the third edition to the series takes us back to Merritt reservoir once again. Mike Albrecht, Harlin Welch, Matt Gideon, Trent Philbrick, Jess Hurlbert and myself decided to go to the backwaters of Merritt for a weekend of bowfishing.
It proved to be one of the funnest most memorable trips I have taken to date.
Harlin, Jess, Trent and I drove the vehicles back (this time using 4wd pickups) while my dad (Mike) and Matt Gideon put there boats in the water and drove them back to our campsite.
I remember pulling up to the big bluff overlooking the water and seeing splashes from carp shooting 10 foot in the air.
Harlin who was in front of me jumped out of his vehicle and started dancing around and hollering "we hit it! We hit the spawn!" Big common carp we spawning in shallows and as far as you could see there were big carp with there backs out of the water!
The four of us grabbed our bows and started wading around through the water piling up big commons as fast as we could get our arrows knocked.
The other two in the boats arrived and we spent the afternoon wading around in the water and shooting big fish!
That evening we all set up camp. As the sun set we decided to load up in the boats for some after dark bowfishing.
We started cruising the coves and were into good fish and having a ball. One of the members of the party Jess Hurlbert was having s difficult time connecting with a fish off the boat.
After "a few" missed shots and some heavy duty razzing from the rest of us in the boat Trent Philbrick spoke up and said "the way you're shooting were going to have to find a crippled one for you to actually get a fish" frustrated, Jess had a few choice words for Trent and went back to looking for fish.
Well, as luck would have it not 5 minutes later the spot light lit up a nice carp, Jess took aim and the fish just sat there, he released the arrow and we all seen it center the fish. Jess excitedly turned to us and said something along the lines of "woohoo, smoked that one!!"
I had kept my eye on the fish and after the arrow hit him I knew something wasn't right, the fish didn't swim off, in fact it sat in place and wiggled itself like a someone trying to run on sheet of ice. Jess got the fish pulled out of the water and that's when we noticed it,
the carps tail had been cut off and healed up that way.
It was unable to swim and really was a completely crippled fish. The entire boat erupted in laughter. So loudly in fact that Harlin Welch, who had stayed back to watch the poles we had set out on the bank at camp heard us. Needless to say Jess has never lived it down.
After that incident we decided we'd go back and fish for walleye off the bank at camp.
After laughing about Jess's fish we started really getting into the walleye late into the night. At one point, one f Mike Albrechts poles about bent in half, After hooking it he knew he had a big fish on!
I grabbed the light to help him and as the fish surfaced we noticed it was just a carp. Trent Philbrick who was watching from a distance very intently did not notice this. "Do u need the net?" He asked eagerly. "Yes!" Hollered Mike. "This is a huge walleye! One of the biggest I've ever seen."
Being the good friend he is Trent grabbed the net and without hesitation piled into the water, waste deep, he stood there with the net waiting to bring in this monster walleye, he scooped the fish into the net and held it up out of the water only to hear roars of laughter behind him.
After a few choice words he climbed out of the water and walked over to dry off by the campfire, where he placed his one day old pair of Hunting boots by the fire to dry off.
As we all stood around the poles we started to notice a strong smell of burnt rubber, that's when we noticed trents new boots were not so new anymore. The fire had shifted to the side he had set them by and completely melted the soles out of them.
Trent later stated ruining a new pair of boots is totally worth it if it means getting to eat a delicious carp!
The next afternoon things got a little western. As we were all out bowfishing a storm started to roll in, we got back to camp just in time before the monster of a storm rolled in on us.
Later we found out the winds were gusting upwards of 70+ miles an hour at times and there was a tornado somewhere awfully close to our location.
With nowhere to run we decided to all climb in An Alaskan guide tent and ride the storm out. Not before Matt Gideon pulled his pickup right next to the tent so we could tied it to the pickup.
We rode the storm out without any of us getting an ounce of water on us. I now will always swear by the cabelas Alaskan guides tents! If you don't own one...you should!
Finally, after the storm had passed we got out to see sunshine and an awesome double rainbow flowing across the sky. We checked our poles and decided to just hang at camp the rest of the afternoon all of us feeling fortunate to be alive!
The next day we awoke to a drizzly rainy cold day and with some of us remembering to bring rain gear and not wanting to sit in the tent all day. It turned into a pretty comical fashion show. Harlin Welch fashioned himself a nice rain jacket out of a garbage bag while dad decided to wrap himself in a boat tarp.
Jess Hurlbert being the mountain man he is was not phased by the rain and cold and said a cold can of chef boyardee beef ravioli was enough to keep him warm! He offered all of us a can of it stating "it cures what ails ya" but we all kindly passed and ate fresh fish instead.
With the colder temperatures the carp moved back into deeper water the last day proved to be tough bowfishing so we all stayed at camp and had good luck catching walleye.
The memories of that trip to this day make me laugh from crippled fish to burnt boots to huddling in a tent while a tornado rolled past. As the youngest member of that group I would like to thank them all for including me in on it. I will never forget it. (Below are a few extra pics of the trip in a slideshow
The Lighter Side of the Arrow