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Backlashes, Broken Rods And Two dogs That Could Fish?

9/12/2013 9:21:51 AM

There are times in one's life if you are luck enough to live a long life as I have that you chance upon certain things that you just never forget. The following are the true, to the best of my memory, of two such occurrences. Both deal with unique dogs and their wonderful owners.

In those early days of my guiding career I met a young man named Randy who worked for or at least hung around the marina a great deal. He owned an old yellow boat that was unique in its ugliness and also in the way it steered. The steering had somehow broken, so Randy rigged the boat so that the rack and pinion steering went into the bottom of the control rather than the top. Why was this so odd? It meant that to steer left, you turned the wheel right and to go right you turned thee wheel left. I tried to run the boat a few times but it was just to odd for me. But given that Randy's boat was, shall we say different, was not the reason I remember him so fondly.

He owned this dog, I believe his name was Buddy, and it was one of the smartest dogs I ever saw. The dog knew all the usual tricks but what set it off in my mind was one special thing. The dog loved burgers! Well that in itself is not so unique, but as much as Budddy loved those Burgers, Randy could set one in front of it and tell the dog to watch it. The owner could be gone for fifteen minutes or several hours and the faithful canine would guard that burger. Upon Randy's return and on command the dog would gulp that burger.

This however was not the dog's only talent. Far from it to say the lest, because this dog could fish. Perhaps not in the figuratively way but he rode up on the front of the boat and I believe this dog could point fish. Why do I believe this? Well a little humility is due here on my part. At that time I believed that I was the best of the best when it came to catching and locating fish and had been written up in all the local newspapers and in the Big Five of sports magazines. Yes, in retrospect I am ashamed to admit it, but I was really full of myself. Now imagine, if you will, how I felt when this young man suddenly came upon the scene and caught as many or more fish than I. He did not follow me as a great many did, but he had this secret weapon. Yes Buddy! Since we often fished in fairly close proximity I could observe that dog and its behavior. The dog would sit faithfully by his owner until whatever it sensed turned it into a fishing demon. The dog would begin to run from one end of the boat to the other barking and looking into the water. And then right on cue, Randy would begin to catch fish, one after until he filled his ice chest or decided to move on.

It was also strange that when Randy was not catching fish, the dog would seemingly run up and nip him until he caught another sandie or hybrid. Now folks I will tell you that I became good friends with this young man and came to know that he was an excellent fisherman and could fish with the best of them, but I still believe his wonderful dog Buddy had something to do with it.

The other unique dog was a snow white, long haired, blue eyed, mammoth of an animal named Snowball. I am sad to say that I cannot remember his owner's names. Sort of a "senior moment" if you will, but it was a long time ago. The man and wife team always brought the long haired beast on the hottest days in the middle of summer and one would have felt sorry for the animal if they did not know the secret to keeping this huge animal cool. They always brought two twenty pound bags of ice forr the dog lion to lay on. Snowball would lay on that ice and hardly even pant, though that could paint a misconception in the reader's minds, as the dog was ten times the size of a normal dog, and while I used the term "hardly" I still had to keep my bilge pumps running to keep the boat afloat from his drool.

At any rate the dog was as docile as a little lamb, that is until a fish was caught. Once that happened the dog went ballistic!. It did not matter what size or species of fish that first one was, it belonged to Snowball, as did the second, third,etc! Not knowing how the dog prized "his fish" I mistakenly tossed back the first small one I caught on that first trip with the three. Bad mistake! The beast charged me and began to snarl and show his five inch white fangs{hey I am a guide}until his owner called him off. When I asked what I did wrong to arouse "the call of the wild" in the giant, she informed me that all fish belong to Snowball. I foolishly asked what if the fish was too small to legally keep, the lady just laughed and said that if I valued my hands I should just toss the fish to the beast.

I watched as the two began to catch one sandie after another and noted that they always threw the sandie or hybrid to Snowball. The garbage disposal promptly bit the heads off and ate them. Every single one! I innocently asked what a game warden might think or do when he wanted to look at or measure the fish as wardens often do that Snowball now kept piled in front of him. They both replied, "You have got to be kidding!" Well in retrospect I doubt that an officer would have risked decapitation to measure the fish, I would probably just have been shot. Other than the fact that I just knew a warden would appear and take me away, the only other thing that Snowball's crazy antics caused was when it was time to fillet the catch. See, his owners were also afraid of him and the only way to get him away from the fish was for them to tell him it was time for a swim. As soon as Snowball left, I would grab the headless fish and make a mad dash for the cleaning table. Have you ever tried to fillet a headless fish? Double yuck!

I fished with the three a number of times and became good friends with the owners and somewhat of a friend to the dog, or perhaps he just put up with me because he knew that I would put him on his fish head feast at sometime during the trip.

The Cajun Guide/Johnny Procell

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