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Stranded! No power, no toolbox

By Staff | Jun 17, 2016

Capt. George Tunison

About 10 miles from the dock we had had enough. Had lots of fun, caught some fish and probably too much sun. Time to head home and a cool shower.

Everything stowed I hit the key. Nothing, as in zero power to anything as we started drifting away from the shoreline. Just washed the boat, charged the batteries and, of course, left the anchor in the garage where it would be safe.

Now adrift, no Power Pole, no anchor and rope, no juice, no tools, no sense. Actually, I do always carry a small basic tool kit, but it also was garage side, safe and secure next to the anchor.

Fortunately, as we drifted I was able to throw a rope around a lone branch and get myself stopped and secured. Also stopping the whispered mutterings from the front of the boat as the female portion of the unhappy crew started asking herself questions.

“Well now what, eaten alive by bugs?” Or, “Who forgets to bring an anchor?” “Why can’t you fix it?” “What, you don’t have any tools? Omg!” “No one will ever find us.” “I’m hot, hungry, and why doesn’t this boat have a toilet like your friend’s boat?”

This was after only five minutes as I struggled to somehow locate a broken wire, bad ground, or blown fuse which was tough to see at dusk. At home next to my anchor and tool kit I have a nice waterproof box containing flashlights that I almost always carry on boats.

About this time a lone no-see-um patrolling nearby lured in by the scent of perfumes, hair products, and skin lotions, sent out an alarm and within minutes the mutterings from the bow became louder and more frantic. Clouds of the little devils started swarming us.

“I’m going to get that new mosquito virus because of this!” “I hate fishing!” “Do something.”

At that point it was time to pull out my ace in the hole – my SeaTow card – and make the call for assistance.

SeaTow answered and took my info and dispatched a captain to my location. Within minutes I got a confirmation text stating the estimated time of arrival as well as the captain’s number.

I continued to prod and pull at wires and luckily pulled the right one and power was restored. We untied and headed back for the dock praying that my fix would hold.

Within a few minutes I called SeaTow and told them I was underway. He politely asked that I call him when I get to port and that he would cancel my assistance call, and then thanked me.

Not a fun experience, but just imagine being 40 miles out in the Gulf when this happens. It will at some point if you spend enough time on the water.

There are things to skimp on. Nothing wrong with being penny wise, but not having tow insurance is not a wise move whether you fish inshore or offshore. Probably the best under $200 per year investment a boater can make.

My newest fish bucket list lives in Brazilian and Argentinean rivers often near power plant dams. Actually, this general location could serve up two of my top freshwater bucket list fish – the Golden Dorado and large peacock bass.

The strong fighting fish, the peacock bass, is a great gamefish that does it all, strikes hard, fights hard, jumps, and readily eats lures and has even established itself in South Florida, but not in really big sizes like Brazil.

The Dorado is a real heavyweight bruiser. This bright gold/yellow, high-jumping tank is one tough South American customer. It is angler friendly, but can literally tear the hooks off or break large musky-sized lures to bits.

La Zona is the area in Uruguay for the biggest, baddest, rod breaking, lure smashing Golden Dorado in the world.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or captgeorget3@aol.com, or www.flyingfinssportfishing.com.