Turns out, this week’s column is a continuation of last week’s story. Just hours after I finished writing last week, I found out the transducer company was not only going to send me a new mount but also throw in a new high-definition transducer for free!
I still wondered if the parts were the right ones, but when Bill Manuszak at Ed’s Marine installed it, it seemed OK, and all I needed to do was test it.
It’s Friday night, and the weather forecast for Saturday was looking good, but there were some honey-do’s that I had pending. That’s when I got a message from a buddy, Bret Phillips. “U going tomorrow to SL?” he texted. “No,” I replied wisely. “Guess I’m going solo then,” he answered.
Alone? I could feel an angle developing. So, around 7 p.m., I approached my wife, Elaine: “Honey, Bret is going fishing alone, but I really need to test out my new transducer – plus I really hate to see him go by himself,” I said, practically with tears running down my cheeks to seal the deal. I told you she was wonderful.
Bret and his 22-year-old son, Garrett, met me at 6:30 a.m., and we headed out in my rig. Since our families had fished and hunted together for the past 55-plus years, I had grown up with Bret but had never actually fished with Garrett. My dad and I had fished with Garrett’s great grandpa, Gil, and likewise with his grandpa, Doug – both superb anglers. Bret later pointed out that fishing with Garrett meant I had fished with four generations of Phillips!
As we drove to San Luis, Garrett turned to me and said, “You know, I’ve fished a lot for stripers, but my best is just 16 pounds. I’m still looking for a big one.” I confess it struck me as strange he told me that, and I threw up a little prayer for him. Maybe today would be the day.
Backing down the ramp, I had forgotten I needed to test the transducer, but after launching, I turned it on, and it worked. All right! For the next two hours, we caught a few fish, but the overall bite was slow.
Garrett started with some regular lures, then I gave him one to try. Funny, I picked it out of a huge ball of hooked lures, but somehow it seemed like the right choice. Several lost fish later, we agreed that the lure was working, but the hooks were bad, so we put on some new ones. It was a good move.
Trolling, I went by some underwater structure when my pole bent over. Oops – I was hung up. About 15 seconds later, it came free, but then Garrett told me he was hung up. His pole was headed straight back, but Bret and I noticed the heavy snag was moving slowly with the boat. Garrett was still convinced it was hung up. We had a discussion for over 30 seconds when we saw two twitches – and the snag (fish) came streaking toward the boat. After several minutes, it ran under the stern, then came up, giving us a glimpse of its size. “Garrett, I think you’ve got a new PR!” Bret said.
On the first pass, I stabbed at the fish, but it jumped clear out of the net. Thankfully for me, the hooks held until the second scoop. Whew! Garrett had his personal record: 39 inches long and between 28 and 30 pounds on the Boga. Great fish! We released it using the Seaqualizer while video recording the event for posterity.
I’m certain my dad, as well as Gil and Doug, would have been proud that our families were still fishing together while keeping their legacies intact and thriving. An incredible circle had been closed – all because of a broken transducer mount! Never ever give up!