High Desert Bassin

The high desert of the west. New Mexico … Arizona…and lake in the country. Breathtaking scenery, wild burros, big horn sheep, coyotes, dry intense heat. The scene of this story. My Evinurde powered boat is sitting here in Texas, waiting for the next B.A.S.S. tournament. I’m at Lake Mead practicing for the U.S. OPEN in a borrowed boat. My friend, Tai Martin, is practicing with me. As we leave out of Temple Bar Marina and head up toward the Grand Canyon, we are in awe of the beauty of this desert lake. The sun starts to climb over the tops of the mountains. The lake is smooth as glass as the marina disappears, the last outpost of civilization. Our destination is the Grand Wash, the mouth of the Grand Canyon. A thirty mile run. Just enough gas on board to get there and back. We’ll drive till one tank runs dry, fish for the day, and run back on the remaining tank of gas. The high canyon walls flash by as our thoughts turn to the bass to be caught, the further away from civilization the happier we are. Off in a little side canyon we see a small aluminum boat with three fisherman, brave souls indeed. Up ahead the Grand Wash comes into view, a great looking area with rocky points and brushy pockets just crying for a lure. Even before the boat glides to a stop I’m on the front deck making my first cast with a Stanley Spinnerbait. out from under the first bush comes a 22 pound bass, and then another. Meanwhile Tai is throwing a small crankbait, he quickly catches a couple of bass. The fishing is great, the company is great. The hours click by. About noon I feel it. A light southwest breeze … just enough to ripple the water. I look to Tai and say “We’re out of here”. You see by the time we feel the breeze, it’s had 15 miles of canyon to run, 15 miles to build waves. As we head southwest back towards Temple Bar the light breeze picks up speed. The waves pick up height… 2 foot… 3 foot 15 mph 20 mph … 4 foot… 5 foot… 25 mph 30 mph 6 foot… 7 foot. Trim the outboard all the way up, hold the bow high and crash through the waves. Slowly we make progress down Iceberg Canyon and then into Gregg Basin. But we don’t have enough fuel to battle these waves. Up ahead is Sandy Point. A big high piece of land that juts out into Gregg Basin. We decide to take refuge behind it. Did I mention it’s name? Sandy Point. As we beach the boat the sands pouring off the top right down on us and in the boat. Into our eyes and ears and nose and mouths and turning the boat into a floating sand box. Tai and I climb to the top and look out into Gregg Basin. Huge waves. Looks like the ocean on a bad day. The hours pass by, no let up in wind, gonna be dark soon, it’s gonna be cold at night. It always is in the desert. Nothing to retain the daytime heat. No relief from the blowing sand. Can’t even keep our eyes open. Is the wind letting up? Maybe. Anything better than this sand. Back out into the lake we go. No way. The waves are to big. Tai’s afraid we’ll drown. Can’t go back to Sandy Point. Too miserable. Let’s try the other side. Maybe we can find shelter in a small pocket. Wave after Nevada, home of the largest man made lake in the U.S. My favorite about three in the Winds still blowing but out in the lake? It is! light at the boat. Must it’s wake and follow it heads towards our fire. wave comes over the side of the boat as we battle our way across the basin. There’s a little pocket! Not much relief from the wind but at least there’s no blowing sand. We beach the boat and tie it off to a cactus. The winds howling, it’s starting to get dark, we’re cold and wet. Picking sand out off our ears. Looks like we’re spending the night in the desert. Got to start a fire. The area we’ve beached in is covered with drift wood. What luck! But I don’t have any matches or lighter. Neither does Tai. We search the borrowed boat throughout. A roll of toilet paper and the boats cigarette lighter will do the job. [Do boats smoke?] We warm up and dry out. The sun goes down. The wind continues to blow without let up. morning I’m looking out into the basin. not quite as hard. Is that a green light I stoke up the fire and flash my flash be a big cruiser. Maybe we can get behind in. I wake up Tai. The boat turns and Wait a minute. It can’t be. Can it? The little aluminum boat with three fisherman. Are they glad to see us and our fire! They warm and dry themselves as we take turns emptying their boat with the bilge can they had been using. 4:30 AM. We decide it’s now or never. Once the sun comes up the wind will increase. Two of the three ride with us while the third runs the aluminum boat behind us. I can’t stay on pad for long or I outrun the aluminum. Quite the ride in the dark through 3 and 4 foot waves. Finally we turn west out of Gregg Basin. Drop them off in Burro Bay and head for Temple Bar. Fighting 3 and 4 footers all the way back. Temple Bar Marina! Take the boat off pad at the No Wake buoys, the outboard sputters and dies. Out of gas.

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