The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 23, 2012

Mother Nature had own plans for Father’s Day fishing trip

— It was Father’s Day last Sunday, a day that by definition is a guilt-free pass for dads to do whatever they wish.

So I called a buddy, also a dad. “Let’s go fishing.”

A hour later, pausing as we pulled out of the driveway, boat-in-tow, I glanced past my fishing partner out to the western sky where a gray bank of clouds seemed to be building.

“Suppose we should grab some rain gear?” I wondered and immediately answered my own question. “Naw, the weather guy on the news last night said today was supposed to be the best day of the weekend. Let’s go catch some.”

On the lake, it didn’t take long to find some active fish. But a few minutes later, a low rumble far to the west commanded our attention.

Beyond the trees along the shore, ominously dark clouds were gathering.

Minutes later, there came another low rumble, then another. But no flickering flash of electricity.

But it seemed closer, a lot closer.

As the first rain drops began to pepper us, we already were on our way to the landing.

More thunder rumbled and big rain drops fell as we hurriedly tied the boat to a dock and headed to the lakeside restaurant where we decided to ride out the storm.

But the storm turned out to be more show than go and a half-hour later and after just a few sprinkles, we walked out to survey the sky.

Things looked promising with slivers of blue peeking through benign-looking clouds in the western sky. A quick call to my wife to check the radar confirmed it. “Just a few small green areas ... not much so go for it,” she said.

We shoved off and a few minutes later, we once again were intent on boating some of the nice crappies that banged our jigs with uncharacteristic gusto.

With our attention on the good fishing, we failed to notice the the gathering clouds until an ominous rumble rolled through the clouds directly overhead.

A little rain wasn’t going to melt us.

But standing in an aluminum boat, out on the water, waving fishing rods over our heads — a bolt of lightning just might. We reluctantly decided that the prudent thing to do would be to head in.

By the time we were halfway back to the landing, the rain was coming down hard, stinging our faces as the boat skipped across the water.

But the time we reached the landing, the rain once again had ceased.

Now soaked and a bit chilled, we still weren’t quite ready to give up.

“Let’s wait a while before loading the boat,” I suggested. Beyond the storm clouds and to the west, it looked to be growing lighter. We might still salvage the day.

But my wife’s weather prognostication was about as accurate as that of the professional weather pundits.

As we were standing there contemplating our next move, a bolt of lightening flickered above us, followed instantly by the crack of thunder, a strong hint that we’d best throw in the towel.

As I backed the trailer down the ramp, the southerly wind suddenly freshened and changed to the north, a chilly blast that in seconds was carrying horizontal sheets of rain.

Scrambling in the downpour, we winched the boat back onto the trailer and strapped it down.

Thoroughly drenched, we secured items, tucked things away, before scrambling into the cab of the truck and heading back to town as heavy rain drummed off the roof.

So much for a Father’s Day forecast of nice weather and a day of guilt-free fishing.

A guilt-free afternoon nap would have to do.

John Cross is a Free Press staff writer. Contact him at 344-6376 or by e-mail at

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