Fishing for Big Bass – Getting There

Written by on April 29, 2018 No Comments

The thing about living in Michigan is that winters are long and it’s hard to fish our rivers and lakes several months of the year unless you like ice fishing.  I’ve never gotten into ice fishing:  I prefer certain alcoholic beverages on ice, as well as Coke.  But standing on ice and waiting for a fish to bite, pulling it out of a tiny hole and putting it back into the frigid water afterwards?  That just makes me want to drink more alcoholic beverages on ice…inside my house, where it’s warm.

By the end of March, 2018, our Michigan winter had extended into spring and Mark and I were sick of snow and cold and antsy to go fishing.  We’d planned months before to go to Florida to fish with Bob Stonewater, bass guide extraordinaire.  All we had to do is get there.

We left on March 23 after I’d worked 10 hours and had failed to get everything done on my to-do list.  Mark drove–and you will see why we drove in a bit.  Between emails, I mentioned several times that I’d had exactly three crackers and a cheese stick for lunch.  Mark kept on driving, determined to get out of Michigan.  When I mentioned at 7:20 that a vacation was supposed to be fun, not torturous, and that I might kill him with the ice scraper if he chose to drive further, he finally pulled off for a drive-thru Arby’s.   We waited 20 minutes–first in the drive-thru line and then, after I lost patience, inside the building–for two lousy sandwiches and a potato cake.   It turns out every Catholic in whatever Ohio town we were in orders fish on Friday nights at Arby’s, that, per a local man missing two teeth and waiting with us for a sandwich.

The sun had set unceremoniously while we’d waited, and I drove on into the dark for another half hour before we found a motel room and passed out under clean sheets and a coverlet that weighed ten pounds and suffocated me.  I awoke at 2 a.m. in a slimy ooze of sweat, turned the a/c down to 60 degrees and went back to sleep.

The forecast the next day included snow in Cincinnati.  Weathermen were right about that.  And about everywhere else they predicted snow.

Note the sign in the far right, suggesting slippery roads.

I drove through snow for half the day and kept driving south until it was warm enough for the snow to turn into a snow-rain mix and then, finally, rain.

Who new rain would be welcome on a long drive?

It was 5:30 by the time we got to Mark’s nephew’s house under partially cloudy skies. We unloaded the drum set that had been in our basement untouched for many, many years, and left it in the capable hands of Mark’s three-year-old grand nephew.  Yes, that is the main reason we drove.

Betcha Mark’s nephew and his wife loved us after this, huh?

We tried to smuggle their French bulldog, Rubble, but they wouldn’t let us.

After dinner with Mark’s nephew and extended family and a night under covers that didn’t try to smother me, we finished our drive to Orange City, Florida.  Here’s how we new we had arrived.

No helmets, short-sleeves, and a dog in a side car.

We found colorful, cold drinks at the Swamp House Grill in Debary, about 10 minutes from our motel, along with crab cakes and sides, all while overlooking the St. John’s River, which is reputed to hold monster bass.  As we ate I was happy Mark was to going to have the chance to catch a 10-pound bass.  I’d set everything up to help him check that off his bucket list.  The rest was up to him…and a guide who’d turn out to be more obsessed about fishing than Mark.

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