Monday, June 25, 2012


When I saw this sweet boat I tripped all over myself running over to see it up close.  I was so excited I forgot to ask the manufacturer's name.  1952 the guy said.  I'll see it again.  He'll be back down to the lake I'm sure.  It is perfection in every way.  Even the motor is perfect.

This boat has been restored to perfection.  Not a mark on it.  The finish is immaculate.  
 There's no fiberglass on this baby.

I asked the owner if he was going to dump this beauty into the tar pit (Douglas Lake) down the ramp there.  He said he came here to take it for a turn but decided against it when he saw the condition of the dock.  I don't blame him.  He was heading for Cherokee when I left him.  There are some really nice docks and ramps up there.   I'd never, ever consider launching that gorgeous boat in this mud hole.
The antique motor is original and never torn apart.  It's as clean as the boat is.  What a treat to see this sweet old boat.  Remember the movie "On Golden Pond?"  Henry Fonda was sitting in the truck.

I was on the afternoon schedule today and when I launched I thought the day might go fairly well with few pleasure boats on the water.  Was I ever wrong!
There is a house that sits on the left side of the lake that constantly catches my attention.  Every time I go past it I take a picture because I can't believe what I'm seeing.  I just can't rationalize how anyone could use all that building.  Why would anyone build a thing that large?  Oh, its a house alright.

I always play a game in my mind when I pass this place.  I pretend there's some guy pulling weeds from the flower beds in front of the house.  I pull the boat up to shore and beach it, jump out and walk up the grass past him.  Then I say, "what time's it open?"

He replies, "What time's what open."

I say, "Why, the store there."

"That isn't a store", he states.  "Its my house."

I ashamedly tell him, "heck, I thought it was one of those new Bass Pro stores on the lake.  I wanted to buy a new PFD for the boat."

"How many dozen families live in that place?"

"OK sir - ya don't have to get huffy.  I know when I'm not wanted.  Oh sir - you might want to pave a walkway down to the water.  It's dangerous for us customers to walk up this grassy hill.  OK, OK, I'm goin, I'm goin."

I have fun in my own mind.  Then I saw the kind of place that suits me just fine.  My three girls and myself could be very happy in here:
 I might make an offer on it later this week.

All kidding aside, I thought the day would go well.  I should have known better.  The lake map below shows the area I would spend the afternoon in.  The expanse of water between the numbers 3 and 4 is what I call bay area.  The long coves that do exist are lined with homes on both sides of the water and no one ever, ever fishes back there.

There are very, very few coves that fishing boats visit in that area.  Its all big water that lays between the actual dam at Douglas Lake and the city of Dandridge.  Both the dam and Dandridge offer the two best boat ramps and parking areas on the lake.  Naturally everyone with a pleasure boat will launch from those areas.  The temperature was over 90 degrees and the whole world, as it turned out, came to the lake.  The pleasure boats poured onto the lake as if a gate of some sort was opened.

Notice the water's surface in the picture above.  These wakes are caused by large and small boats.  Many are two feet tall.  I call them rollers.  People fishing from a stationary smaller boat would be constantly tossed about making fishing less than fun.  Anglers in boats often are close to the shorelines.  These rollers can push them suddenly dangerously close to the bank and often times capsize.  My boat is a 22 foot bay boat and it is necessary to approach these smaller vessels very close to the point of actually touching them.  If a two or four foot roller slammed against my boat from the side it would tilt it into the smaller boat that was against me and I'm immediately involved in a law suite because, in the worse scenario, my boat would crush a small fishing boat.  In short - if I deem the water too dangerous to approach boats, I can't complete my job for the day.

I drove up the shoreline of one side of the lake and there was not even one fishing boat on the water.  They knew what was coming by afternoon and were not fishing in this big bay area.

More and more came.  The water was in horrible condition.  I don't see how folks can call slamming a boat over two and four foot high bumps fun.

I made the turn to go across the lake and head down the other side.

They came from every direction.  I twisted my head round and round.  Look at that water in the above shot.  It is churning.  

Look at them in the distance.  My camera can't get them all in the frame.

Great Scott!  My head can't turn fast enough to see everything going on around me.  I scanned the opposite shoreline with binoculars and saw not even one fishing boat on the lake.  I'm outa here.

Good heavens!
Jet ski's - the crotch rockets on the water.  This kid was really demonstrating his keen expertise by jumping wakes and cutting doughnuts in the water.  He was showing off for anyone who would watch him.  All it would take would be a telephone pole size log floating half submerged four inches below the water line and he would be no more.  Brainless kid.

They approach each other at top speed, some dangerously close, and neither is certain which side to pass on or even who has the right of way.  Sometimes an approaching boat will come to a complete stop when heading toward another oncoming boat because he doesn't know if the other guy will pass him correctly or not.  Usually neither boat knows how to pass.

The rollers and troughs are high, deep and constant.  What miserable conditions to be on the water with.

People seem to have to congregate in one section of water with their boats.  The same seems to hold true for how most live.  They build their houses 10 to 20 feet apart in huge groups.  They are a gregarious lot.  I know one thing for sure - there ain't any fishermen out here and this is nuts!  I'm outa here.

Back at the dock they were lined up to launch boats and jet ski's.  

There is no wildlife on the main lake sections of Douglas accept a great blue heron here and there.  Forget ever seeing a beaver or even a muskrat.  Even deer are a rare sight.  I'm glad for them.  In fall the lake is drawn down to a puddle and their habitat would be diminished to the point of being useless to them and they would die.  In the summer the human element is overwhelming and they would be driven away.  Oh well - another day in the mud hole.  I'm scheduled to run on the upper river tomorrow.  That's sweet territory.  I couldn't do more than two hours on the water today.  I figure I saved a lot of gas by not looking for something that wasn't there - fishermen.