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The Traveling Man (Chapter 2 – Old Ed's Pontoon (Part 1))

(Candace Clayton is an author who’s written novels, poetry and other short stories. She was kind enough to write this fictional adventure series specifically for the Inflatable Kayak Blog about ‘The Traveling Man’, a kayaker who tells us tales about his youthful adventures with his buddies on the rivers where he grew up. We hope you enjoy it!)

Well, hello there, I see you are back for more of my little story. Anxious to hear if we found that there mermaid, are ya? I guess I will eventually get round to telling ya about that, but like my granpappy always said, “ A rushed story is like a shabby roofing job. Full of holes.”  So, all in good time my friend, all in good time.

Let’s see, last time we talked, John and I were hopping a bus, headed outta town. Yes sir, we were two young men out on our own for the first time. No more little boys going to school and doing chores. We were adults in charge of our futures and heading for a mighty adventure. A poorly planned adventure, I tell you what! We thought we knew it all, were prepared for anything. Our first few months away from home sure changed that. Yes sir, we quickly learned we were just young pups, still wet behind the ears. I’m not saying that we didn’t have fun, mind you, just that we still had a whole lotta learning to do.

Well, any who, there we were, on that ol bus. Had to be the oldest bus still on the roads. No shocks whatsoever.  That ol bus bounced and banged its way through dusty ol ghost town after ghost town. We sure picked the wrong bus for sight-seeing, I tell ya. Wasn’t nuthin to see out those cracked, dirty winders but cedar trees, cactus, and cows.  Looked pert near identical to our little home town. Finally, we came to the end of the ride. Yep, we had clean run outta money. No money, no bus ticket. The first of life’s lessons we learned. The bus driver set us off that bus in front of a ramshackle ol bus depot in the smallest town you ever did see. Wasn’t much there, just that bus depot that turned out to be the Post Office and the only fueling station in town. There was a little diner across the street. So, we picked up our bags and headed for it. We figured between the two of us, we had enough change for some soda pop to clear the dust from our parched throats. If we were lucky, we might even have enough for a slice of pie. We sure were hungry.

That little diner was plum near deserted. Wasn’t anyone to be seen, but the waitress behind the counter and a grizzled ol man down at the far, sitting on a stool, sipping coffee. Coffee! It had to be over 100 degrees out and he was drinking scalding hot coffee.  John and I nodded hello and took our seats at the other end of that counter. Wasn’t long before we were sipping our soda and sharing the best piece of apple pie we had ever eaten. I considered myself an expert judge of good apple pie. My momma, God rest her soul, made the best apple pie in town. She always took the blue ribbon home from the county fair. Piece of Apple PieThe other ladies in town were always trying to figure out her secret. But I am telling ya, whoever it was that had made that pie, had an angel’s touch with the crust. I can still feel that buttery crust, so flaky it melted on your tongue.

Well, as I was a saying, there we were scarfing down that pie like it was the first thing we had eaten in days. Course, due to our lack of funds, it was. The ol man said something to the waitress. A few short minutes later, she was setting a plate with two huge sandwiches on it, right smack in front of us. Smiling at our baffled looks, she told us that Ed, the ol man down the other end of the counter, was paying. We looked at Ed and mumbled our thanks around huge mouthfuls. I reckon he heard our stomachs complaining from the other end of that diner.

Yep, that’s how we met ol Ed. He took us under his wing for three whole months. Put us to work hauling hay. I tell ya, that is back breaking work. Paid well though and Ed gave us room and board on top of our weekly pay. We were able to put back our earnings and save up for when we headed back out on the road. After that first week, when we were so sore that every muscle in our arms and backs were a cursing us for the abuse, Ed says, “Boys, you did a fine job this week. Let’s go fishing tomorrow.”  Tired and achy as we were, our ears perked right up! It was decided we would get up early the next day and head to the local lake. We fell asleep that night with dreams of being the one to catch the biggest fish in the lake.

(Did they catch a ‘big one’ or did they catch something else? Visit the Inflatable Kayak Blog (on Thursday, 3-25-10) for part 2 of our story. If you’d like, you can set your computer to receive our RSS feed and you’ll be informed automatically when the next part of the story will be posted.)

The author, Candace Clayton, lives in Granbury, Texas with her Husband and family, spending as much time in the outdoors as she can.

Susquehanna Fishing Magazine

Fishermen and women in the Susquehanna River Regions in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York have a new, free fishing magazine available to them.Susquehanna Fishing Magazine The first issue came out a couple days ago on February 2, 2010. It’s being distributed through local establishments and funded by participating advertisers. The magazine’s goal is to help to inform anglers about productive angling techniques and other pertinent information pertaining to the area, as well as promoting safety and responsible stewardship of the river. They hope to distribute abut 30,000 copies each month. For additional information and locations where you can pick up a copy, you can go to the Susquehanna Fishing Magazine web site.

I know it’s a little cold in the Susquehanna area this time of year, but it’s never to early to start thinking about warmer days relaxing on the fishing boat in search of a great ‘fish’ story!

Bass Caught From A Float Tube

Jeff’s Bass Picture in his ODC 420 Float TubeI received this picture from one of our Portable Kayaks customers, Jeff in Indiana telling me about some fishing he did last month. He explains in his own words … “Here is a photo of me in my tube and the 16 inch bass caught on a size 10 hopper and my 3 weight rod. I fished 4 small lakes yesterday in about 6 hours and landed about 20 bass…no keepers, all small fish, but in the tube they are still fun. One bass took my popper just a few feet from the tube and it was very exciting to see it up close. The first lake was about ¾ mile and I packed in with the straps, fins and rod. I love the versatility of the boat. I am sending my 18 year old off to college and he is taking his tube with him. Not sure why more folks don’t go this way?” … Jeff and his son each have Creek Company ODC 420 Float Tubes and, needless to say, he’s a big fan.

Inflatable Fishing Boat Sale

Sea Eagle Inflatable Fishing Boat with MotorThis is the time of year when I often look past the Holidays toward the annual boat shows that usually occur when cabin fever is setting in. We journey out into the cold winter weather to look at all the neat new outdoor gear and those beautiful new fishing boats. Even though gas prices have gone back down (for awhile anyway), the current economic climate could still prohibit you from purchasing that new boat. One alternative to think about is the Sea Eagle inflatable boat with motor mount.

The reason I bring this up in advance of the boat shows is that Sea Eagle has discounted these boats to their lowest prices ever. They’re currently priced under $500 at most Sea Eagle retailers through the end of the year. These hardy, portable watercraft are a smaller version of the big expensive Zodiac style boats. They only weigh up to 56 pounds and they carry up to 1200 pounds. There are two versions, the SE-8 and SE-9 and both are easy to store and easy to transport. I know they won’t sit in your driveway and make your neighbors envious, but you and your friends can still catch some fish in them. And maybe not taking any up any driveway space isn’t so bad after all!

FoldCat 440 Four Person Pontoon

Sea Eagle 440 FoldCat On The WaterAt a time when larger vehicles are becoming less popular because of the high price of gas, the new Sea Eagle 440 FoldCat is an exception. The boat was introduced this month (July 2008) and it’s the largest folding/inflatable pontoon on the market. It holds up to four people with a capacity of 1300 pounds. Although it might be too large and cumbersome for many who enjoy the small one and two person inflatable pontoons, this boat can be an economical replacement for traditional gas-guzzling bass boats. Both versions of the Sea Eagle FoldCat, the two person 375 and the new 4 person 440, have a full floor so you have far more useable space than ordinary pontoon fishing boats – and it’s a “safety net” that catches gear you may drop. This allows you to carry more fishing tackle and supplies than ordinary pontoon boats. And it will travel up to 8 to 10 miles per hour with an economical 4 hp gas engine. Four fishermen or women can fish from 360 degree swivel seats using up to six rod holders. You can’t do that on a small bass boat. Check it out if you’re looking for something more economical and functional for your fishing expeditions.