07 May 2010 | a long time ago, far, far away....
Back in 1973, I was out on the Withlacoochee River in Fl. It was one of those hot, lazy days on the river, fishing from a small Jon boat, with my then husband. (He's dead now, 2 out of 3 ex's have gone that route, it's not me, I swear!) I was around 7 months along with our first son, and we were in a side lagoon, fishing shiners with a bobber for bass. I had pulled in two, as well as 3 good size yellow perch.
I was just sitting in the sun, watching the bobber for activity, when a movement caught my eye. To the left and beyond where my bobber sat doing nothing, was a set of eyes, low in the water. Gator. Looked to be about a eight footer. I started pulling in my line, slowly. Mr. Gator decided to follow. I guess he wanted to check it out, who knows. I reacted by amping up the retrieval speed. It wasn't as fast as Gatorboy. Soon we were in the bobber-gator Olympics, me trying to bring in my gear before munch monster could grab hold.
Too late, I realized I was bringing a speed bomb of a gator right to the side of my boat. Oops. My nitwit of a husband decided to draw his pistol. And stand up. I yelled at him to sit down before he shot one of us or became a tasty treat for our new admirer. For once he listened to me. By now the gator miester was less than six feet from the side of the Jon boat, and showing no sign of slowing, or being aware that the boat was in front of him. He only had eyes for the escaping bobber. What to do/ what to do?
I jerked that rod up over my head as fast and hard as I could, ripping the bobber and shiner out of the water. I saw the shiner leave the hook and continue flying off into the void. Wonder what his last thoughts were? This still left a gator barreling down on me and the jon boat. He decided to follow the bobber - straight up in the air, working his massive body side to side, propelling him upwards, until he fell over backwards, splashing me to the bone, and rocking the boat so much that I dropped the rod and grabbed the gunnels in an effort to stay onboard. My husband dropped the pistol in the water during all this upheaval. I didn't lose the rod.
I began to shake a bit after all was said and done. Nerves, I'm sure. So many alternate scenarios started going through my head. My husband asked if I was cold, with an attitude; like he was reminding me what a hot day it was. I just glared at him, mostly because I knew my voice would shake if I spoke right then. He started going on about losing his pistol and that did it for me. I turned and asked him if he wanted to go in after it, 'cause if he did I'd be glad to help get him in the water. Then I suggested he crank up the outboard and take us to another area, 'cause I was about fished out here.
So much for a quiet day on the river.