Flailing away furiously at the surface, just out of reach of the mesh, it was the biggest cat we had ever attempted to net from the family pontoon boat. What’s worse, the wind had kicked up and we found ourselves pursuing the behemoth in the open waters of the reservoir, exposed to the full fury of the 15 knot breeze. I had no control of our bewhiskered quarry, which appeared to be making a beeline for the far shore, and could only pull the pontoon alongside the beast as my wife tried to get the hoop under the moving target that swam just out of reach.
Suddenly, I realized the net was a new model sent to me for testing, designed for landing fish from high-profile boats like our pontoon boat, and featured a telescoping handle! As I manned the helm, I yelled to Maria to point the hoop my way and released the handle with a twist.
It worked! The net’s handle expanded to nearly double in length and locked in place. Maria slipped the net into the water ahead of her quarry and I could tell by the bulge in my bride’s biceps that she had connected as I brought the boat alongside the mesh-enclosed cat. Hand overhand she hoisted the catch as I slowed the boat to idle speed. With all her might she swung the cat over the rail and deposited the mass of flailing mesh and wet fur onto deck.
Yep, fur. For this was no mere bullhead, shovelhead or channel cat, but pure tabby; the real thing–the family cat.
We learned several lessons that day, not the least of which was that there is absolutely no reasont o take a cat aboard a small craft: they don’t like it and will abandon ship at the first opportunity. At least that’s how ours reacted to its maiden sea voyage. More important, we got to practice some netting skills that are well worth knowing when faced with boating more conventional catches from the deck of our pontoon boat.
SUGGESTED ‘TOON READING