Serendipity is a word that means something special occurs that was unintended, which is exactly what happened recently on a fishing trip with some guests.
It all began with an excited lady, Sally, who called me to set up a fishing trip for herself and her visiting in-laws from Illinois. The trip was going to be a way for her relatives to explore the area, see some wildlife and possibly catch a few stripers at San Luis.
Turns out the brother in-law, Steve, was an avid angler back in the Great Lakes area, so right off the bat I was concerned about whether I could give him a good fishing experience. Sheri was 61 and Sally was 70, and both of them had very little fishing experience, so trying to get them up to speed on what to do made me a little nervous. You never know what someone’s skill level really is, and I wanted them to have a great day!
The group met me at daybreak, and it was evident that they had wonderful attitudes and were ready for an adventure! A good start! We took off for the first fishing area. It was a beautiful day with overcast skies and a gentle breeze out of the north.
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First I showed them what to do if we hooked a fish and how to play it. The gals were quick learners and actually tried my suggestions. Steve was there to help. I could see he wanted the gals to have a great experience, too. Our next stop, the infamous Trash Rack pumps!
As I ran toward the pumps, I saw a whole flotilla of fishing vessels in front of the huge towers. Something was happening with that many boats, and it became evident that the pumps had been turned on, dumping water into the big lake from the Forebay below. The stripers like the current the pumps create. We needed to check this out!
As I idled up to the melee of around 12 boats all fishing in the confined area, I could see that no one was catching anything. Hmmm … there were fish on my graph. One guy I knew told me it was dead.
I decided to try anyway. Putting out the lures and seeing an opening we began a trolling run through the group. We’re about right in the middle of all these serious fishing boats when we get a strike and I give the pole to Sheri. Every angler zeros in on her fight as we net the 23-inch schoolie. Not one else is getting anything!
I begin another run when once again the line pops in the middle of the fleet, and now Sally brings in another nice striper in front of the now-tense audience all around us. No one is saying anything. All eyes are on us! This is fun!
On the third pass we get another strike and I give the pole back to Sheri and she fights it in before releasing it in front of everyone. Now they know it’s not luck! High-tech fishing boats all around us and the gals are putting it to them!
We’re making our fourth when a nice boat pulls up next to us with two guys in it. “Hey, we’ve got a question.” they say. “Sure!” I answered. “You know, we would sure like to borrow those two gals for a while; we aren’t catching anything! What do we have to do to get them to fish with us?” We all laughed. Our fourth fish sealed the deal! Only one other fish was caught by that whole fleet during the entire episode. Sheri got her new personal best of 24 inches later that day.
You know, I felt terrible for all those experienced guys getting crushed by my two gals – for about two seconds! Sometimes it’s not about how big your fish are, but rather how you got them and whom you beat. It was a moral victory and an epic trip. Go gals! I’m proud of both of them! They listened, fished hard and “Never gave up!”