honking as we hunkered down against the freezing cold. We ran for about 20 minutes and began to fish.
He’s been doing it for many decades and I consider him among the most accomplished inshore fishermen. Sometimes he actually seems to think like a trout. So when I proceeded to land the first trout, I considered it to be quite a feat given Truman’s expertise. Of course, my accomplishment wasn’t so great when you consider that it was a 10 inch long throw-back trout. Nor when you factor in that shortly thereafter, he put our only two keeper fish in the box.
Frank with a redfish
The wind had blown the water out of many of his favorite spots and we worked those we could hard. But with the 15-20kt wind, the trout just weren’t cooperating. Finally, we threw in the towel and braving the return trip with the icy wind in our face, headed back by early afternoon.
We enjoyed a pleasant meal and a warm fire that evening reminiscing about our past trips. Inevitably the talk turned to the fate of the old boat that he had fished with for over ten years. I liked that boat and hate that he parted ways with it in a most unpleasant manner.
Truman was towing his boat home after another of his many successful fishing trips. On that day, he elected to use a different railroad track crossing from the one he normally used. As the boat trailer went over the tracks, one wheel slipped off the pavement. The trailer frame became hooked on one of the rails and try as he might, he was unable to free it by trying to back up or pull forward.
As he stood beside the railroad tracks, scratching his head and trying to figure out what to do, he heard the mournful sound of the train’s whistle in the distance. His stomach knotted at the realization that he was now out of time to deal with the problem.
Since most of the boat had cleared the track, he lowered the outboard in hopes that the train might just be able to slip by. It didn’t work.
The cow-catcher on the front of the train grabbed the boat’s engine. As the train continued down the tracks, it ripped the boat from the trailer and drug it down the tracks. By the time the train finally came to a complete stop, his beloved boat had been demolished right before his eyes. I always have a hard time imagining how bad that must have felt and thought he handled it much better than I would have.
A few weeks later, he received a bill in the mail from the railroad company for the cost of repairing their damaged cow-catcher. Truman attached a copy of the invoice for the cost of replacing his boat and mailed it back suggesting that they deduct the amount of the cow-catcher repair and send him a check for the difference. He still goes to the mail box expectantly each day but so far, no check.
Anyhow, we went to bed that night hoping for better luck in the morning. And we got it.
Though it was still plenty cold, the next morning the wind had laid off and we skimmed over the glassy calm waters through the marshes in search of ol’ yellow mouth. Without the wind, the water was back up and we were now able to work some of his “hot spots.”
We started off back at the same place where we had caught our measly catch the previous day with no luck. We then moved on to fish Oak River and began steadily pulling in nice trout over the next three hours. We used cocahoe minnows without a cork and worked them slowly along the bottom. White and yellow seemed to work well as did “Opening Night.”
Before heading back home, we had our limit of specks and four nice reds in the box. It ended up being the kind of trip I have come to expect when fishing with Truman and another great memory… without any train episodes.