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Hey, Snakes onboard!

Our fishing story occurred at Leesville Lake, where we have a small fishing boat docked. During a couple of summers, a water snake lived part-time in our boat. I don’t know how it got up the side of the boat and under the boat cover, but from time to time we would find part of a snakeskin, or even bits of partially eaten fish in the boat. The snake was able to hide under the floor, so we could never be certain that it wasn’t in the boat.

One September evening, my husband Dale and I were trolling for musky. I hooked one, and reeled it up to the boat while my husband, sitting in the back of the boat, reeled in the other lines. He was getting ready to unhook the musky (I confess, I am afraid of their sharp teeth, so I don’t touch these big fish) so we could release it when I saw the snake peek out of the storage space in the bow of the boat. I waved the wooden club we keep in the boat and the snake retreated.

The snake appeared again, and again I made it go back into hiding. To my surprise, the next time the snake appeared it slithered out of its hiding place onto the floor at my feet. Dale was still unhooking the fish when the snake began to crawl around in the boat. We aren’t people who scream and run at the sight of a snake, but a 2 1/2-foot snake in a 15-foot boat is alarming, and those water snakes have a reputation for being mean.

Gamo Magnum Air Rifle, .22 Caliber

By the time the musky had been set free, the snake had crawled onto the large plastic tackle box at my husband’s feet. Dale was unwilling to club the snake and risk smashing his tackle box. Finally the snake moved, and Dale was able to stun it and throw it overboard. We motored back to the dock with no fish and no snake, but with a great story.

I am happy to say that we have not had a snake in the boat since then.

Bobbie Angerman — Wooster

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