Herby's last fishing trip!
Death is always with us.
the three dudes told us was this:
got there the usual way. Took the North-West flight from Chicago, then we
caught the twin turbo-prop feeder in the Twin Cities to the Falls. Your
limo picked us up and shuttled us over the border. Then we were
James, Fred, and Herby.
Age 62. School buddies. Two lawyers, one insurance man, and a businessman.
"We've been flying with Rusty's for 27 years. Same cabin, first week
in June, when the fishing is best. We've survived an engine-out landing,
outlasted a three day wait at base for the weather to clear up, out
smarted 7 bear visits at the cabin, got twice enlightened by lightning
strikes, were shaken by one tornado, and impressed by numerous other
little adventures. Fishing had been very excellent every year.
pilot, Jeff, on-loaded us at your base in Fort Frances, we took on fuel in
Savant and finally reached our goal, Footprint Lake."
point in their story the three turned solemn and somewhat reserved.
sooner then when the Beaver's floats had broken the water to leave, did
Herby suddenly stiffen up and utter: UHH, ohh, ah ahhh!
stood there for a second or two, turning reaaally gray, then slowly
reaching up to his heart. Fred, the insurance guy, leapt to his side, but
Herby, saying his last words for ever; 'Shitty fishing anyway,' sank down,
dead as a rusty doornail.
to do? We had booked our usual five days and would likely not see a soul
until we got picked up at the end of 'em."
course," James said, "we could have walked out of the bush. It's
only fifteen miles to the next logging road. We would have made it too;
we're used to the outdoors."
what for?" Paul the remaining lawyer interrupted. "What was he
going to do? Sue Us???"
thought about it for a while, them decided the best thing to do was to
undress him and lay him in the cold water. We tied one end of a rope
around his ankle, the other around a dock-log, so he wouldn't float away.
After that was done we grabbed our stuff, carried it to the cabin,
unpacked our rods and reels and went fishing. Herby wouldn't have wanted
us to sulk."
year the fishing proved to be exceptionally good," Fred said.
the water wasn't very cold. We gathered a couple rocks and weighed him
down with them. Lifting him in the boat was no easy task. We drove out a
bit and sank him to the bottom, about 30 feet. Cold enough down there. Of
course, we had an empty detergent bottle connected to him with a long rope
to show us where he rested, for the time being."
was my idea," James explained.
day Jeff came to pick us up with the Beaver we had Herby already
recovered. A snapper turtle had done an ugly job on him though. His eyes
and other soft parts had supplied the turtle with a hearty meal. Also, he
had bloated quite a bit.
threw up on sight; 'guess he never seen a dead person before, never mind
the rough shape. He certainly wasn't impressed. First he didn't want to
have nothing to do with him. But, we couldn't leave him any longer. He
wasn't going to get any better. So we finally agreed to tying him outside
onto the float. Your buddy said it would work just like flying a canoe
strapped to the side.
bag doubled as a temporary body bag and we made sure it held the corpse
inside. That accomplished, we strapped him to the pilot's side float,
loaded the plane, jumped in, shoved off, and took off. Jeff said he looked
down a few times. Somehow an arm slipped out and flapped a bit in the
airstream, as if waving goodbye to the lake."
had made his last trip.
course we'll be back next June," Fred said upon leaving us with their
coffin in tow.
"Herby would want us to."
Note from the Editor. I
would like to thank Mike Kemper for this great story he wrote after flying
for a time with Rusty Myers.
Beech 18 image by Rich Hulina.
Dave's Bush Pilot tip! Remember
to loop the ropes through the body bag handles when you tie them to the
floats. Saint Air lost one over the bush once when the pilot didn't tie it
The attitude indicator will take you back to Aviation Friends.
John S Goulet
Last modified on
March 05, 2006
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