Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 31, 1999

Fishermen out in bad weather - beware!


One spring while we were at the lake fishing, we were surprised when the fish suddenly started to bite. It was getting cloudy outside and it seemed to be getting dark.

We were fishing from a big pontoon boat near the middle of the lake. My brother said, "This sure is funny weather."

But the fish were biting so good, nobody said anything about going home.

All at once, it started to thunder and get windy. We quickly put everything away and decided to head for home. But Ed couldn't get the pontoon's motor to start.

It started to lightning and the wind was blowing the big pontoon towards the bigger, more open part of the lake.

Ed kept cranking the motor and he finally got it to start, but it was like a little boat in a pail of water ­ the wind was so strong that we could not keep the pontoon going in the right direction.

My brother said, "Put the anchor in half-way. It will keep us going straight."

We tried it and it did help, but it seemed like we could hardly make any headway against the wind.

Then there was a loud crack and lightning struck the lake just a few yards from the boat. Orval looked at the rest of us and started to laugh because everyone's hair was standing straight up.

It was a good thing we weren't holding onto a fishing rod. We were sitting on covered seats and the floor was covered with carpet so we were not touching anything metal. We were all very lucky.

When we got to shore, it was very hard to land the pontoon in the wind. Some people from the shore were watching us come in and they jumped into the water and helped us to get the big pontoon onto the lift.

We ran into our cabin and got some dry clothes on. But our hair still would not lay down.

My brother tried washing his hair to make it lay down and it worked. So we all got our hair wet and combed it back into place.

As soon as the rain quit, my dad and my brother went out to the pontoon to get our fishing gear and bait. All of the bait was dead from the storm.

My brother said, "That was a close call."

"Never again will I be out on the lake when there is a storm coming," Dad said. "We were all very lucky."

Remember to watch the weather when you are at the lake and if the weather is questionable, stay on shore where it is safe. Or you could end up like our bait.

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