By Pete Robbins
My wife will be out of town this weekend, I’m off work on Friday and the river continues to pump out good bags of fish. I can put my scheduling secretary on hiatus, it seems, because the obvious choice is to go fish. Unfortunately, it’s going to be 99 degrees on Friday, 99 on Saturday and a lovely 101 on Sunday.
The boat is gassed up, my tackle is ready, the only thing that I need to get is ice. As much as the boat’s cooler will hold.
That makes me wonder – in 20 years as a bass boat owner, how many bags of ice have I purchased? The number has to be in the hundreds, all for a concoction with the simplest recipe around. Take water, freeze it, dump it in da cooler. If I was smarter and thriftier, I’d collect the ice from the kitchen ice maker all week before I go fishing or horde those little blue freezer packs. Or perhaps I would’ve bought an ice machine of my own back in the 90s. Of course, neither of those would help me when I take the boat to a distant lake for multiple days, but they surely would’ve at least put me at the break even point, right?
This brings me back to my first boat, a 17’10” lead sled that I bought from a friend back in the fall of 1996. Unlike every boat I’ve owned since, it didn’t even have a built-in cooler. I don’t recall what I did on those scorching hot days. I know that I fished lots of them out of that little tub, because unlike now I fished every day that I didn’t have to work, and didn’t come off the water early unless something broke. Did I just put warm drinks in my storage compartments? Did I pack a standalone cooler to cramp the limited floor space. I honestly don’t remember. I obviously didn’t die of dehydration, because I’m here to write about it today.
Maybe I just didn’t care enough about creature comforts and spent the money that I should’ve spent on ice on plastic worms instead. Judging from my garage pegboard, which lacks an ice machine but has hundreds of bags of worms, I’d say that’s pretty likely, and I don’t regret it a bit.