Dead calm still. Oak leaves rested motionless. Pines, lacking their signature sway, stood like toothpicks in fully baked cornbread. I fumbled through the dark for a coffee can and filter. It was almost light enough to see the lake.
Local on the 8’s predicted perfection. 70 degrees. A slight breeze. Coffee’s done. Shoes on. Carrying a chip on my shoulder from the previous day. Matched by the unnerving drive to do everything quickly.
We splashed the boat into what could have been a watercolor painting. Every detail of the trees lining the shore captured by the glass-like reflection. We trolled through beams of sunlight slowly breaking through the treetops.Everything was calm and serene. Except me.
I pulled up the trolling lure and started casting everywhere. Ripping that bait with a vengeance. I couldn’t stop guessing the cost to repair the garage door. It broke in the mad dash out of town to beat the holiday weekend traffic. Or the price tag on that speeding ticket. I just couldn’t wait to pass that damn motorcycle. Things were stacking up against me. I pushed back with a double-middle-finger-attitude. Which got me nowhere. But it didn’t stop me pushing harder.
Skunked in the first honey-hole. Landed a hammer-handle pike in the second. I was expecting more fish. Faster. Sooner. Why wouldn’t they bite? Damn it. It was a perfect morning. Why can’t they see that?
Clumsy loons skidded along the lake on their bellies. A big ol’ snapper swam slowly under the boat. Deer waded in the shallow lily pads. Birds sang. A few deep breaths and my attitude was changing. Then the revelation. The only thing looking to ruin this perfect morning was me.
I slowed down because garage doors break.
I shut-off the trolling motor because a ticket every 12 years ain’t going to kill me.
I worked a fluke along weed edges. Watched the pads move an instant before the strike. Pike and bass looking to crush breakfast. Slow-n-low. The lake was preaching it. It just took a little time before I started to listen.
The next morning two loons put on a show. A photo opp turned into a battle when two of them caught the same fish. They erupted from the water. Bills clashing. Wings flailing. The loser run-off with that loon cackle that cracks me up every time.
Good thing I was trolling slow enough to capture it on video.