Naval Discipline in the Rockies
Back then, In a long lost season, when Bill Woods and I had but a single day to fish the famous Henry's Lake in Idaho, we put to sea in the early morning dark. Bill was captain in command. I was an able-bodied seaman and had been detailed to bring a gunny sack from home to tie alongside the boat for keeping alive three fat cutthroats each, for home and oven.
We put out onto the lake and quickly had a couple fish. Bill decided that we were over good water and sent back orders to lower the anchor, his brand new fancy one. I turned to at once to obey orders. Only I had failed to secure the anchor line to the boat. The fine new anchor disappeared into the depths, its line slithering along behind us.
Bill was put-out and held a captain's mast right then and there, found me guilty, and broke me down to apprentice seaman, the lowest a man at sea can get outside the brig.
And I'd been working so hard to earn a coxwain's rating! Perhaps I was lucky, though, that Bill did not hold a deck court martial: I might have been put ashore with a dishonorable discharge.
It was difficult if not impossible without an anchor to hold the boat over a hole in the weeds long enough to keelhaul our flies through it. But we managed somehow and caught our six fine three-pounders, which went into the gunny sack hanging over the side. Catching and releasing several more, made Bill almost forget the matter of his anchor.
Back at the dock, however, Bill discovered that the fish sack was empty. A huge hole in the bottom had allowed those cutthroat to swim free, back to the pleasures of the lake. Bill, as captain, was not pleased. I kept my distance.
This shows how to have a bad day in spite of willing fish.