Saturday, May 2, 2015

Ground zero in just a couple of weeks

The fish cleaning shack is like "the office" at work. It's where everybody checks in at least daily. It's where you can learn all the fishing news, see what other anglers are catching and share tips and techniques.
We clean everybody's fish for them as part of our fishing packages. The sign beside the door lets you know what to do with your fish and what you want us to do with them. If they are to eat in your cabin or in the lodge, leave them in the burlap bag when you put them in the blue tub. If they are to take home, put them in the tub without the bag. You can do some of each if you want. Cabin numbers are hanging inside the shack.
That is all you need to do. We will take care of everything else.
If you leave them at night, we will make sure they are covered with a wet burlap bag and ice is put on them. We guarantee they will be exactly identical in condition when we clean them in the morning. How do we know this? Because we have done it hundreds of thousands of times for more than half a century.
We give everybody a burlap bag to keep their fish in while fishing. Just dip this bag in the lake, put your fish inside and lay the bag on the bottom of the boat. As it evaporates it cools the fish inside, just like we do when we sweat. It works beautifully, far better than a stringer, far better even than a livewell. The last two techniques make the fish become excessively slimy. Not with the bag. The fish die in the bag but it is like they were on ice but without becoming slimy the way they do if you really put them on ice.
More bags are hanging on the side of the shack. Every time you bring fish into the hut, grab one of these to take back to your boat.
Starting late last summer we placed a new sign inside the shack. It states that we need to inspect the condition of your boat by 9 p.m. the night before you depart camp at the end of the week. That means you will need to be back in camp by that time. The operator of the boat is responsible for any damage done to it. That statement is on your weekly boat operator's licence that you must fill out before going fishing for the first time. Nine o'clock is also the latest you can bring fish in to be cleaned the night before you leave. We all need to be done with boat inspections and fish cleaning and get to bed by 10 p.m. because the next day sees us getting up very early in order to get the first departure boat out of camp by 6:30 a.m.
Most people do no damage at all to the motors. The most common thing that happens is that a prop needs replaced. If you strike anything, you will probably need to buy a new prop. They cost $100 last season. If you had your motor locked down (the outside worker will show you how to make sure your motor will always tip up if you strike anything), you might break a skeg (the very lower end of the leg) - again often about $100 to fix. But if you were traveling fast and had the motor locked down when you struck something, you could be facing the worst repair which is a broken oil pan on four-stroke outboards such as our Honda 20s. That cost $950 last year!
We only had two of these expensive repairs last summer and both occurred on boats that the operators kept out until after dark on the night before their departure -- as if they were trying to hide the damage until they were gone the next day.
That is not going to happen this season. All the boats need to be inspected by 9 p.m.
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