Recently I shared some of my faux pas (goof-ups !) exposing a bunch of my faults publicly. However, to be fair and balanced, I figured, why not tout some of my best (unintentional lucky) wins, too! Luck can be a good thing.
I had two guests that I was guiding a few years ago and they mentioned that they wanted to catch a “big striper” over 20 pounds. I felt the pressure.
It’s near closing time. We had caught and released more than 12 fish, but nothing big. I tell them we’re going to have to leave very soon, and I started putting everything away. I could feel their deep disappointment. That’s when the thought struck me that maybe I should just put a single pole down and troll back through the area one more time. “You just never know,” I mumbled to myself. “OK guys, one last gasp – we’re only going to troll a couple hundred yards to that island before we go,” I told them. We began the short run, but they were happy for a last chance.
We were about 50 yards or so from the stop point when the downrigger clip popped and the pole bent over! They yelled! Another chance!
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Suddenly, the drag started screaming. It’s big! “Oh Lord, Thanks! Just don’t let them lose this big one now!” I silently prayed.
The big silver shape finally comes up and I net the beauty. It was one of the best celebrations ever on my boat – as both usually composed anglers hooped and hollered! The 22-pounder was a dream fulfilled for those guys, whew! They kidded me that I had set up the whole thing so that they got the fish less than 50 yards from the end. “Well of course I did. It was a lot more suspenseful and exciting that way!” The pictures of them happily holding that fish before we released it still take me back to that moment when that incredible buzzer beater happened! Of course, I had also suddenly became the best fishing guide in the world!
In the same category of fortuitous accidents, I took out an excited and avid young angler fishing on his 16th birthday –after his dad set up it for him. I wanted it to be special!
The morning started out with a nice schoolie striper. I continued trolling, and we had only gone a hundred yards when another fish hit! Wow! Just as I hand him the pole the fish wakes up and it takes off! The drag is singing and he’s holding on for dear life! It’s a big one! After a good 40-yard run the fish turns and comes screaming back at us – right at the prop! He works it like a pro. The fish takes him around the boat a good four times. The fish suddenly makes a powerful surge, diving back under the boat from the starboard side, going completely under it then coming up 30 yards out from the port side. The sudden change in direction, with his line now under the boat, drags him down to the deck where he’s now hanging halfway over the starboard side of the bow on his chest, with his right shoulder down to the water! He’s trying to hold onto the boat with his left hand while he has a death grip on the pole that’s getting pulled under the boat hull with his right hand! Wish I had it on video. Determined kid! I lift him up and we finally net the 20-pound striper!
After pictures, I thought he was going to cry, when he asked me, very quietly, if he could possibly keep the fish? I told him one of my very few exceptions was when you catch your new PB on your 16th birthday! Yes! Poor kid! I almost cried. A dream come true for him and his dad! Timing counts!
I do a lot of stupid things, but once in awhile I luck into doing something special – that’s fishing I guess! Never give up!