A Second Chance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Three friends, out on a boat, enjoying the day, fishing and drinking beer, what could go wrong right?

 

 

 

I guess I'll start at the beginning, but first wanted to thank you for reading this, because I know when you're through, you'll think I am full of it and making all this up. Believe me, I wouldn't blame you but keep in mind, there were three witnesses to my story.

My name is Fred, I am 48 now, but was 35 when this happened, so you do the math. One summer day, mid-July, three of my friends and I went fishing out on Lake Erie, all of us being from Ohio, that is where we launched from, specifically Berlin Heights and we rented a boat in Mitiwanga for a day trip. I have heard people say, "smart people don't own boats, but have friends who own boats", well, we all must be smart, because none of us did. Our friend Steve, who still had his captain license, had a nice 28-foot fishing boat, but lost it in a divorce about a year prior to our trip, so he piloted that day. Many people know that Lake Erie has a lot of fish, Walleye, Yellow perch, small and large mouth bass and a few types of trout to name some, but we were out for sport, catch and release, and were going for the biggest Lake Erie had to offer, the Lake Sturgeon, which can grow up to 10 feet and about 300 lbs. 

We were all seasoned fisherman, we have all gone fishing all over the Great Lakes, Florida, Mexico, we even did a week trip on the Gulf of Mexico many years prior to the Erie trip. We had reserved the boat on-line, had all of our gear, we had our strongest rods, reels and line, large hooks, wire leaders. The boat we rented had a stern facing swivel chair, complete with foot rest, harnesses, etc., commonly known as a 'fighting chair'. We found the boat, got loaded up and headed off toward the lake by 6 a.m., so it was still dark out. Our plan was to get out to a depth of about 120 feet, drop anchor, turn on the digital fish finder, bait some lines and basically, sit and wait. Our bait and hooks, were not only too big for most of the fish out here, but also way too deep, this was our plan anyway, which Steve, Phil and Patrick seemed to be on board with. Yet after Phil noticed on the fish finder, what he described as "tons of fish swimming by the boat", he convinced Patrick to bait some smaller hooks, using some smaller rods that were on the boat, and try to catch some Walleye or Bass, which Steve and I had no problem with. So, they gathered their gear and set up at the bow of the boat, while I had my Sturgeon rig set up using the chair, facing the stern. 

A few hours went by and there was no sign of any Sturgeons, on the finder or even a nibble, yet all the while, Phil and Patrick were doing pretty good. So good in fact, they were throwing back the "small ones" as Phil put it, laughing because they were legal size, but he wanted to keep only a few of the larger ones. A few hours went by and it was around 10:30, the sun was fully out by then and Steve started breaking out the sandwiches his wife made us and of course a beer or two. We were all hanging toward the bow, laughing, eating and telling stories of our different fishing adventures and Patrick laughed at the fact that he had caught the second biggest Walleye he had ever caught and didn't even know he was going to be fishing for them that day. Then I said, "I am going to check on my bait, I'll be back". 

As I grabbed my rod off the chair straps, I started to reel in my bait and I remember thinking, "something ate it", because it felt very light. I had about fifty feet reeled in, out of about eighty when the line snagged on something. "What the heck?" I remember thinking and then BAM...something hit that hook like a freight train and before I could even react, me, the rod and reel were pulled over board!! Those three must have heard me scream, but it couldn't have been very long. For some reason when I hit the water I was still hanging on the rod and even though I was under water, my eyes were open and in front of me was this huge creature, I could barely make it out, but I did see for a split second and long tail, long neck and my first thought was, "That aint no Sturgeon!" and my second thought was, "let go of the rod dumbass and start swimming toward the surface!" It was just then I realized how deep I was and running out of air, I blacked out. What seemed like hours, was in reality probably just a few seconds, yet I had what I found out later as an N.D.E., a "near death experience", because I remember I was engulfed in total white light, brighter than anything you had ever seen, then I started to hear voices. 

One voice sounded like my grandma, my dad's mom, with an unforgettable southern drawl to her voice, and then I started hearing other voices. I couldn't make out exactly what they were saying, but then my grandma said, "you need to go back now Freddie", I remember thinking how weird that was. At that very moment I came to, I was still under water but surfacing really fast and I could feel something under me, pushing me toward the sunlight. "OH SHIT, THERE HE IS!!" I heard Steve scream, in fact they were all screaming, like panic type screaming, I later found out why. As I was gasping for air and spitting out water from my lungs, I thought to myself, "Why doesn't someone jump in and help me into the boat?!", again, that reason came later. During all this, they were grabbing the life preserver and rope and before long, I was sprawled out on the deck, still spitting up water, and they all just stood there, staring at me as if I was a ghost. "What happened?" I said when I caught my breath, but they just stood there, looking at me, Steve was also looking over board, when I repeated myself, "WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED!!? Finally, Steve spoke up and said, "Dude, you're not going to believe this...", Patrick and Phil were still standing there with their mouths open, "WHAT!!??" I screamed. 

Steve said, "Bro, you were brought back to the surface by Bessie....". Phil looked at me, nodding in agreement, Patrick was still in shock I guess, but they had all seen, what they described as a forty-foot, dark gray looking dinosaur, with a long neck, long tail and four flippers, pushing me up to the surface with its head, and when I broke water, it took off back to the depths. Not many people know about Bessie, although many know about Nessie, better known as The Loch Ness Monster. The first sighting of Bessie was back in 1793 by a boat captain and there have been several sightings since then. In my own mind, it all made sense, meaning how quickly and violently I was pulled over board, how fast I went down and more importantly, what I saw. Anyway, to say the least, we were all done for the day, even though it was only about 1:30, we all agreed to raise anchor and head back. I was still in shock, I guess everyone was, because there wasn't much talking between us, about anything really. 

I am sure Phil and Patrick were a little happy they were fishing for much smaller fish, I guess, an incident like that, as traumatic as it was for us all, it leaves one reflecting a lot. We were about ten minutes from the dock when I spoke up and said, "I need some time to recover from this, let's not tell any one about it right away, let's sit on it a bit ok?" Everyone nodded in agreement, when Phil spoke up, "Talk about a story about the one that got away!", we all had a short chuckle and Steve said, "Besides, who would believe us anyway?", "Good point" I said. That is the end of the story, we all went back to our lives and for myself, I never went back on a boat, ever. Over the years Steve bought a new boat and wanted me to go out, and I always came up with an excuse, but I think he knew the real reason, and I knew I had gotten a second chance.

 

*Subject to copyright


Submitted: May 26, 2021

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