“If something has the chance to go wrong, it will”. that is the definition of the famous Murphy’s Law. Do I believe in this? I think so, but I didn’t expect everything to go wrong at once and definitely wasn’t prepared for it. I do not use a motor of any sort when stillwater fishing due to the amount of time already spent in a seated position waiting for a fish, rowing at least gets me moving a bit. It was a perfect day, the water temperature was right on the money and the chironomids were hatching. Halfway out to the spot I heard an alarming snapping sound as my left oar flew out of my hand. I looked down and I had blown up my metal oarlock. Did the one bolt I needed to put it back together fall into the water? of course it did. I managed to limp the last 50 yards or so until I could anchor up and try to come up with a temporary fix. The fishing was great, the sun was shining, all I had to do was find a way to re-construct my oarlock so I could make it back to the launch. In between my feeble fixing attempt without the required parts and being interrupted by a good handful of fish, I heard another loud noise this time from my friend’s boat. I looked back and he was buried in the bow of his pram laying on his back, somehow snapping the sliding swivel mount for his seat. Luckily nobody ended up in the water but the seat mount was toast.
Fast forward a lot of dropped bolts and a bunch more fish, my friend is hooked up on a decent sized rainbow. Decent sized meaning nice but not nearly heavy enough to blow up a fly rod. Apparently I was wrong, as I saw the rod explode along with a loud shattering sound and 2/3 of the top end of the rod sliding around on the line. So thus far we have broken one oar lock, one swivel seat bracket and a 6 weight rod. Cool. I managed to scrape up some sort of a repair on my oarlock, bending it enough to secure the oar in so I could at least move my boat. We decided to pull anchor and move in on another spot halfway across the lake where the bugs are known to hatch in good numbers. My oarlock is somehow holding together while I battle the swirling gusts of wind and make my way across the lake, but none of this matters as 4 boats roll in simultaneously and anchor up as we are 100 yards away or so. The entire shoal is now occupied, so it’s a long row back to our original spot. Halfway back to where I planned on anchoring, I heard something hit the water. My makeshift fix on the oarlock had blown apart and one half of it was fluttering down to the bottom of the lake. Now I’m really out of ideas, I remove the oar and do my best to use the remainders of the oarlock as something to pull the loose oar against to at least get back anchored up. What a rewarding feeling to at least reach my intended destination to try and figure out how I would get back to the launch, until I heard an even louder sounds of snapping aluminum coming from the opposite side of the broken oarlock. Really? I’ve had these same oarlocks on the same set of sticks for 4 years and they both decide to blow up within a few hours of each other? They aren’t the fanciest oarlocks but they are more than enough to get the job done. We ended up fishing another hour or so while coming up with a plan to make it back to the launch. I ended up getting towed back from my friend who was rowing his 8 foot pram, of course the wind decided to do a 180 just before we headed in but at this point we knew there couldn’t be many more things that could go wrong. Back to the launch we made it, slowly but surely, and I managed to replace bolts in two oarlocks that evening and they’ve held up since. But really? Murphy has a way of pulling a rabbit out of a hat when you least expect things to continuously go wrong. Lesson learned: buy quality oarlocks and don’t invite Murphy.