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Saranac Lake Fishing Adventure

September 2003
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Our 5th annual trip is in the books, I can't believe it's been 5 years already! This year was full of adventure, that's for sure. I'll try my best to capture it here, but you really had to be there to appreciate it. The weather started out great, the first day was sunny and calm. The sky was cloudless and the water like glass .  When we reached Middle Saranac Lake we noticed 3 or 4 boats tied up on our island! How can this be? Well, it turned out to be an extension of the original group that I used to go with. How ironic. I guess it's their island, they've been going for something like 20 years. Anyway, they were there a week later than their normal time which is why we haven't seen them all these years. So we began our search for another island to call home for the weekend. After trying several times to anchor near a smaller island we decided on another island directly across the Lake from our normal spot. It had a nice camping spot and we anchored easy enough so all was well. This did cause us to be behind schedule quite a bit and we didn't get fishing until well after 3 pm that first day. Just prior to that, we happened upon a stranded boat (transmission failure). We towed them to their island (you guessed it, our island), which is when we found out who they were. So after a bit of short reminiscing about the old days, we parted ways leaving them at the island, still stranded by the way.
Sweet !
That afternoon we tried a spot near a smaller pond off of Saranac and the lift mechanism failed on the boat. Guess who came to our rescue, you got it, another boat from the former party who now found out that there buddies were stranded back on the island. They pulled us out of shallow water and went on their way as Jon began to troubleshoot a problem that would plague us the rest of the trip. When we finally did get fishing, the Pike were very accommodating. That afternoon we all caught something and Jon was on a tear (making up for past years performances I think). We saw a Bald Eagle that first afternoon as well. All in all a good day, even with the minor inconveniences. If we only knew what was in store for us.
Very nice Pike

That night at about 1 am, we were all awaken by what sounded like a 747 coming into the tent. The wind had started blowing so hard that the tarp we had over the tent was flapping like a broken sail. It was so loud that no one could sleep. In addition, Jon went to check on the boat and found that it was being tossed just as violently and was whacking some rocks (not good). After re-tying the boat, he sat there in the wind watching it for over an hour to make sure it was not going to get tossed by the waves. The tent was taking a beating from the wind and from the tarp  beating against the poles continually. The tent poles fell numerous times and by morning the tarp had ripped off (actually broke a bungee cord). After a restless night, morning finally came and it was sunny, but the wind did not let up. We decided to move the tent to another spot on the island that seemed to be a little bit more sheltered from the wind. After setting it all up, we noticed a tree that was literally being ripped from the ground by the wind that could possibly land on the tent if it fell. After hours of trying to tie the tree off and even help it fall, it was evident that it wasn't going anywhere soon. We finally went fishing in the afternoon, fighting the wind and the whitecaps to get to calmer water and shelter from the wind. Again, the fish were very cooperative.

Not too shabby
We returned to camp in time to make some dinner on the other side of the island because there was no way we could cook in the wind. We opted not to put up the tarp over the tent based on the previous nights experience (we would pay for that decision). That night as darkness fell, the wind continued and the sound of light rain began to fall on the tent. In the distance, the sound of thunder became evident and I began to wonder what kind of night it was going to be. I wouldn't have to wonder long as waves of storms began to pound our island like freight trains. A few times lightning struck very close and the wind was causing the rain to hit so hard it sounded like small rocks at times. I don't know how much help a tarp would have been by this time. It became apparent that a few years of use and the previous days wind had caused many of the tent seams to be compromised. You guessed it, it leaked like a sieve.  Before we knew it we had puddles in the tent and the water was dripping on all of us. I think Jon got the short end of the stick that night. Serves him right for catching all those fish. Another sleepless night passed and morning brought continued moderate rain, but finally the wind had stopped. Normally we would do a bit of fishing on the last day but I think we were ready to clean up, pack up, and head out. This proved to be a long, messy process as much of our stuff was wet. Now, don't get me wrong here, this is all part of camping and should be expected from time to time so I'm not really complaining...... yet.
Monster Bass ....... not
Jon went to check on the boat which we tied up on another side of the island to keep it from blowing into the rocks again and found a scary sight. It was sinking! Could it have rained that hard? After bailing out A LOT of water, Jon was able to get the motor started and the bilge pump going. So, it turned out OK after all but by this time I was pretty stressed as was Jon and we were ready to head home. I know, I can't believe I said it either.
Well, with all of the weather related problems, the fishing was the best yet and we still had a good time. Oh, by the way, do you remember back in 2001 when we first brought Roger along and I stated that we had the worst weather possible. I stand corrected, this year was much worse. You guessed it, Roger came along! I'm not saying he's the cause but you have to admit, it's kind of weird.
Hey, isn't that Ampersand over there?

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