Friday, October 21, 2011

An old bionic cowboy goes solo canoeing

Okay, so maybe bionic isn't accurate, but at nearly 70-years-old with man-made components in one hip, a shoulder, and both knees, and a couple of bones wired together in my face, and artificial lenses in both eyes, it sure feels that way sometimes.  I even had some mini-strokes a few years back, and my balance hasn't been worth a d--- since.

Still my passion for canoeing and fishing runs deep, and with hundreds of good fishing lakes within a half-day's drive,  I'm not about to wait till someone can get time off work to go fishing with me.  I know it's never a good idea to go canoeing alone, but I just can't resist the urge.

I've been canoeing for more than 50 years, and it wasn't until last month that I finally capsized my canoe.  It was in a river, and I never was in any real danger.  I quickly made it to shore, baled my canoe, changed clothes, and went back to my fishing.  But I can't help thinking about some of the big lakes that I've fished, where I've sometimes found myself a half mile or more from shore.  To be honest I'm not sure I can swim a half mile in cold water.

I recently purchased a canoe stabilizer (outrigger floats) and rowing rig for my son to use while he was learning to canoe.  The rowing rig did make fishing a tad difficult, but with the ability to row I could't keep up with him paddling, and the stabilizer gave him great confidence.  I tried them out and I'm convinced that the rig will allow me to handle some breezy lakes I normally wouldn't paddle.

I also purchased a pair of NRS air bags that will displace water in about 40% of the canoe's volume, so I might actually have a chance of baling the canoe while in the water, and accomplishing a self-rescue.  To be honest, I will probably carry the oars broken down and lashed to a thwart as a spare paddle system because I think they will make landing fish a lot more difficult.  There are a couple of good bass fishing lakes within an hour's drive, so as soon as the weather cools a bit I'll go try it all out.  

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