One second I was cruising down the river at seventy-plus on smooth-as-a-baby’s-butt water, the next second my speed took a nose dive and the motor started shaking. Even though I didn’t hit anything, I immediately knew what it was – my prop had thrown a blade.
How did I know? Back in the fall of 1995, right when I started tournament fishing, I’d been in a friend’s boat when the same thing happened (except for the seventy-plus part – this was back in the days of the 150 as the gold standard motor). He’d calmly pulled over, changed the prop and we were back in business. I filed the experience away in my mental “junk that might happen” folder.
When the same thing happened on Saturday morning, I was glad that I owned a spare prop.
Unfortunately, it was sitting nearly 20 miles away in the back of my Suburban.
I used to keep it in the boat at all times, but after nearly two decades without a prop problem, once I stopped tournament fishing, I figured I wouldn’t need it. I figured wrong.
While I could’ve been frustrated, I surprised myself by remaining calm. I called up Boat US and while it took the tow boat 90 minutes to get to me and about two more hours to get back to the ramp, in the end it was no harm, no foul. In contrast to my foolish decision to leave the spare prop behind, I had wisely elected to renew my Boat US membership. That meant that I had to pay nothing out of pocket for a tow up the river that the tow boat driver told me would otherwise have cost nearly $1,300. I have no relationship with the company, but if you regularly fish a body of water with their service, it’s the best eighty clams a year you can spend.
Spare prop is on the boat, I’m ready to get back on the water later this week, lesson learned.