By Mark Easterling
Being a kayak fisherman I can tell you almost every time I get on the water I’m confronted with something new and usually unexpected. If something weird, funny or bad happens you can bet it’s going to happen to me. Sure, I have fallen out of the yak, fallen into forty six degrees water while trying to launch, even driven to the lake to discover I forgot my paddle or even my fishing poles.
How about dropping your rod and reel into the water only to watch it disappear into the depths? The only reason I got it back, I was throwing a topwater lure at the bank, so I paddled to where my lure was floating to retrieve my rod.
The next story goes hand in hand with the above blunders.
Cheatham Lake has lots of creeks and inlets that are inhabited by peoples’ homes that are right on the water, some just a stones throw away from the edge. Some are like a small community of homes all close together. Now mix my luck from the list above and this describes the adventure I was about to begin.
It is about eight in the morning as I approach the mouth of the creek, I steer my yak to
throw some topwaters at the riprap on one side. Now mind you, it is very quiet and a weekday so no one is outside, plus the temperature is about forty two degrees, the water is bone chilling cold. I attempt to be as quiet as possible, this is my type of fishing.
Just down from the main house that looks over the Cumberland River is a small road that all the other houses connect to. I’m fishing the whole bank that leads to where the road ends at the water when all of a sudden a big black dog comes and watches me for a few seconds, then another dog appears, then there are five dogs all watching from the bank. All of a sudden those dogs start barking. Christ, it is so loud I bet people in Ashland City could hear them. I didn’t want to leave because I had already caught one nice bass, so I kept fishing. Next thing you know some of the people in those houses are screaming at their dogs to stop barking. They are coming out of their houses onto their decks to look at me in my kayak while continuing to scream at their dogs.
Guess what happens next, just guess. The dogs all jump into the water and are swimming out to my kayak. Now I understand how Columbus must have felt when his boat approached the shore of the new land and all the people jumped into the water to greet the ships. What else could I do but greet the dogs, and even patted a couple on the head
and of course with the water freezing, now I’m wet.
Now the dogs owners are in a frenzy screaming at their animals to get out of the water. It is so loud with all the dogs still barking all the owners yelling I’m surprised the police did not show up. Well, it gets worse because all the dogs returned to the bank only to jump
in again for another meet and greet. I feel so bad that I start apologizing to the people that have come out. This is met with stares and silence. All the while, the dogs in and out of the water are still barking like mad. Then the neighbors start howling
at each other and it’s like a war on Cheatham Lake.
Since the water was so cold the dogs had no choice but return to the bank. Man, what a sight seeing all the steam coming off those dogs as they got back onto the land. I would have never thought they would get in water that cold. This was my chance to make an exit, so I paddled on up the creek. Big mistake, the dogs get into the water again to follow me. Yes, the barking and howling from the dogs and people starts all over again.
The only thing for me to do was just high tail it out of there, and that’s exactly what I did. finally the dogs gave up because there’s no way they could swim in all that current at the mouth of the creek. I looked back to see all those people out on their decks and in front of their homes still staring at me.
Needless to say I have not been back there. It will be awhile before I decide to fish there again. Next time if I go there, I might be met by more than stares and barking dogs.
Wildlife artist, outdoorsman, writer - UnionvilleTennessee