My nickname in some quarters is “Black Cloud” because I have a tendency to toward bad luck. My only chance to fish Lake Amistad during its heyday, for instance, was doomed when a blizzard (literally a blizzard) blew through South Texas — in late May. The one time I fished Lake Falcon, another big-bass mecca, fell apart when an upstream dam burst in Mexico and sent the lake into a massive rise.
And my outdoors woes aren’t limited to cursing media trips. No, my bad luck extends to personal hunting (how many deer have I spooked by doing something stupid?) and fishing excursions.
Just ask my son, who was in the boat when I ran across a log jam in my boat (which, in my defense, is tunneled and built to do these things) and ended up ramming a laydown. Or perhaps check with former editor Todd Masson, who had the misfortune of being in my boat when I threw a prop — I mean, it just disappeared. And, no, I didn’t have a spare — while we were on the far side of Grand Lake from the Delacroix landing.
Please, please, don’t even bring up the subject with my wife, who was with me one day when I swore I had plenty of fuel, only to run out of gas about as far from the landing as possible. Years later, she still doesn’t think there was anything funny about that.
So it really wasn’t a huge surprise when I hit the water earlier this year to scout for the one tournament I fish each year with buddy Darren Cooper (who knows all about that little cloud that pours rain on my head) and my outboard pooted out. Quit. Refused to even hint at starting.
I shrugged it off and called Ken Sherman at Front to Back Boat Service, and we quickly identified the cause as a malfuntioning power pack. Changed it out, and the 1993 Mercury 150 roared to life.
Life seemed to be back on track.
Until I went on the very next trip. As soon as I came off plane halfway down Bayou Magazille, the outboard died — and stubbornly refused to crank. I spent the next two or three hours trolling back to the landing, grinding my teeth.
Back to the shop, where it turned out there was no fire getting to the pistons — again. Probable cause: a blown stator.
At press time, I was waiting to get the boat back in and the part replaced, but all of the problems (and the saving of repair money) has cost me the best fishing of the year.
I’m hoping to hit the Atchafalaya Basin soon to see if I can catch some bass or bream. Maybe make a trip to Delacroix and wrestle with some shallow-water reds.
But not until I test the latest repair — very close to the landing.