It’s remarkable how seemingly small decisions can turn into exciting adventures. The latest began when I left work Friday and concluded I would go striper fishing at San Luis Reservoir the next day. I called up Meng Xyong, co-founder of Fishaholics, to see if he could go.
We had talked many times, but never fished together. I had promised to someday show him my techniques. It didn’t take much persuasion and I asked if he wanted to bring along his brother Nick, the group’s other co-founder and the owner of Speedlures. We were to meet at the lake and make it a day! Meng ended our conversation with a low key but direct statement, “It’s going to be EPIC!”
“OK,” I thought, “An epic trip? Yes, that’s exactly what great fishing trips are!” I filed that for later. We got going about 7 a.m. and the water was perfect as a light wind out of the northeast ruffled the surface. We fished for a good hour and nothing seemed to be biting. Maybe later?
I asked what their striper personal records were and Meng said his was 29½ inches and Nick’s was a 35-incher. It just popped out of my mouth, but I blurted out that I was pretty sure we would break someone’s record! Where did that come from? I’d called it several times this year for other guys, but today? Oh well, there was no going back with these anglers! They’ve been fishing all their lives and you’re getting their biggest today?
Waiting for a bite, I asked how Fishaholics got started and why they thought it had become so successful, with more than 7,000 members?
“We started out with just about 40 family and friends, creating a site where we could talk, brag, hang out and share our fishing passion in a close knit family environment,” Meng said. “People loved it and started to invite other friends and their families … and it just grew and grew. Anglers from every fishing discipline – bass, stripers, catfish, carp, salmon and ocean anglers – joined FA and shared their stories and successes with others who share and respect their passion. It’s a family.
“I believe that the magic is having a strong commonality that can cut through all the age, sex, and cultural barriers we see today! For example, when we’ve had our ‘meet and greets,’ I’ve watched whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc., all come together at these meetings and treat each other like they are all best buds! Laughing, sharing and having respect strengthens our bonds and helps us connect the way we should. I believe that sharing a passion builds the kind of bridge that transcends our differences.”
I can see his passion in keeping this atmosphere as pristine, and the group as safe a place, as he can for everyone. Awesome.
It’s about noon and suddenly a pole breaks loose. Meng grabs it and tells me it’s heavy. A big one? The fish comes up – Meng is pulling hard – and I see the huge wave the fish throws! It’s a hog!
It makes two hard runs under the boat but the line and hooks hold. Whew! I have the net, and I can hear Meng hyperventilating and saying “get him” repeatedly under his breath right behind me! The fish works its way near and I pounce! Ever see pure joy? The beast went 27 pounds, a new PR by almost 20 pounds! We took a hundred pictures and released it. Meng glowed!
The bite died later and I told them we had 15 minutes left. Trolling about 100 yards, Meng says he’s got one on! A big dorsal fin pops up … another biggie! Funny, the 36-inch, 16-pounder would have been a new record for Nick – if he had gotten that pole. Still, Nick was as happy as he could be for Meng!
It was a blast of a trip – actually, “Epic!” Never give up!