Cheatham in Cheatham Lake…or how not to launch….

Today, I fished with the CAKFG.  It is the “Cheatham” tourney; the lower boundary being Cheatham Dam.  You would think with a name as great as that, I would love this event…but I loathe fishing the area.  Every year I dread the tournament because I just do not enjoy fishing the waters above Cheatham Dam; but, it is our local group, so I fish it.

Today, there were only two limits…one being mine and the other Tom Monahan.  I won the event, and because Trebor Noxim (just got what this means!!) didn’t buy in to big bass…I also won that with a 19 inch largemouth.

And no one wants to talk about the fact that I won…or by how much…on a body of water that despite it’s name I hate to fish…OH NO….everyone wants to talk about my launch.  So I guess we will just talk about that…..


I assumed there would be a crowd where I was launching, so I was there before 5 a.m..  I thought we could start fishing at 5:30…I was wrong….but that will not matter in a few minutes…and no one wants to hear about that either….

Ben Lowry, Tom Monahan and Matt Spencer showed up shortly after I did.  Little did they know that they would be yelling at Matt Spencer – after….well….after….


I backed down the ramp, knowing that it was historically a very slick ramp.  I got out of my truck, walked to my trailer and pushed my kayak off….took two steps and starting sliding backwards into the water.  I slid about 1/3 the length of my trailer and stopped.  All good…I reached to keep my kayak from floating off…and slid about 5 more feet – up to my waist – and then my feet went totally out from under me.  I face planted in the 62 degree water before the sun was up.

I learned that the Chinook life jacket that I always wear, even when launching, will float me.  It will also keep me from getting my feet under me…so I had a choice to make; I let go of the kayak.  And then, my hand slipped off the trailer.  So I am headed out to the river with my kayak leading the way.   I swam to the ramp and got into my truck.

No one saw it happen, but as I pulled up the ramp, I asked if someone could go get my kayak.  They asked if I was ok…I said yes and the told them what happened.


Ben went about 60 yards to get my boat.

I stood by the truck butt naked changing into some clothes I was lucky enough to have in the truck.

I looked at a gash that most likely needed stitches on my heal; I must have kicked the trailer as I scrambled to keep my kayak in tow.

Once I got my clothes on, I walked down the ramp and Ben tossed me the rope to my boat and I pulled it to the ramp – being very careful to stay above the slick part of the ramp in my (as Ben called them) hippie flip flops.

The next thing I knew, I was flat on my back.  I had somehow slipped ass over tea kettle and landed in what I can only imagine resembled getting slammed to the mat in a WWE event.


Ben asked if I was ok.


I said yeah, but that sucked.


I sat up.


Ben started yelling at Matt, who was backing down the ramp, to stop…so that he wouldn’t run me over.


I said I sat up…what I didn’t say is that in that motion of sitting up…I slid at about ninety miles an hour down the ramp, into the water, and under Ben’s kayak.  I got turned over, grabbed his boat.


I almost flipped Ben (thanks for helping me!!!), and finally got back to shore after again reaffirming that the Chinook will keep you afloat…which means it is difficult to regain your footing….


Ben got me to shore.


Matt didn’t run me over.


Ben retrieved my kayak for the second time.


I had no more dry clothes, so no second butt naked adventure….thankfully it was almost warm and the water above 60 degrees.


I finally got in my kayak.


Thought lines in was 5:30…they told me no as they laughed….


….i reminded them as the day progressed that this is how old guys end up in nursing homes with a broken hip…


They laughed…


…I reminded them it wasn’t nice to laugh….


They laughed….


There is no video….so maybe it never happened?!?!?!?!?




Remember….I won anyway…..nanny nanny booboo….so there….


That is the beauty of our community though….they were genuinely concerned that I was ok after the back flop and two swimming trips….not gonna lie, being almost 60….that “flat on your back drop” has left me a bit sore….and they all helped me to get my boat, and my phone, and my stuff ready…but we all laughed as friends.  Not at, but with each other.


So now you know why my launch was not a perfect 10….but more of a 1 or 2 (times in the water!).  remember….I still won!!!!  Dang it….


Public Service Announcement …… wear your dang life jackets.  I could have very easily been there alone and hit my head…and someone else found me in a much worse predicament, and had to call my house to tell Joy.  

You bought one.  It is free to put it on.

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