Did you know that this weekend was the weekend of the Gene Fink Memorial Chinook Derby on Lake Coeur d'Alene? Well to tell you the truth I didn't know myself until I stopped into Black Sheep Sporting Goods and the checkout guy asked me if I was entering the big derby? I laughed and replied something like , "are you kidding?" grabbed my stuff and headed back to the college.
When I got back after my lunch shopping break I stopped by to visit the Outdoor Pursuits gang and when I mentioned the tournament to Jacob he got excited and said "Let's enter!" I laughed, but he was serious. We talked about it and decided that we could go out and fish without actually being in the tournament, that could satisfy our fishing desire without costing us the $20 entry fee.
So on Sunday at 9 am I picked Jacob up and we went to Higgen's Point and launched into our first not quite fish tournament experience. We motored down Lake Coeur d'Alene to just past Driftwood Point and dropped our down rigger balls to about 90 feet. I spent some time explaining the entire rigging process as Jacob watched.
The sun was out and the boat was warm, there was a bit of a wind out on the water, but it worked with us because we were going North, South on the Lake. We were geared up with small squid lures called Mexican Flags and were trying to find the fish that were said to be about 80 to 105 feet deep in the lake.
Keep in mind that this was my third time out fishing for Chinook and so far the biggest I had caught was 18 inches. For a Chinook to be a keeper it has to be over 20 inches, I have yet to find one of those critters. We worked our way down the lake until we noticed that everyone had turned around and headed North, then we did the same. We heard that there were about 80 participants entered in the tournament, to us it looked like about 20 boats in this part of the lake.
We chugged along at 1.7 knots and checked our equipment periodically, ate some snacks and drank a lot of coffee. Nothing hit so we talked about moving North and seeing if we could find something up there.
I made a few directional corrections and suddenly Jacob spotted something to our left towards shore. It looked like a boat with a cover on it tied to a buoy. It didn't make visual sense to us so we kept looking as I turned toward it. Jacob confirmed that it was a boat that had capsized and there was someone in the water.
|Jacob said, "Big man in little PFD."|
Once we got him into the boat a third boat came up and tossed us a sleeping bag and a blanket. Jacob helped him get his clothes off and wrapped him in the blankets. I motored off to take him to Loff's Bay where we met the Sheriffs boat and a bunch of EMTS. Once at the dock everyone waited as he was checked out and given the OK by the emergency medical folks.
His story said that he had a bit of water in his little boat and he was turning down wind to get in position to bail it out. As soon as he made the turn, the waves came over his transom and within seconds he was sunk. All he could do was get out away from the boat so it didn't hit him. He said we thought he was in the water about 10 minutes before we plucked him out.
As he warmed up and all the paperwork was filed I talked to the Sheriff and found that he had been a student body vice president when he attended NIC. I remembered him well and we chatted about the college and how it had changed. Jacob was glad to meet him too, they work close to the Sheriff during the NIC adventure race so it is good to know the folks in the boats.
We were at the dock for maybe two hours and when the fellow was warm and ready everyone exited our boat and we went on our way. It was nice to have been available to help in a situation that could have been very bad. It was a good conclusion to a day with no fish, we drove home, loaded the boat and started telling our tail.