By LOREN BROOKS
In July of 1989, I was in possession of three boats. I had a 1956 Boston Whaler, a 1978 Terry ABF Bass Boat, and a 1966 Starcraft (lapstrake). Each boat had an outboard motor as a source of power.
The boats were provided for use on a Boy Scout outing at the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming. Mike Nielsen, my son-in-law, was the leader, along with several other adults, including another son-in-law Brett Olson, and my nephew, Kevin Brooks. The camping took place at “Hideout” – an Island, several miles south of Sheep Creek Marina, at Flaming Gorge.
Boating, swimming, waterskiing and fishing took place at Hideout which included night fishing from the dock.
We had two Coleman lanterns on the dock which were used for light and during the course of the evening, we caught 28 Rainbow trout. The following incident took place around 10:00 pm while fishing with these boys and adults:
A Coleman lantern was placed at either end of the dock. I was fishing, side by side, with Brett Olson and Kevin Brooks at the south end of the dock.
Brett hooked into a large trout which he landed on the dock. He and Kevin were handling the big fish, which was flipping and flopping around. Between the three of them, the lantern was knocked over and into the water sinking to the bottom of the lake.
I suppose if looks could kill, Brett felt the look of death, (from his father-in-law) as the lantern tumbled overboard. I did not lose my temper, though.
“Now what are we going to do?” I said.
With only one lantern left at the other end of the dock, Brett was told to go and get the other lantern and we would all share the remaining light.
I baited up my rod and lowered the line to the bottom in hope of catching another fish. Moments later I got a strike and realized this was a fish with considerable weight.
As the line came to the surface, I could see something remarkable. The fish had swam through the handle of the Coleman lantern at the bottom of lake directly under the dock! There it was. The Coleman lantern was on the surface and into the net.
I swear along with Kevin Brooks and many other Boy Scouts as witnesses that this is a true story.
Brett was soon back with the other lantern. I think he was still a bit shaken, because of knocking the lantern into the water. Brett was instructed to take the wet lantern over to the camp fire, drain out the fuel tank, and set the lamp close to the fire to dry it out. About 30 minutes later he came back with the lantern full of white gas, new mantels and the lantern was lit and burning to provide light for the remainder of the evening of fishing.
We will never forget the true story of retrieving the Coleman Lantern at Hideout, Flaming Gorge, Utah.
I have looked for any photographs which might have been taken that July, (28 years ago). I have called Kevin Brooks, Mike Nielsen, & Brett Olson, in hopes of someone having photographs. In those days, very few photographs were taken. There were no cell phones, like in today’s world, and photographs were taken with cameras using 35 mm film for development.
The story has been told over and over for the past 28 years. A chapter in the life of Loren C. Brooks and his friends and family. The Boy Scouts, who remember me as “Smunk” may have told the story to their family and friends.
It really did happen.
Lots of other events took place on that trip and are worthy of being told at some other time, if I get a chance.