I’m quite sure that someone has to be looking out for me, because the crazy sequence of events that occurred over the last three weeks just couldn’t be due to pure chance.
My story began when I took two guests on a striper fishing trip at San Luis Reservoir. We fished into the afternoon when the wind had picked up. Late in the trip both anglers hooked up at the same time. I’m trying to net their fish in the waves when I suddenly hear, “Pow!” During the fight I had not noticed that the starboard downrigger ball was still down and the clutch had let out all 220 feet of the braid line as the boat was swept along – with the ball hung up on the bottom. When it reached the end of the line, the connection snapped. All my line was lost in deep water, and I had no spare line . Irritated, I made an off-the-cuff remark, “Funny, when this kind of thing happens, it usually leads to something good.”
My guests left and I’m sitting in my boat in the parking lot pondering what to do about the folks coming tomorrow? It’s Sunday and everything is closed. Then my cell phone rings. It’s Steve Sorenson, a fishing friend, wanting to know how the day went? I said OK, but I had lost all my line. Pause.
“Could you use 400 feet of 150-pound braid I’ve never used?” he asks.
That’s exactly the stuff I needed. Early the next morning, Steve brought me the braid. That’s a fishing friend! And the trip was a hit.
Fast forward a week and I’ve got a trip with Shawn Rodrigues and his 12-year-old son, Mark. The trip is going well when I suddenly realize that my port-side downrigger ball is hung up below. I try getting it undone, but the ball is gone. No! Two balls lost in one week. An hour later, it happens again. Now I’ve lost three balls in one week. I’ve still got my starboard downrigger intact, but no other 12-pound balls. Shawn takes off at 4 p.m. I’ve got two anglers tomorrow. Improvise?
I’m at my hotel, it’s about 7:30 p.m., and I get a call. It’s Shawn. He tells me to go out to my boat. I find a new 12-pound downrigger ball inside. After he left me he headed to Bass Pro in Manteca, bought it, then drove all the way back to Los Banos to deliver the surprise. Saved again!
Next day, I’ve got Bill Braun and Robert Lewis of Reedley for Bill’s 80th birthday fishing trip. We land 12 fish by noon when both lures get snagged on the bottom. As we back up to get the lures out, Bill’s lure comes loose and he reels it up – along with a white line hanging from it. I pull in my lost ball and 200 feet of braid.
Robert’s plug is still stuck, so we back up more and I jerk the line hard. The lure pops off the snag, and a split second later my pole suddenly jerks down hard as a 6-pound-plus striper grabbed the lure just as it broke free. I realized moments later, this was our “lucky 13th” fish, too! We were on a roll, releasing over 20 fish from 21 to 27 inches. Memorable!
A few days later I visited a friend and told him my crazy story. He walks over and pulls out a rusty old metal box. “My dad’s old stuff,” he says. “Could you use these?” Inside were two 12-pound balls.
Everything I thought I had lost had all come back to me in ways I never could have imagined.
My conclusion: Having good fishing buddies, as well as “someone” looking out for you, is as good as it gets. And: Luck is overrated!
Never give up!