Weather Forecast


Dock Talk: Cell phones swim with life jackets

Jason Durham

By Jason Durham / For the Enterprise

Fishing and learning go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or maybe like nightcrawlers and worm bedding.

Learning about angling comes in several forms, including information acquired from others and through personal experience.

Sometimes learning through personal experience is optimal. Acquiring life’s lessons due to a mistake is simultaneously valuable and heartbreaking.

I’ve made my fair share of mistakes over the years. This fishing season has inadvertently offered advice. Whether you want to categorize mistakes, accidents or simply a learning curve, when an “incident” occurs, it’s temporarily humiliating yet valuable in curbing future erroneous behavior.

Have you ever backed your boat trailer into the water with the tie down straps attached in the back? What about starting

your outboard with the propeller out of the water? Ever forget to put the drain plug in before launching? Boat batteries are dead for a number of various reasons? Broken line on a big fish because you didn’t re-tie your line (even though you knew the line was frayed?)

You’re probably smiling right now, nodding your head in acknowledgement of all or some of those malfunctions. Don’t feel bad, you’re in good company. Most anglers have been through the ups (everything goes smoothly and the fish are biting) and downs.

This past week I experienced ups and downs with the fishing in addition to some learning lessons from the field.

The most influential involved my cell phone. A decade ago the number of people carrying cellular phones was much fewer compared to today. My phone of choice was a “bag phone,” an analog device that had great reception but was as portable as carrying a purse. It didn’t fit in any pocket in my fishing pants.

Now phones have become much more sleek, portable and perform many more operations compared to ten years ago.

When my smartphone, an Apple I-phone, slipped out of my hands next to the dock on Fish Hook Lake as we were heading out on a guide trip, my heart and subsequent connection to family, friends, clients and society in general, skipped a beat. For four days.

The negative was that as a business owner, my connectivity to people wanting to embark on guide trips was very limited. The positive was that there weren’t calls or texts to reply to in society’s recent expectation of immediate gratification. Fishing was simply fishing, a retro approach to a sport where everything except fishing equipment can be left on shore.

As my phone sat on the bottom of Fish Hook Lake, we fished. The device was recovered about 4 hours later. It had a high quality case and unfortunately, even after immersing the phone in uncooked rice for a couple days, was the only valuable portion that’s functional.

When I bought the I-phone, I also bought the most weather-proof case possible. A few months later, now I fortunately have a new phone, a Life Proof case and a Life Jacket, an add-on feature that makes the phone float. Lesson learned.