Fishing in Craptasia

My fishing buddy for the morning

Some days are diamonds,
Some days are stone.

Yesterday's fishing trip was remarkable for how crappy it was. And the actual fishing sucked too.

It started off well enough. On Saturday, I went to the pond and caught some bait fish. Very productive there. Half an hour and I was loaded up. That night I got my fishing gear and yak loaded on my old CR-V so I could be ready to roll as soon as I got up. I woke up at 2:43AM, which is two minutes before I'd set my alarm. I figured I'd be considerate to my wife and get up and turn off the alarm before it went off. Out of the house before 3AM. So far, so good.

Then I hit a deer.

I was about halfway to the river, on highway 42 driving through the forest. I knew there were a lot of deer along that road in the early morning so I was driving slower than usual and below the speed limit. But a pair were hidden behind a corner and by the time I saw them I was too close for any sort of evasive maneuver.

There was that interesting moment when you're wondering what the deer are going to do. They can stand still at the side of the road and be safe. They can run away from the road into the woods and be safe. They can run parallel to the road and be safe. Or they can run into the road right in front of you and get hit.

You already know which one they chose.

The first deer got across the road safely, but the second one didn't make it. I put the brakes on hard, sloshing water from my bait bucket into my car's cargo bay (fortunately the bucket was bungeed or it would have tipped over). But it was no use. I hit him square.

First thing I did was say a silent thanks that one, I wasn't injured, and two, I hadn't driven my new car. The airbag didn't deploy, probably because the deer was pretty small. I pulled over to assess the damage. The deer was gone, but I hit him hard enough that I doubt he will survive, unfortunately. I wish he had died quickly. The damage to the car looked surprisingly benign. My front plate was bent to hell, but the car itself looked fine. Hmm. My kayak carrier performed well under mild stress and the kayak stayed in place just fine.

An unintentional allegory for Longhorns football the past several years.

So I got back in the car and continued to the boat ramp. About 5 minutes later I noticed that the air blowing out of the A/C wasn't as cool as usual. OK, so the damage was a little worse than I thought. Still, it probably just knocked a pipe loose or bent it and it was now leaking refrigerant. Probably not a big deal.

I got to the boat ramp and was on the river before 4AM.

And I didn't catch a darn thing. One nibble from a bait stealer and that was it. It was basically a new moon, so it was almost pitch black. I have no idea if that had any effect, but it was an incredibly unsuccessful morning.

A couple hours later when the sun had risen, I did snap a few photos which is the most productive thing that happened. At one point, I was anchored near some laydown and noticed a snake on a log not far from me. I used to keep reptiles, but I'm just not very familiar with the local snakes yet. I do know better than to make bad guesses about it though. So I just assumed the snake was not to be trifled with and kept my distance. But I tell you, once I knew it was there, it made me nervous. My head was on a swivel and my mind started playing tricks on me. I kept thinking I was drifting closer to it even though I was anchored. I finally just decided to pull anchor and move on. I wasn't catching anything anyway, let the snake have that spot. I did some research later and figured out that he was a red-bellied water snake. Nonvenomous, but if you don't know what kind of snake it is, it's always best to assume it's venomous.

Dawn's early light. Where the heck are the fish?

At least it was a pretty morning

At around 9:00 AM I decided I'd had enough and headed back to the boat ramp. I normally wouldn't give up that quickly, but hitting the deer had put a damper on my enthusiasm.

I got home and unloaded the kayak. As I squatted down to unfasten the bow straps from the tow hook in the front of my car, I looked through the grill at the radiator. It was caved in. What the heck? How did the deer bend the crap out of my radiator, but leave the bumper and grill unscathed?

I opened the hood and all was revealed. The grill was actually broken, but after hitting the deer, it popped back in place. So from the outside, it looked like it was fine.

Deer-shaped dent in the radiator

When I inspected things in the daylight, I also noticed that the bumper, headlight, and body weren't aligned quite right anymore.

No longer Honda standard for fit and finish

So hitting the deer caused a lot more damage than I'd initially thought.

But in the big scheme of things, I was lucky:
  • I remember reading this story about a guy who hit a deer that went through the front windshield and in trying to escape, kicked him repeatedly in the head causing brain damage. So having no injuries is always something to be thankful for.
  • The radiator is bent enough that I'm fortunate it didn't leak all the coolant out and leave me stranded on the road at 3 in the morning.
  • I just bought a new car and could have been driving it instead. That would have really sucked.
  • Since buying the new car I'd been meaning to call the insurance company and reduce the coverage on my old CR-V to liability only. Occasionally, procrastination actually pays off. I get to have this fixed for the price of the deductible.
  • The kayak stayed on the car.
  • I didn't get bit by the snake.
Anyway, with all due respect to the bad things that could have happened and didn't, it's still not fun to get in an accident. And I got skunked.

So that evening I did the only sensible thing a person could do. I grilled some beautiful 2" thick ribeyes for dinner, medium-rare, and popped open a good beer.