“When Things Go Bad”
By Michael “LOBY” Lobenstein
(Visit www.lobybaits.com for more tips)
This months edition of the GoOD FiShIn’ article ironically ties into previous articles in being prepared for your outings as well as having a plan should things go awry.
Well folks…….things went “Really Bad” and in a hurry, on a recent outing on a Wisconsin Dells area rural lake while guiding a friend and client from Michigan who drove eight hours to join me in an extreme fishing outing for the weekend. He nor I knew just how EXTREME the outing would be.
Greg , who is a “custom fishing rod builder” arrived on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. at my home, we took his belongings into his guest room at our home and then Greg and I immediately headed for the lake and some expected great Northern Pike and Largemouth Bass action and made the trip to the lake in record time to start our outing.
We arrived at the lake and unloaded the Gheenee which is a heavy duty, wide bodied flat back canoe which is extremely durable and quite heavy. It is equipped with a 60# thrust trolling motor for power and will go just about anywhere. As we glided across the lake under partly cloudy skies and having viewed the weather radar prior to leaving had no reason to be wary of impending bad weather, just some serious fishing was on tap.
We started in an area that I had done well in the day before and it was not long until Greg landed a beautiful Largemouth Bass, followed by two more. His x-treme outing was underway and the fish were cooperating as I had expected. After fishing in this area for an hour or so we decided to head for a cove on the south east portion of the lake which had produced a number of huge fish in the prior week.
Arriving in the cove, I pointed out four targeted areas to Greg that we would be targeting. The sky I noticed, had gotten a bit gray at this point, however being a trained weather spotter at no time prior to the occurrence about to happen did I once feel it was “threatening” in nature. We hooked into a big Bass right away and our attention was devoted to some intense heavy cover Bass fishing for the next hour. Suddenly out of no where a huge bolt of lightning struck the tip of the wooded area adjacent to where we were fishing. Every fisher knows it times to get off the water and seek shelter immediately. We attempted to do just that.
The cove we were fishing also was against a bluff which shielded the impending weather from our view and it was on us before we knew it. As I spun the Gheenee around and headed for the landing which was only about 300 yards away, other than the lightning strike it was not even raining nor was their a wisp of a breeze!
As we left the cove as fast as the trolling motor would push us and reaching the center of the lake, I looked back to the west to see a “WALL of WIND” and “HEAVY RAIN” about 100 yards away and closing fast, too fast to outrun the straight-line winds, believed to be in excess of 90 mph by best estimates! I warned Greg to “hold on” as I swung the nose of the boat into the “storm wall” to avoid a broadside hit and cut the wind. It was at this point where we believe this was a tornado “enveloped” in rain that literally formed a mile west of our location and was bearing down on us.
The serene calm and lazy afternoon had just turned “ferocious” as it made contact with the boat with indescribable force of the likes I have only seen on “hurricane” coverage on the news. We were literally lifted five feet in the air from the waters surface, at which point the Gheenee “inverted” and we found ourselves being slammed upside down onto the waters surface. Plunging under water in total amazement my thoughts immediately were on the safety of my friend Greg, who was still under the water. As he surfaced, I yelled for him to grasp the now upside down Gheenee Canoe and hold on as well to keep his head down. The storm was fierce and continued to pelt us for what seemed an eternity. Thankfully, we were in only six feet of water and were able to hold our position as the storm passed over us and just as suddenly as it hit, it was gone!
We had kept our heads literally and figuratively as the skies cleared and calm returned, other than the Gheenee being upside down and thousands of dollars worth of rods and gear lay at our feet, we were unhurt. We immediately made a plan on righting the boat and collecting as much gear that lay floating or submerged at our feet as fast as possible and swim, or walk in the muck where possible the boat to the shoreline some fifty yards away.
The temperature had dropped from 85 to 56 in a matter of twenty minutes by this time and we were very cold as we reached shore and were exposed to the air. Rapidly we pulled the boat up onto a stump pile and tipped it over to get the water out, which was an incredibly hard task to do, needless to say our “adrenalin” aided us in doing this. The MinnKota trolling motor still worked which had also been submerged and retrieved from the bottom of the lake. As we threw our gear into the boat, lips chattering like the middle of January we both started to laugh in amazement at what had just happened and amazingly we not only survived but were unhurt other than some very sore muscles and scraped shins.
Quickly, not knowing what tricks “mother nature” had in store for us next, we glided to the landing as fast as we could, still in shock and very cold! We loaded the boat in record time to the opening blue sky and the sounds of chirping birds as if nothing had happened. As we left the parking lot , branches were strewn about and the remnants of the storm were clearly visible. I told Greg who had handled himself admirably throughout the ordeal, that by not panicking and holding ground we had done the right thing and it most likely saved our lives or at the very least serious injury. Kidding, as we arrived home and walked into it’s safe confines, I told Greg… “You wanted X-treme Fishing, I delivered.”
The moral of the story is that no matter how prepared you are, mother nature is in control and after some research the next day from a Madison area Meteorologist, we discovered this “super cell” had developed literally on top of us, so there was no warning. By keeping our heads and not panicking, then quickly formulating a salvage plan we had survived a mighty punch from mother nature.
The next morning, after hours of overnight drying out gear as well as re-lubing our reels and arranging our tackle we headed back to the very lake, under beautiful blue skies and commenced to enjoying a full day of great fishing and some thankful graces said to the great creator.
Greg returned to Michigan safe and sound and will be returning soon for another x-treme Loby Fishing outing. I hope he doesn’t show up with a LIONS HELMET on for safety.
Until next time, be safe on the water………. and have an emergency plan in place, as you just never know when mother nature will decide to unleash her “fury”!
GoOd and SaFe FiShIn To You!