was a technical procedure, I hope you could follow all that engineering talk.

I then walk carefully to the bow of the boat to reattach the anchor outrigger and loosen the line. I am successful in this endeavor, so I walked carefully to the stern and sat down. I pushed off the rocks a little bit with an oar and dropped anchor, which only had the stern pinned gently against the rock now. I made four casts. At that point, it occurred to me that my family is not expecting me home yet and I’m not going to have much fun fishing right then anyway, and I can use the time to get a new prop. So I rowed in. By this time, the wind had kicked up pretty strong. This is a good thing, because it allowed me to just row gently against the current and the wind pushed me across river to the launch. Easiest ferry I’ve ever had. Now about that rock. The way that I know I hit a rock that busted the blade off the prop is that on this ferry back across the river, I saw my prop blade sitting there on top of a rock right by some weeds. Lovely. Sorry, but I did not drop anchor again to hop out and retrieve it. Hope you can forgive me.

I get the boat loaded up. Dick was at the ramp with a buddy from North Carolina and so I chatted with them a bit. Howdy Dick, if you’re reading this. They were kind enough to help me load. I had located TWO props at Beavers in Winchester, so I headed out there. I picked up the props and went over to visit my buddy LazyFisher who lives in Winchester. We had a nice visit, and I replaced the prop and inspected the shear pin.

I made excuses for not staying longer saying that I had to get home to celebrate my birthday with the kids. So off I went. As I go down the road towards home, I blew out the right tire on the trailer. The reason I don’t have a spare is that they are difficult to find. So finding one at ten 'till 6:00 on a Tuesday night, by phone, without a yellow pages didn’t work out. So I called my wife to rescue me, which is always something a man likes to do. She brought the roof racks and bed extender for my truck. I unloaded the trailer, stashed it in some high weeds right next to a No Trespassing sign, and left a note. We got home at about 7:20PM.

So, my day from 9:00AM and 7:20PM was dedicated to a fishing trip which included about 400 yards of river width, about zero yards of attainment, and four casts. I broke a prop and blew out a trailer tire and was late for my own birthday celebration with my family.

Still, it was a fun day.

  • Big D

Should be titled: “Murphy’s Potomac
Great Adventure!”

That you are able to laugh after all that speaks volumes about your character Big_D.

Of course, I wasn’t within hearing range when this all happened! :-p

But then, I did hear something from the north yesterday, that I thought was a Racoon fighting.


Nah, I was laughing.
Not sure that it says anything about my character, but it sure says something about my sense of humor.

  • Big D

I’d be singin the spare tire blues ??
… Can’t tell ya how many times I’ve tempted fate with the spare tire either missing or underinflated (not regularly checked) . Fortunately I’ve gotten away with it , but figurin I’ve been given more than my share of extra chances … the spare is a checklist item nowadays . Guess it’s going to be that way with you too now !!

I only know of one ramp in Brunswick , the one under the bridge … is that where you launched ??

Not sure if they make a prop for your motor , but “Pirhana” made these props that had composite blades … the blades were independently replacable is case one got broke off on a rock or something .

The idea was to carry an extra set of blades .

I don’t think I would like your bow anchor pully rig very much !! … by hand is the only way that I like .

And belated happy B-Day … it’s water under the bridge now .

Working on the spare tire
You can take that sentence in more ways than one and they’d all be accurate. :slight_smile:

I don’t like the anchor trolley thingy very much either, but with a couple very minor design modifications, it will be the cat’s pajamas. I’m going to remove the pulley and replace it with a padeye and carabiner. That will give all the room in the world for the rope to slide through but still give as much limitation to sideways motion as I require. I’m also going to add a carriage bolt or two and affix it to front handle area with more than friction. With that, it will be sturdy, solid, and smooth.

I also need to add a couple of camlocks or jam cleats, one each for the rowing station and the motor station so that I can adjust the line from either seat.

I’ll have a spare tire once I get things straightened out. I’m also going to replace the odd integrated hub and wheel with a more normal hub with four lugs so that I can get spare tires pretty much anywhere. It’s actually less expensive to redo with those hubs than it is to replace the integrated ones. Go figure.

I learned a lot of lessons and made it home in one piece. That’s enough for now.

  • Big D

ok big d
since you were so honest, i’ll share mine with you. i once had a nice spare tire hanging from the bottom of my truck. one day i needed it and it was gone. i’m like what? was i driving along and the tire just dropped off into the road and i missed it? i could vaguely remember people honking and pointing once while i was right in the middle of a good song. as old as i am , there’s still a little blondoneese left in me. just ask pilot. lol

That gave me a good chuckle. I get into songs on the radio that way too.

  • Big D

What I take this this…
You always found a way to recover. You were able to over come your adversity and go with a new plan. I often find that being flexible is key and you did it with a sense of humor.

As I read your post I kept wondering to my self what could happen next? And you kept topping even my dreadful thoughts.

Kudos to you,