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North Branford Fisherman 'Misses the Boat' at Moodus Reservoir

A wayward watercraft leaves the boat's captain stranded on the shoreline and puts a fishing trip temporarily on hold.

By Barbi Batchelder

An incident that occurred at the Moodus Reservoir at the end of this summer left one North Branford resident with quite a 'fish story' to bring home to his friends.

You've read the bumper-stickers and you've heard it said: "A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work."  That is, of course, if you don't have to spend most of your quality fishing-time chasing your boat around the lake!

It was a sparkling late-summer day and Ernie Hulse was eager to get out onto the lake to see if the fish were biting.

Hulse backed his boat and trailer down onto the ramp and positioned it for launching. He then disconnected the winch and safety straps, leaving only the boat's tow-rope tied to the trailer, so that the momentum caused by pulling his truck back up the ramp would slide the boat gently into the water.

But when Hulse got out of his truck to switch the tow-rope from the trailer to one of the moorings at the edge of the launch, he realized that the knot had come undone and the boat was floating freely.

An undercurrent in the lake moved the boat away from shore and out of range too rapidly for him to be able to grab the tow-line.

Although he was in a bit of a panic at that point, Hulse remembered noticing another boat that was docked nearby, so he took a fast walk over to the house and knocked on the door, hoping to get some assistance.

When Pete Owens, an avid fisherman himself, answered the door and realized Hulse's plight, he immediately brought Hulse out to his own boat at the dock and they set out for the recovery mission.

Owens taxied Hulse out and around the boat launch and over to his boat, which by now had drifted a few hundred feet away from shore, coming to rest in a cove area. As soon as Hulse was reunited with his boat, he could hardly wait to throw a line in and start fishing.

"I've done this hundreds of times, but nothing like THIS has ever happened to me before!" exclaimed Hulse. "Okay, look out now, I've got some FISHING to do!" he chuckled.

Who else has a great tale about a fishing day that didn't go as planned?

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