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Dock Talk: Great times can come from bad luck

Dick Lundstrom had some good luck catching this nice Lake Belle Taine smallmouth last summer despite his guide's tardiness in showing up to the dock. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

Some people argue that catching fish is an acquired skill that requires practice. Others contend that it's simply a result of pure luck.

Although you'll rarely talk to an angler who admits fishing is entirely luck or entirely skill, both definitely play a role in catching fish.

Yet interestingly enough, sometimes the luck vs. skill debate has nothing to do with actually catching fish, but with the process.

For instance, if your boat motor doesn't start, you get a flat tire on the trailer or you break a ____ (insert practically any type of fishing equipment here; rod, reel, line, lucky crappie-shaped hat pin, etc.), is that necessarily bad luck fishing?

Throughout 2009, I had some bad luck fishing, but not bad luck catching fish. Occasionally the fish weren't cooperative, but overall, I had a great year catching fish.

However, I did have a few minor mishaps. Some were a result of bad luck, others may have been, well, unintentionally self-inflicted.

To share these tales of misfortune, I've compiled a short explanation of each event and given it a number. You'll have to determine whether it's true or false. Answers are at the bottom.

1. My expensive digital camera snapped off from its mount on a tripod and fell into the open live well inside my boat.

2. I got a flat tire at a remote boat access and physically could not pull the wheel from the hub. A tow truck, sledgehammer and a bill for $75 fixed the problem.

3. My boat sat out of commission for two months due to a back- ordered engine part.

4. I got two brand new portable fish houses, but before I took the canvas out of the plastic package, my dog chewed through the folded corner, creating eight holes.

5. On the first ice fishing trip of the season, my 1-year-old ice auger seized. The recommendation from the repair shop: "Buy a new auger."

6. My boat drifted away from the dock. Estimating the water was waist deep, I jumped into the lake, planning to immediately jump again into the boat. I lost my new sandal in the two feet of muck on the bottom and soaked my cell phone.

7. My brand new fish house weaseled out from under two tow-straps on a snowmobile trailer as I traveled across Highway 34 at 55 mph.

8. My alarm clock failed and I woke up an hour late for a guide trip. I called and apologized, then got another call from a different client wondering where I was. I had mistakenly double-booked the date and was now late for two trips in two separate places.

9. The first day of a two-day fishing tournament my trolling motor wouldn't work, so we used the outboard the rest of the day. I fixed the trolling motor that night. The next day, the outboard wouldn't work, and we had to use the trolling motor the rest of the day.

Answers: 1-9, True. Yet I'm still lucky because I had the opportunity to go fishing!