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Lloyd Waters: Who goes fishing in December? The dogs do

January 08, 2012|By LLOYD WATERS

It was two weeks before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Well, that wasn’t exactly true. The Old Sea Dog was up sharply at 1 a.m., in the shower, and dressed by 1:18 a.m.  

The remaining fishing crew was due to arrive at 2 a.m.

It was going to be a little cool this morning and, for sure, when the dogs visit the waters just off the shore of Crisfield, Md., to do a little fishing, those long johns were going to feel pretty good.

I guess you must be wondering exactly how a dog can go fishing.

Let me tell you the story.

When I retired back in 2003 from the Big House (MCI), I had to find some hobbies to occupy my time. One of them was fishing.

A few friends and I decided to travel to Wachapreague, Va., to go fishing for some tuna. After arriving at the marina, we boarded a boat and headed out some 35 miles to catch the big fish.

Thirty-five miles out is a long way. When the waters became a little choppy, so did my stomach.

Any of you land lovers ever been seasick? Let me tell you something; it’s not a pretty sight.

My legs started to wobble, my balance became unsteady and my stomach started making noises like the Titanic might have made as it sank into the deep dark waters of the ocean.

My Kirk Douglas look-alike tan on my face and body now took a turn for the worse, and my complexion turned an ugly gray, something resembling the color of the shell on the back of a snail.

Pity is the only thing you can offer a seasick sailor.  

My crew offered no pity.

The knees of lesser men would have buckled.

Because of my demonstrated bravery some 35 miles out in the ocean, I recovered, and members of that crew presented me with the name Sea Dog.

Since Andy Rooney would say, “The average dog is a nicer person than the average person,” I accepted my new name in stride.

As a matter of fact, that was the beginning of a dog fraternity. In 2004, when we began our fishing sojourns to Smith Island in the spring and fall of each year, it became a tradition that all new crew members would be given a dog name.

On this current December trip, there were three other dogs packed and ready to go on this cold morning.

Mushroom Dog was there. Bad Dog was there. And the Good Dog also had his gear packed and went along on the trip.

In Crisfield, we met with the captain of the boat (the Rock Dog), and begin our two-day fishing excursion while trolling up and down the Chesapeake Bay.

The captain always enjoys our trips and the fraternity of dogs, as he refers to us.

His first comment upon our arrival is usually, “Who let the dogs out?”

Since we began these trips in 2004, I have attempted to take many new people on these adventures. If the old dogs find you worthy, you might become a member of the dog pound.

Some other infamous members of our past crews include: Fish Dog, Nap Dog, Angry Dog, Hog Dog, Chili Dog, Steel Dog, Devil Dog* and Harley Dog.

The true birth names of these individuals will remain anonymous out of respect for their mothers.

This most recent December trip was, indeed, pretty cold. The waters were a little rough and the fishing, well, it wasn’t really that great.

But, then again, I think Thoreau probably had it more right than wrong when he concluded, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.”

It was a good December trip for the old dogs.


Lloyd “Pete” Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes columns for The Herald-Mail.

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