HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge – A Fishy Story


A Fishy Story

By Charlie Hodge

It’s June so some fly fishing is imminent.

Yesterday I ran into a fellow I assisted during an unusual fishing adventure a few years ago. The whimsical saga is worth recalling – especially since it’s true,

Fishing pal Curtis Tulman and I had meandered our way to Kalamalka Lake. Like many fisherman the ultimate goal was not so much to catch fish as to simply get away from reality for a bit, hang out on the water, swap stories and chuckles, and quench some thirst from the heat of the day.  Suffice to say we succeeded.

Warm weather and no particular time constraints enhanced the odds of a wonderful adventure,  however the real game breaker was testing the new electronic motor Tez had surprised me with on my recent birthday.

Curtis suggested we take a second back-up car battery for the electric motor so we could drain the new one and gain insight into how far we could traverse  before losing power. The second battery would guarantee an easy trip home. (Smart dude that Curtis).

I’m sure onlookers at our departure point (as well as boaters, swimmers, and waterfront property owners) were somewhat  amused at the site of us as we puttered by. My 35-year old 14-foot Sportspal aluminum canoe boasts more dents and dints than a golf ball and more putty and goop to fill the holes than a reconstructed actress. A few years back we discovered that strapping down two lawn chairs into the canoe was much more comfy than bending 60-year old knees all day – provided one does not lean to far sideways. Not only does it make paddling easier but it saves the butt and knees from hours of agony.

Stuffed in between the two of us and lawn chairs Curtis and I crammed in tackle boxes, net, rods, anchor, reserve clothing, the always imperative cooler, and two car batteries. With no further adieu the HMS Escape began the Kalamalka campaign.

Mid afternoon blistering heat is neither the best time to catch fish nor avoid sunburn in the Okanagan but that was not about to stop this dynamic duo. Considering we were using fly rods on a traditional trolling lake reduced the odds of snagging  fish – but again fishing success was not the highest priority. That said between the two of us we managed to snag some five or six fish of various size and style into the boat during our five hours on the water. (For the record we told folks we caught nine or ten). The first arrived within five minutes while receiving shouted instructions on where to catch fish from a fellow dog-paddling in the middle of nowhere.

From then on the only time we caught a fish was while floating past another boat or people on their docks who engaged us in conversation.  Five or six conversation resulted in five or six fish. Go figure.

With storm clouds threatening and libations at a critical low point  we decided to head back for the safety of shore. Our return trek was about half complete when the ‘You can’t make this sort of stuff up’  took place.

“That’s a great looking craft,” I muttered, nodding towards the large power boat rocking gently and quietly in the water. We assumed the static vessel was simply a case of three folks enjoying a sunny stop for some R and R. Around 100 feet away we veered left to avoid the stopped vessel when one of the men on board hollered out, “Sorry about being in your way, boys, we do not mean to mess up your fishing.”

Surprised by the care and concern expressed we cheerfully replied it was not a problem (Most power boaters are either clueless or callous about the safety or silence of fishermen, especially in canoes).

“We’d get out of the way but our motor has died,” he responded.

“Can we help you,” Curt queried.

“Not unless you have a battery to jump us,” the despondent owner sighed. “Don’t suppose you guys have a battery on board do you?”

“As a matter of fact we do. Actually, we have two,” Curt grinned.

“Seriously,” he replied incredulously.

“We do not have cables, though,” Curtis retorted.

“Well we do.”

Mere seconds later with cables attached and a few brief prayers tossed out for good luck the large craft’s motor sputtered into life – inspiring a blustery blend of cheers and chuckles from the five of us.

After exchanging high fives and all of us giggling at the irony and absurdity of the situation we pushed off clear of the boat and drifted away a few feet waiting to make sure the charge had indeed turned the trick. After idling for a few seconds our new friends gave a hearty wave and roared off into the distance.

As they disappeared into the myriad of other boats, Curtis turned to me and said, “Good thing the battery jumped their engine, otherwise we would have had to give them a tow.”

The two of us chuckled the rest of the way home.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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