Once in a while I have the great opportunity of fishing with my friend, Jackie. We take her boat, she lets me drive this beauty, and I get to play “Fishing Guide”! No matter what, we always have a blast–even if we don’t catch fish.
We headed to Lake Decade to see if we might find some stray trout that had not left with the spring migration southward or maybe we could troll the banks for those hard-fighting redfish. As we reached the lake and saw the white caps, it was obvious Mother Nature had other plans for us. In my middle age, I have grown to love a “change of plans” because you never know what exciting twist awaits.
Because of the brutal winds (which were not predicted to pick up until hours later—every good guide checks the conditions before departure), we relocated and found an inlet with a tree-lined shore to buffer the breezes so we could cast a little.
My fishing buddy decided since she hadn’t been fishing in a while, she would just relax a bit, enjoy the scenery and watch me fish. Truth is, when I start catching fish, THEN she grabs her rod and gets after it!!
I positioned the boat so the wind would push us along and occasionally used the trolling motor to keep us away from the banks. It wasn’t long before I hauled in one of those straggler speckled trout.
As we drifted nonchalantly around a curve, our reverie was rudely interrupted by a loud SWOOSH! SLAM! SPLASH! By the volume of the splash, we figured it was a big one–the first alligator of the spring season. You can see the above “gator slide”, which obviously belongs to a nice-sized gator.
The gators hibernate all winter, and the warmer temps here have caused them to wake up. And they are aggressive and quite hungry. I respect gators, though I am not unnecessarily afraid of them. We fish with them around us quite often, and today was no different, or so we thought.
Once she emerged, we could see her off in the distance, which is typical behavior. We don’t bother them. They don’t bother us.
We continued drifting and fishing, but I wasn’t really paying attention to or thinking about the gator until Jackie suggested maybe I use the trolling motor to move us away. Okay, sure, right after I take another photo.
I’m not sure if this gator shared a mutual respect for us, but I can sure as heck guarantee you, she was NOT unnecessarily afraid of us, either. When I sit behind my lens, Reality takes a hiatus and the other part of my brain rules supreme with no consideration for what might not be the greatest idea.
Jackie: “Oh my gosh! Look at that! Get that picture and get us outta here! Hurry!”
Me: “Okay, just one more photo.”
Jackie: “Okay, now, don’t you play with that gator. I’m sure it could jump right up in this boat with us if it took a mind to.”
Me: “The wind’s got us. I can’t troll us away. We’re headed straight for it.”
At which point, I let go of the trolling motor, my foolish brain took over and I just HAD to snap a few more photos for y’all.
Not waiting for my brain to switch back, Jackie cranked up the main engine and quickly backed us away from Allie.
Thank you, Jackie, for getting us away safely. I apologize for my other brain takeover. Will you ever let me guide you again?
Me: “See ya later, alligator!”
Allie: “After while crocodile.”
I heard her say it, but Jackie swears she didn’t!
Safe but not completely sorry,