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Ev'ry once in awhile, I git a hankerin' to write up memoirs of a perticklerly good story regardin' somethin' int'restin' or ennertainin' that has happened to Meaux an' me. It gener'ly involves fishin' somewhere or t'other, be it the 'Hooch, Crooked River, The Okefenokee, or one of the inumerable bayous to be found along the Gu'f coasts of Louisiana, Miss'ippi, an' Alabamastan.

I hope enny readers that come across this little un-official blog enjoy a-readin' it jes' as much as I have enjoyed "talkin' with mah fingers."

-Swamp Angel

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Swampy's Semi-Annual River Ramp Rage/Rant

Posted 08-26-12 at 09:10 AM by Swamp Angel
Updated 10-03-13 at 11:05 AM by Swamp Angel
Y'know, sometimes it's int'restin' jes' how people act when they're out fer a day on the 'Hooch. Meaux an' I gener'ly begin our 'Hooch fishin' sessions at Abbott's Bridge an' work our way nawthward from there, then drift back down to our startin' point. (It's always a good idear to go upstream when startin', jes' in case you have motor troubles an' have to git back to the ramp. 'Tis easier to float downstream to the ramp than paddle back up.)

As is typical fer the summer season, the ramp was constipated congested with those folks who have chosen to pay ten dollars fer a yaller tube upon which to float yon 'Hoochee River. I will say that Chris, Parker, an' several of the other drivers fer that yaller tube company are truly trying to git their customers' launches to mesh seamlessly with the launches of other private watercraft. However, the problem lies within the mindset of the average tuber. (An' by "tuber", I don't mean " 'tater".)

Whilst attempting to back the ever reliable 'Hoochee Queen down the ramp, Meaux's dander got more than a little ruffled at the last five tubers of the group entering the water as they blocked the end of the ramp fer a full fifteen minutes whilst they tried various methods fer loadin' an' securin' their cargo of adult bev'rages to the extra tube they had rented fer the afternoon. It apparently never occurred to them that the water was quite shaller on either side of the ramp, and they could use this fer their stagin' area. But, ennyhow, we eventually got our little, ol' Gheenoe launched an' turned upriver t'ward Shakerag Rock.

The day proved to me jes' how poor a fisherman I truly am. Trout8myfly would've outfished me somethin' furious had he been along fer the ride! Meaux wound up with a really nice 'bow, an' although I hooked up with one, I had too much line out an' didn't git a good hook set. 'Twas a very short fight resulting in a nigh on immediate LDR!

We did, however, run across two of our favorite folks to see on the river durin' our time out thar. Greg Morgan, a guide of River Through Atlanta was lookin' after a coupla customers an' showin' them a real good time. They landed a purty good number of trout durin' their outing. Same goes fer the two gentlemen that arrived at the ramp in another Clacka piloted by NGTO's very ownest Bamabasser! They had done had an epic day also too! (Fer what it's worth, Bamabasser has a really sweet deal on a killer rig - a Towee Rivermaster 16-footer - for ennybody lookin' fer a real nice motorized craft for the 'Hooch or the 'Tooga.)

As is typical fer enny summer evenin' when attemptin' to land yer craft at the ramp an' exit the river fer the ev'nin', a nuther bevy of yaller-tubers done started landin' on the ramp, fillin' it up an' a-constipatin' congestin' it lahk the Allied forces done did the beaches of Normandy on 6 June 1944. Exceptin' it never seems to occur to these folks to move inland in their assault upon the Abbott's Bridge Unit. They're jes' content as can be to sit thar on the ramp, blockin' it up lahk a plugged colon, makin' it a painful an' frustratin' experience fer ever'body involved, an' expectin' the folks that run the 'Hoochee Floatilla operation to come down an' tote all their stuff back up to the bus fer 'em. But as reg'lars of this section of the 'Hooch, we have done come to 'spect this type of behavior from the gener'ly uncouth masses, an' we jes' set thar an' bide our time 'til they're gone, or we run down river an back up a couple times an' play around 'til the ramp opens up.

What does still cause a good bit of consternation an' mumblin' an' cussin' under one's breath is how other boaters jes' cain't seem to figger out how to git their own boats on a trailer an' back up the ramp in less than ten minutes!

Meaux an' I have a stopwatch that we use to time us on the ramp. Our goal is three minutes to back the truck down, launch the boat, an' pull the truck back up outta the way. Same in reverse. . . three minutes to back the trailer into the water, load the boat, latch her (the boat) on the trailer by the snout, an' pull her back up to the parkin' lot.

The key fer both is what we call "pre-ramp preparation". Afore we back the ol' 'Hoochee Queen down the ramp fer a launch, we rig her (and our fly rods) in the parkin' lot. All the straps holding her to the trailer are removed, save fer the one with the hook/clasp on her snout. Life jackets are placed aboard, rods are in their places, cooler is safely aboard, anchor, an' fishie finder also too.

Meaux, then, gener'ly backs ever'thing down to the water whilst I saunter mahse'f on down the ramp so as I can unhook the snout strap, hop in, an' motor her off the trailer as soon as the tires roll off the end of the concrete an' drop to the rocks. And then Meaux is back up in the parkin' lot post haste! (Whole time on the ramp fer yesterday's launch was two minutes an' fitty-three seconts!)

When we git out, I drop Meaux at the edge of the ramp an' I make one run down river to the rocks jes' above McClure Bridge, then I turn around an' come jes' a-flyin' upstream to the ramp again. When I git back, Meaux is usually backin' the trailer down the ramp an' is nigh on in the water as I slow mah pace jes' a tad an' aim fer the left side of the trailer, allowin' fer current to push me a bit to the raht as I cross it to the trailer.

Once on the trailer, it's jes' a matter of hoppin' out an' hookin' the snout strap an' lettin' Meaux pull the whole package up to the top of the hill an' off to the side where we unload ever'thing an' stash it in the truck whilst stayin' outta ever'body elses' way. (Total time on the ramp yesterday fer gittin' outta the river - 3:08.)

The feller in front of us, exiting the river yesterday took well over ten minutes jes' to git his boat on the trailer, an' a-nuther five minutes fiddle-fartin' around with the drain plug, fishin' poles, side-straps, etc. as he sat there blockin' the ramp from further use by ennybody else.

Fortunately, Greg had done got his ClackaCraft outta the water ahead of him, but Bamabasser an' I were stuck behind this feller fer a good while. Bamabasser even offered assistance, but the feller jes' kep' gittin' in his own way an' a-stumblin' through ever'thing lahk he hadn't enny oxygenated blood circulatin' through his cerebellum!

Either which way, the end of the story is, Greg's customer and Bamabasser's customers had a great day catchin' fishies on the 'Hooch. In mah own craft, Meaux landed herse'f a real good 'bow. Me? Well, if'n I don't improve mah fishin' skills in a hurry, I'll be a-changin' mah screen name to Pepe LePew!

Football season is a-startin' an' I'm so glad to be an LSU Tiger, since LSU gener'ly plays at night, an' I still git a full day's fishin' on the river most weekends without missin' a kick-off. An' of course, 'bout two-thirds through the season, there's the Fall Fling lookin' us raht in the face in early November! (The next few months are packed with promise!)

Hope to see y'all on the river soon!

SA
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