It’s amazing how quickly you can be on the top of your game and end up at a complete loss. This past week I was on route to having my best season since I started this guiding game over 3.5 years ago. Over the past 2 weeks I have been experiencing motor problems “again”. I mean lets face it, owning a boat means you are constantly doing maintenance, weather its a brand new boat or a used one, there is always something to be done. what does BOAT stand for? Break, Out, Another, Thousand. Just over the past 2 weeks alone, first a fuel pump went down on one of my mains, then I had spark plug cables need to be replaced, then coils, none of these items you would think are a big problem right? well in order to get these issues looked at and assessed properly each time, you need to have a marine mechanic come out to your boat at the marina because you cant move a big boat like mine easily. Well first, everything costs 10 x the amount when your talking boats compared to cars, and then try and find a mechanic willing to come out to you is nearly impossible unless you have deep pockets.
After calling almost every mechanic listed on craigslist, Kijiji, Yellow pages, and online, It seems you need to have someone recommend you to the mechanic in order to get any decent service. otherwise you probably won’t have anyone come out to see you for weeks on end. Now just to have a guy show up to the boat 20 minutes away from his shop is around $150 to $250 and he hasn’t even looked at your motors yet. Needless to say after all of this you hope/pray that the mechanic that shows up is a good one. now I am sure the guy that came to my boat was a good mechanic but after everything was assessed he had to go back to his shop and order the right parts, this takes a day of 2 to get the right parts in, especially when you have motors like mine.
So trying to save a few $$$$ I picked up the parts in a few days and went back to install them myself saving a few hours of labor and another $250 delivery fee, probably a $600 saving overall lol. Once the parts were back on the boat the boat seemed to run like a dream, so I started booking clients once again. I had a party of 4 show up to the boat, but as I headed down the channel to the open water they started sputtering and then stalled out and would not turn back on, Now I couldn’t figure out what went wrong just that one of my mains wouldn’t start again. I had to call a buddy of mine, another guide and let him take my clients out for me. I spent 2 days trying to figure out the problem and decided it was not worth spending the money to have the mechanic come back out again as paying for another “show up fee” would just piss me off. I made up my mind to take the boat back to my home area of Napanee in the #BayOfQuinte. The journey would be right around 100 miles on the water with 1 main engine completely down and the other was running, iffy at best.
I started off from Bowmanville harbor on my #Yamaha kicker motor, a small 8 horse power 4 stroke motor that I have never had an issue with in the past, very reliable, infact that motor is the only reason that I decided I would even attempt the journey at all. I started off at 4am by trolling out of the harbor. In about 10 minutes I was in 45ft of water and decided to throw out a couple lines as I have a ticket for the #GreatOntarioSalmonDerby anyway, and since I’m trolling my way along I may as well be #fishing, right?
well it wasn’t long before I had my first hit of the day, a decent but much too small for the derby, 12lbs king salmon, as it was not big enough to weigh in I carefully released the fish because I was on a 2 day journey and the fish would spoil if I kept it. Soon after the first fish I had my second fish of the day on the line, a bit smaller than the first, so again the fish was released. then I had a massive hit on a wire dipsey line with a #SeafourLure spoon on the end of it, a little Shad sent from #LiquidMayhem to entice the bite & WHAAAAMO. The Line screamed out of the reel, my excitement level rose drastically making me forget I was even in a broken boat on a 100 mile journey. All I cared about was landing what ever was on the other end of the line. I fought the monster for approx 35 to 40 minutes before I was able to tire it out enough to be able to get my net underneath her and lift her into the boat. She was not as big as she fought but it was still a decent 20lbs plus fish anyway. When I tried to put her on the scale, my scale was reading all over the place I could not get an accurate reading which means one of 2 things. Either this fish is bigger than I think it is or the batteries in the scale need to be replaced LOL.
The sun was now up and running low over the water. the fish I just landed may be the last of the season for me so I figured I’d better keep her and get it weighed in at #PortHope which should only be a couple hours away from my current location. In the Livewell the fish went, with some ice to keep her as fresh as I could.
By approximately 10:00am after catching & releasing 3 more smaller fish, I arrived at Port hope marina. I pulled up to the fuel pump station and was greeted by a beautiful young women working the weigh station/and fuel pumps. after fueling the boat I asked her to weigh in the fish I had kept. The fish weighed in at 25.10lbs which was exciting as I knew being the beginning of the week that this fish would probably make the derby board, (which it did) and it stayed there until Wednesday too until I got beat off the board with a 25.84. oh well I can say I made the board for a few days anyway LOL.
I had a quick breakfast at a nice little cafe (great breakfast by the way) right at the marina by the beach, bought new batteries for my scale (ha ha ha) and of course had to go and see the beautiful girl at the weigh station one more time (to buy ice) before heading back out in the big water on my journey.
There was only 1 other stop I could have made before committing to go all the way to Brighton which was only 40 miles away from Port Hope, this was Coburg #Marina but it was only 5 miles away from Port Hope Marina. the decision was either to spend the night in Coburg or try and make it to Brighton. Take into consideration that the top speed of my boat was about 3 to 5 miles an hour on my kicker motor, or 7MPH on my one main half working main motor, which would put me in Brighton around 8pm that evening, I had started the day at 4am. that is a long day to be on the water in the sun, trust me. anyway of course I decided to make my way to Brighton the wind was in my favor with west winds.
It seemed like forever to get Coburg out of my sights. It made the day seem like I was making very little to no progress, and to make things worse the winds had kicked up to 25 west winds with gusts of 42km west wind. This made for some large rolling waves, maybe 6 footers at times, it was travelling in the right direction allowing me to get a bit better timing 8 miles per hour as with each passing wave the boat would almost be pushed enough to start surfing. then once the wave passed the boat would slow to 2 miles per hour. this jerking motion for hours on end mean you need to be on the ball in terms of steering or you can be turned around in a split second, constantly counter steering the boat to try and stay in a straight line. I was praying that the waves would get just a bit bigger so that I would be able to surf the boat and ride the waves to my night time destination.
at around 7pm I got to the point that leads into Brighton harbor as I rounded the point to head into the harbor it got very shallow. I went from 45ft of water to 5ft of water within a few meters and with the rolling waves (now white capping) that I had been riding were now big enough that the boat actually was able to do a bit of surfing only this time I was in dangerously shallow and unknown waters. Yes in case you were wondering I was getting a bit nervous LOL.
Once I got around the point and the land blocked the wind, the water instantly became like a sheet of glass and I calmly made it into the Brighton Marina. I pulled up to the marina about 7:45pm as I needed a bit more fuel to make the rest of the journey. I had came 65 miles and was now only 35 miles from my home destination. After I fueled up, the marina told me they had no 2 stroke Oil to sell me which I needed as I pre mix my fuel. I hoped my friend Sean, from #PresquileBayOutfitters was around and I prayed he sold the oil I needed. His shop was just steps from the marina. It wasn’t long before I was able to find Sean and like he has done on several occasions in the passed he (saved my behind) again LOL. Sean has great customer service and great deals on #fishingtackle and #Kyakrentals. I recommend everyone go and see him if your in the Brighton area. here is the link http://www.presquilebayoutfitters.com/
anyway after fueling up and a short visit with Sean I was on the water again to find a spot to tie up for the night, have some dinner, and get some sleep. I headed up the Trent canal and immediately found a good spot to tie up to, right next to a very impressive sail boat who had also decided that they had enough travel for the day. the sail boat was heading to where I had just come from 16 hours prior. They figured they would try to get to Port Darlington or Whitby by the following afternoon.
I was up early as was the sail boat next to me, and off the pier at 6am the next morning to try and get a good head start on the day, however I was quickly brought to a halt by the first swing bridge in the canal only 1 mile from where I tied off the night before as there was no attendant to swing the bridge open until 9am that morning. I tied off again and got out to walk around only to find 3 other boats tied off on the other side of the bridge that had just missed the last turn the previous night and were forced to spend the night in the canal as well. I spoke with a few of the boaters and everyone seemed very relaxed and well rested but were just waiting for the bridge attendant to get to work. It wasn’t long and the attendant showed up for his shift the bridge was swung open and everyone was on their way to the various destinations all over the lake (and further).
It took several hours but by about 11am I had made it from Trenton about 18 miles to the #Belleville Bridge. Just after the bridge there were about 30 to 40 small sailboats all crossing my path in every direction, I think they had all been part of a sailing school. I tried to go around them but everywhere I went they would cut me off, now normally I would have easily been able to get out of their way but with only running one of my main motors and going about 5 miles an hour I had no choice but to bull dog my way right through the lot of them. As soon as I made my way through There was a guy waving at me to slow down his hands in the air and I thought to my self, what a fool, as if I’m going too fast LOL. anyway I almost came to a halt thinking he might be in trouble only to clue in that it was actually a good friend of mine Dave, out for a day of fishing on the Bay.
Dave pulled up along side of my boat tied his boat to mine and climbed aboard for the next few miles. I was relieved to have someone on the boat to chat with but I soon realized that I was very tired and probably had a bit of heat stroke, needless to say I probably wasn’t making much sense at the time. Anyway I took some time and cooked up the last of some chicken legs I had in my cooler, put them on my BBQ to have a bit of lunch with Dave before he had to leave climb back onto his boat to finish his day of fishing.
It didn’t seem long, maybe a few hours after leaving Dave before I was back crossing under the Deseronto Bridge and was at my destination to meet my wife at the launch so I could get the boat hauled out and get it to my mechanics.
Im not sure whats in store for Sea’s The Day Fishing for the rest of the season? I can only wait to hear from my mechanic about all the issues I will need to deal with. I will be back out on the water soon enough, but for now I’m just happy to be home treating my sun burn and heat stroke LOL
Thanks for reading about my 100 mile journey across Lake Ontario. Also feel free to leave any comments you may have below