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Just Trying to Stay Afloat

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Cayla with Fisch on the boat

I was fortunate enough to grow up spending a lot of time in a boat. Mostly Dad’s Alumacraft. It’s nothing fancy, but it felt fancy to me.

And it felt like home.

Still does, almost 30 years later as I fished for sturgeon from it earlier this month.

As I’ve written before, getting a boat of my own was something I always envisioned.

I love the sound of waves lapping against the side, leaning back in the passenger seat, warm sun on my face and rod in hand, drifting off between bottom bounces, and the feeling of worn boat carpet between my toes.

I relished boat picnic lunches and even loading it late at night after a long day on the water, mosquitos in chase.

Everything about being aboard is just nostalgic and comforting.

Not so much these days.

Fisch on the boat playing with toys

The inaugural outing in our boat this year was less than relaxing.

No sunshine snoozes or food of any kind for this mama, and it was far from a long day on the water.

My time aboard is now a constant series of meeting Fischer’s needs and half-panicked close calls of him throwing objects or himself overboard.

And this past weekend with wind in the forecast and a realistic reminder of boat life with a toddler, we found ourselves opting to fish from shore the following day.

In fact, I feel silly for even owning a boat, having spent four, albeit relatively successful days, shore-fishing this month compared to one afloat.

We loaded up Fisch and Fins (a less than harmonious duo), wagon, two rods (as if we’d both fish), tackle box and a bucket.

We eased into things, letting Fins sprint to the water and Fisch take in his surroundings before making any attempts at wetting a line.

As things settled, we both casted out our plastics, the target species being crappies.

We should know by now that Finley goes absolutely nuts when we cast anything.

In a boat, he is at least contained and eventually gives up and lies down.

On shore? Far from it.

Now one of us is charged with taking Fins down shore to bark and splash while the other is left with Fischer, neither of which are very conducive to fishing.

Scott with Fisch and fish

Somehow, in the few casts we both managed to make, we had two crappies in the bucket when I opted to take the duo back to the truck for a snack so Scott could fish for a few minutes.

He joined us shortly thereafter, having added one more, and I make my way back to the inlet in a half-run trying to make the most of my turn.

I too added one more to the bucket before the guilt set in.

I made my way back, rod and tackle box in one hand, bucket of fish in the other.

I bemoaned my decision to wear shorts as the cockle bur stems scraped against my legs and the bucket banged against my knees sloshing water.

I couldn’t help but think, “So glad I own a big, fancy boat.”

It felt like we hardly fished, or breathed, when we sensed it was time to call it quits.

We loaded up our circus and headed home, Fisch screaming in his car seat, fighting a nap, me questioning whether days like this were worth it.

My hope is that they were, and that we find ourselves fishing out of our boat together 30 years from now.

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