$200 cot and the microskiff fishing fleet

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by inboardgheenoeguy, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. inboardgheenoeguy

    inboardgheenoeguy Well-Known Member

    No Motor Zone Ned stood on the battered dock next to a
    Chokoloskee Island launch ramp and rubbed his bearded
    chin as he eyeballed the loaded skiffs. Each carried multiple
    jerry cans of fuel, boxes of camping gear, grub and tackle. There
    wasn’t a spare inch of bare deck in sight and you could tell his
    orderly, engineering oriented brain was calculating weight, load
    and boat draft and how that would effect gas consumption in the
    planned Everglades loop trip.
    There were three skiffs: my 15’ Riverhawk powered by a 15hp
    Johnson; Gator’s Gheenoe Classic rocket ship pushed with a 25hp
    Yamaha; and NMZ Ned’s brand new 15’ G3 aluminum jon boat
    sporting a 20hp 4 stroke electric start. The plan was to run 45 miles
    south that January day down to Camp Lonesome and explore the
    backcountry. After two nights at Lonesome, we’d venture back
    north to Camp Willy Willy and then make the long run home up the
    Wilderness Waterway. All this depended, of course, on whether the
    mild weather would hold. If a big nor’wester were to hit, and dried
    up the back country, then we’d be faced with a a run along the
    Gulf Islands in unfriendly chop in very small boats. Having been
    in that situation in the Everglades a year earlier, Gator and I knew
    it was something we didn’t want to repeat. Twenty knot winds,
    NNW, caused us to creep along, pole and grunt our way the 17
    miles from Darwin’s Place back to Chokoloskee. It was a four-hour
    endurance contest.
    “Well, Stubb, think we got it all? What we need?” asked Ned.
    “Believe so … lessee, here: spare prop, you got the tools; gallon a’
    water per day per person; tents, fleece sleeping bags, grub’s in that
    truck box; here’s mine ‘n Gator’s cots .. where’s your cot, Ned?”
    “Right here in
    this plastic grocery
    bag,” replied
    Ned as he rummaged
    the stuff piled on
    his foredeck.
    “That’s a cot?”
    Gator blurted out.
    “In that tiny bag?”
    “Yupperee. Mylar,
    plastic and collapsible
    rods like tent poles. Weighs two pound ‘n floats your tail ‘bout four
    inches off the ground. Latest high tech campin’ doodad. Bit costly
    but I aim to sleep good.”
    We didn’t have time to discuss this marvel of engineering, so
    the Micro Skiff Fishing Fleet set sail south. We wound our way
    through the Turner River, Hurdles Creek, and then skimmed our
    way through shallow bays and mangrove tunnel creeks along
    the Wilderness Waterway. We passed a fisherman or two and the
    occasional paddling group; we took a break at Lostman’s, then
    at the Rodger’s River chickee where we checked charts and GPS’
    for the Broad River turn off to Camp Lonesome. By the time we
    meandered through Alligator and Plate Creeks, we’d left the last of
    people and boats behind. We saw not another person the next
    two days.
    By the time we arrived at Camp Lonesome, after driving most of
    the night to Chokoloskee, launching, then running the Waterway all

    morning, then setting up camp, we were bushed. However, Gator and I revived somewhat
    while we watched NMZ Ned unravel his new cot.
    “Never did say how much you paid fer that thing, Ned..” I hinted.
    “Was considerable,” mumbled Ned as he set the small pieces and parts on a table and
    eyed the assembly instruction.
    “How considerable, c’mon,” asked Gator.
    “Well, I got a discount cuz I’m a member of a fly club, you see, but, er, ummm, I think it
    was ‘bout two hundred with shipping…..” Ned responded in a low voice.
    Gator and I were stunned:
    “Two hundred Yankee dollars?” I needed clarification on this.
    “Er, uh huh. Yup. Pretty close to it…”
    “Does that cot play music? Have a heater? Does it mix drinks?” Gator exclaimed.
    But Ned ignored us and quickly put the
    cot together, an amazing puzzle of small
    rings and poles and mylar. The cot stood,
    indeed, about 4 inches off the ground.
    We tested it out for sag … and the mylar
    “bed” didn’t give hardly at all. Ned, satisfied
    with the construct, lifted up his one
    man tent, set it on top of the cot, and
    pegged the tent in place.
    “Nap time,” Ned stated with smug satisfaction
    as he crawled in and started snoring
    Our weather held, temperatures in the high 70s,
    calm windless mornings and breezy south winds in the afternoons. We explored eastwards
    into freshwater creeks off the Broad and Wood Rivers and found a backcountry
    nameless lagoon filled with every kind of fish except the big he-monster snook.
    In that lagoon, NMZ Ned saw a tarpon roll and lobbed a shallow running hard plug to it.
    I heard him yell: “Wow! Tarpon on!!!!!” and as I turned my skiff around witnessed a big
    tarpon go airborne. The next eight minutes Ned’s G3 was towed by that leaping fish and
    I did my best to snap a picture of it in the air but wasn’t fast enough. Finally, the tarpon
    jumped again near Ned, and snapped the hooks off the treble. It looked like wire cutters
    had done their job on that plug.
    But, we all agreed that we would count that a “catch” given the length of time on and the
    fact that the tarpon was nearly boated. Ned’s trip, he claimed, was already a success.
    “Not ever day you hook up with a monster like that .. particularly on a flat calm day in a
    back country lagoon that looks like it’s on another planet,” Ned said. “An’ that there cot
    was worth ever penny. I’ll see if I can get you boys my discount if you want….”
    (to be continued)
  2. LoneRanger

    LoneRanger Temporarily Boatless

    who wrote it? its pretty good~

    L.R. :cool:

  3. HaMm3r

    HaMm3r Well-Known Member

    I like the story a lot! :) Is there more to it, yet to be posted?