April 10, 2020
Editor’s note: Game & Fish reader Tory Mansfield, a Colorado math teacher and avid angler, submitted this essay about how much he misses being on the water while experiencing coronavirus crisis-induced cabin fever.
As those of us who love to fish sit inside waiting for the ice to melt and the virus to clear, I am reminded of my many friends at the boat ramp.
They may be your friends, too. The next time you see them at a ramp near you, please say hello for me.
Not Even Close to Ready to Launch Guy
You must know my friend Not Even Close to Ready to Launch Guy. While his boat is tied to the dock taking up precious launch space, an army of buddies, in-laws, girlfriends, soon-to-be ex-wives and enough kids to over-enroll a daycare, casually stream down the ramp toward his boat. The amount of food and beverage brought on board could comfortably feed a church picnic. (If people at church picnics each drank a case of beer).
To board my friend’s boat, you must bring one fully inflated float toy or towable; the bigger the better! All children must tear around the ramp/dock area completely unsupervised prior to boarding. The best thing about my friend is he still insists on bringing along tons of fishing gear. It is plain to all if he were to tie on even a single hook, a flotation device and/or small child would require urgent repair.
World’s Best Backer Upper Guy
I sure miss my friend, the World’s Best Backer Upper. He knows the shortest distance between two points is a straight line—and he’s about to prove it.
There is no lane too narrow, or ramp too crowded for him to launch his boat. He sets a new record every time!
His favorite thing in the world is to find only the middle lane open. When given this golden opportunity, he will back his trailer down that middle lane at a speed that would draw attention in a school zone. Triumphant, he’ll pull out of the ramp at a speed that would draw attention on I-25.
Too Much Boat/Too Much Truck Guy
Maybe you know my old friend Too Much Boat/Too Much Truck Guy? He’s the one with the 35-foot boat at Chatfield. He tows a jet ski with an F-350. He has duallies on his truck for all the cattle/rock he hauls even though he lives in Highlands Ranch?
If you have not yet met my friend you will hear him coming. Even though he is not sure of your type of music, he is certain everyone at the ramp would love to hear his "classics" at max volume.
Not Enough Boat/Not Enough Truck Guy
Keep an eye out for my friend Not Enough Boat/Not Enough Truck Guy. He launches a 20-foot pontoon boat with a Honda Pilot. He proudly tows in the slow lane at 45. Dude launches his boat with a Subaru and says, "You’d be surprised how much power it has."
Will often launch a 12-foot johnboat/canoe at Spinney or Antero. My friend refuses to own a gas motor. He has been rescued.
My friend will not consider a day on the water complete without having yelled at or at least given a mean look to those horrible guys in boats that might actually create a wake.
The Dock Is My Personal Slip Guy
You will only see my friend, The Dock Is My Personal Slip Guy, at the end of the day. He is in no rush to trailer his boat and he had a GREAT day fishing. You will know because he will tell you.
He asks, "Javanyluck?" so frequently and so loudly that you'd mistake the sound of his voice for a nearby migrating flock of Canada geese. He keeps the fish he has caught on full display.
As he methodically breaks down every last piece of gear, he lets a half-dozen rods stretch out across the dock. Even if you are nimble enough to avoid one of the many treble or stinger hooks in everyone’s way, you will not be so lucky as to avoid the conversation.
Man I miss my friends.
Tory Mansfield is a long-time Colorado math teacher, coach and official. He believes catching pike is the greatest thrill in the world. Tory enjoys fishing, reading and cutting firewood. He and his wife have three children, one of each.