Not another fish tale

It was a quiet Saturday morning on the spot where the Snye meets the Clearwater, a sandy point that is one of the natural gathering points along the water in Fort McMurray. By the end of a sunny day on the weekend, this spot will be overflowing with cars and trucks, people and their dogs, and fishermen trying to carve out a prime spot in a place where fishing real estate is in high demand and short supply. But yesterday morning, it was just me.

As I sat in my lawn chair, eyes focused on the tip of my rod sitting in a spare piece of pvc pipe lodged in the sand, I was waiting for the slightest quiver and the possibility that a fish was considering my underwater offering of skewered minnow.

From the float plane side of the Snye, the sound of spinning tires was followed by a late model black Ford Tempo, screaming toward the point. The driver slammed on his brake and executed a noisy donut before heading back from where he came. The pair of yahoos did another donut then began heading back my way. At this point I had had enough and decided to google the RCMP complaint line, thinking that calling 9-11 was a little over the top.

As they kicked up another pile of sand and started back down the road, narrowly missing the grader operator, I was still playing with my Blackberry trying to find the right number. I looked up and as if in slow motion, watched the car careen past a large fuel tank and drive right into the water.

It was at this time that I felt I had enough cause to call 9-11. I was talking to the operator as the two young fellows crawled out of the windows and onto the roof of the now submerged car.

"OK, they're out and heading up to the road," I said to the operator. "Now they're heading into the forest. They're fleeing the scene."

While police cars and spectators tried to figure out what happened, I continued fishing, trying to catch something, anything. Eventually, a constable came over to get my statement. And while I was voicing my account of the incident into a tiny handheld digital tape recorder, my rod dipped violently toward the water. I instinctively lunged to grab hold, leaving the officer with tape in hand, likely snickering at my divergent priorities.

The fish was gone. So, I set it in place again and returned to the interview.

Bam! Another hit and another lunge back to the rod.

Nothing again. The interview was done and so were the bites. And while I went home empty-handed, I did manage to snag quite a tale.

June 13, 2010 - 194.6 pounds, 34.2% body fat


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