Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Three Men in a Boat


With apologies to Jerome K. Jerome for cribbing his title (by the way, if you haven’t read this funny little book, you should) , three septuagenarian Ayers brothers met at Monarch Cove, Lake of the Ozarks, for four days of relaxation, conversation, and fishing, in order of importance.

Brothers on deckGathered here on the deck of Dave and Marilyn’s condo, the reminiscences flowed, some of them accurate, all of them fun to recount without being immediately subject to marital correction. I suspect that our close neighbors on the deck opposite may have learned more than they really wanted to know about us.

Artist TomIn the event that his two older brothers started getting boring or overbearing, Tom brought along his painting kit. Whether from boredom or not, he painted the view to the East from our deck. I hope 1) that he decides to color the water green instead of the present muddy brown and 2) finishes it and gives it to us for framing.

The plan for assaulting our piscatorial adversaries included fishing the sunken beds around the dock for Crappie, drifting for Crappie from a rented pontoon boat, casting for bass from Dave’s bass boat. I very reluctantly report that except for a handful of Crappie caught due to Tom’s relentless and untiring effort (he’s younger than we are after all), the plan failed. But we did catch a few, some of which posed for their portrait.

Tom's Crappie

Don with CrappieSince Tom has only two hands, brother Don offered to display the runt of the catch.

Tom fishing from dockTom the younger simply never gave up, leaving his older siblings gasping for breath. Our Uncle Bus used to tell us that if we wanted to sink a basket, we probably should try to get the ball at least as high as the rim. Likewise, it’s hard to catch fish if our lure is not in the water. I might note here that, in spite of a friend’s insistence that you have to use minnows to catch Crappie, we were using little 1/16-Oz tube jigs below small bobbers. So there! I must admit, however, that our catch might have been better using minnows – live ones rather than the fragrant dead ones left in the boat after said friend’s last trip out.

From pontoon boatFishing tactic number two was to fish in the creature comfort of a 21-ft rented pontoon boat. Comfort it gave us; fish it did not, but not for a lack of trying. I remember days in my fishing past catching gobs of Crappie by letting the wind drift our bobbers over their hidey-holes. I’m morally certain that they got drifted over time and again, but this time they were not hungry. I blame it on sex. They were just off their spawn and were undoubtedly resting up.

Don bass fishingWe returned the pontoon boat and fired up the trusty, 14-year-old Ranger bass boat, which complained a bit trying to get “out of the hole” with three-abreast fishermen weighing it down, but up on plane it got and we went skimming across the lake to a pleasant little North Shore cove near historic Wilmore Lodge. Conditions were perfect and expectations were high. Little wind, temperature in the seventies. I guess that the bass were even more comfortable, because we got no bites in spite of expert technique and limitless patience.

Tom the bass fishermanDon’t we look professional and confident?

Casual DonI’ll close this little photo essay with an image that personifies our fishing and conversational demeanor: calm and casual. Which is how it should be when three brothers gather to enjoy each other’s company, engage in tale-swapping, and try to eat each other under the table. Life is short, and opportunities like our pre-Memorial Day reunion are too rare. We figure that in a year or so we may try it again, if the Lord continues to bless and the creek doesn’t rise.

Dave, grateful for my bros; they’re the greatest!


2 Responses to “Three Men in a Boat”
  1. Larry Ayers says:

    A very enjoyable photo-essay, Dad! With a modicum of luck the three brothers will be be able to meet again in years to come.

  2. Dave says:

    Thanks, Larry. It was a very enjoyable time for all of us, I think, and certainly for the fish. They got releases, for reasons I won’t go into. As for luck, plethoric luck might be desirable. Thanks for your optimism.

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