Saturday, January 6, 2018

To Fish or Not to Fish?? That is the Question!

29 December 2017

Two years ago, in a fit of enthusiasm, I walked into a fishing shop in Bradenton.  When a nice young man came up and asked if he could help me, I said “yes, I want you to outfit me with the right kind of equipment to catch fish”.  I could image what was going on in his mind and at first he was very hesitant.  After he asked me lots of questions, he finally figured out that I did not know the first thing about fishing and he became intrigued with the challenge of making me a successful fisherman.  I set his parameters:  keep it simple, keep it relatively inexpensive, and sell me everything I need to get started.  So he did!

Time passed and while at anchor in Camp Lulu, I finally pulled the rod out from the lovely teak holders that were in our aft cabin and the plastic box of tackle from a small lazarette.  I watched a youtube video on how to rig the rod.  Line put on - check, sinker attached - check, two hooks attached - check, and salami cut up for bait.  (couldn’t think of anything else I had that might work.)  I was ready!!  Let’s just say that my casting was very amateurish as you might expect, but I was having fun trying to get the hang of.  Casting between standing rigging, running rigging, life lines and other miscellaneous ropes is challenging at best.

I had no expectations of catching anything, but sitting on the side of the boat was pleasant and my casts were getting a little more coordinated.  Suddenly there was a tug on my line.  I would love to say that I gave it a practiced yank, but in fact I just jumped and the hook was set.  With visions of grandeur I yelled for Jim to get the net, which I most certainly did not need.  I pulled the fish onto the boat and the hook that had gone through its cheek caught on a jib sheet.  (a rope attached to the jib) So, here I am with a squirming fish, not only caught on the hook, but also on the jib sheet. Jim started to release the hook then realized that he needed pliers and a towel to protect himself from the barbs both on the hook and on the fish.  My excitement for having caught a fish was slowly turning into distress for the fish and a sinking feeling in my stomach!  Jim first got the fish loose from the sheet and then loose from the hook and threw it back into the water. (my request) It was between 10 – 12 inches.  I pulled out a book on Gulf fish and identified what I had caught as a Channel catfish – excellent eating according to the book.  There was no way I could have eaten that fish and in fact I was so upset that I put the fishing gear away and contemplated whether or not I ever wanted to fish again.  

My first fish!

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