Re: Marlim or Winchester?
Len- this happened just up river from you.... I have the motor that was involved, I sure wish it could talk. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]
I grew up on a river and lake system that had quite a population of Lake Sturgeon. My dad would often relate stories of the “river rats”, some stories with incredible accuracy....??? There was a constant “contest” between the local game warden and some of the locals, some of whom had quite a side business going in smoked sturgeon. Of course the method of aquisition was highly illegal, and proved to be somewhat dangerous to at least one fellow. During the late 50’s these river rats would take their 16/18 foot wood boats with the old opposed 4 cylinder Evinrudes and head up into the lake (after dark) and put out set lines for cats and sturgeon. These lines would be set in 10 to 15 feet of water a couple miles from shore. The most well known “rat” hense forth known as R had a set line out for several days and was getting worried. It was November and he couldn’t seem to find anyone to go with him to pick it up. R was sitting in the bar, and the local drunk (Shadow) came stumbling in and they struck up a deal to go out that night and get the line. All R needed was someone to row the boat and hit the fish with a “billy” and Shadow looked like he could handle that.
The wind and waves were picking up as R and Shadow stopped the boat several miles from shore in complete darkness. R threw out the grapple and after several tries snagged the set line. R would pull the line in, flip the fish into the boat and Shadow would dispatch them and then continue to row. They were doing pretty well on sturgeon so R decided to throw back all the cats and just concentrate on sturgeon. The boat was starting to fill up with sturgeon and weather conditons were getting worse. Shadow was complaining loadly about the boat taking on water and having to bail to keep from sinking, trying to kill large fish as they flopped around the boat and just generally would have been much happier back at the bar.
Shadow was urging R to cut the line and head in, when R pulled up a sturgeon that was well over 100 pounds. R finally got the fish into the boat and it went nuts, flipping all over the place, breaking one of the oars, and upsetting Shadow beyond control.
Shadow reached into his jacket and pulled out an old 38 revolver he sometimes carried, but hadn’t told R about. He aimed in the general area of the flopping sturgeon and pulled the trigger. The first shot out of the revolver missed the sturgeon and put a hole in the bottom of the boat. The muzzle flash blinded both guys, but that didn’t stop Shadow. While R screamed at Shadow to stop, Shadow fired blindly at the still flopping sturgeon. Several rounds later R finally got the pistol from Shadow. R was screaming at Shadow for shooting holes in the bottom of the boat when Shadow shouted back,” I think I shot my foot!!” R found the flashlight and shined it on Shadows left boot as he held it up out of the water. Sure enough there was a hole, with a mixture of blood and water running out.
R finally got the motor started and headed towards shore. It wasn’t long and they realized they were in trouble. They weren’t going to make it with all the fish and several holes in the bottom. So reluctantly, R started throwing the sturgeon over the side. By the time they beached the boat on the nearest shore all the sturgeon had been thrown out.
The next day the local water front owners reported an unusual sturgeon kill as dead sturgeon washed up on their beaches. R took Shadow to the local Doc and had to pay for the stitching and cast plus many hours of “recouperation” at one of the local taverns. For many years R bemoaned the night he not only lost the biggest catch of his life, but it cost him quite a sum of money besides.