By AARON TURNERHill Billy Editor
GREY EAGLE -- It was a relatively slow day at Big Birch Lake, the destination of summer vacation of many. And so the day played out, the day after showers blanketed much of the region, relagating temperatures to 70 degrees with mostly overcast skies. The fishing was the best yet with Marc Bever, Todd Martin and Jason Warnock all taking to the shores and shallow waters for some bait fishing with night crawlers the feast of choice for the panfish, rock bass, perch and on rare occasions, Northern Pike. The catch was bountiful with bluegills the main catch. Martin reeled in the biggest catch, a nice Northern, but it was Warnock that tallied the biggest keeper, a well-rounded rock bass. Martin's Northie slipped off. For the duration of the morning, the trio, with a little help from Aaron Turner and Sean Mathias, harvested quite a few fish for the feasting to come. With the chance of rain later in the day, and the thought of beating the big rush to Double Rs for Buck Burgers, Bever, Warnock and Martin began the task of cleaning the catch. It was soon after that Tuesday's greatest memory happened. Martin and Warnock scaled the fish while Bever carved the catch into edible fillets. The three stood in waist-deep water with the catch resting on the dock directly in front of them. Spoons were used to remove the scales, but Warnock tried a different approach. With a knife from his tacklebox, Warnock would jab the his knife into the fish tails ... until the Tuesday version of Idiots-R-Us intervened. On one of his attempts to stick a fish, Warnock's right handed slipped off after the stabbing motion. The follow through slid Warnock's palm over the blade, inflicting a three inch gash in the meaty flesh of his hand. "I always do that," Warnock said, almost immediately following. With blood welling like a Old Faithful, Warnock lifted his palm, much to the delight of Turner and Matt Bever, but the shegrin of wife Jennie. Cousin-in-law Krys Martin was off like a flash en route to the cabin for bandaids and fixer-uppers. When Warnock re-raised his palm, the first pass-out of Vacation 2006 nearly happened. Todd Martin, after second review, has a weak stomache, and the sight of blood sent Martin to the dock. The tan that Martin had earned over the first three days of vaction quickly left his face as the sight of blood made a Martin weak in the stomache. So weak that the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder made a dash to the dock, where he quickly rolled to his back, his arm resting on his head as his stomache tried to calm the unease that was upon him. "If you can fillet a hand, you can fillet a fish," Marc Bever said, paraphrasing a Dodgeball excerpt. And so it was as Warnock and Bever, and eventually Martin finished the fillet job with Warnock finishing the second half with his hand wrapped in butterfly bandages and gauze. No fish survived.