Crank Bait, live bait, power bait oh my. These are things that give me the willy’s. These are the things I avoid to even talk about…unless it’s the only option. Practicality over pride is a good measure of a well seasoned angular, adjusting endlessly.
Yesterday was a test for me and my holier than thou fly fishing approach to catching a fish. I went on a group fishing tour out of Cape Canaveral, FLA with my girl and a friend of hers that just wanted to be on a boat. The catch was, it was deep sea, drop bait trip with 30 other people and most of them smokers, waiting to catch and kill “The Big One”!
So not, will ever be me, just say’n, despite my apprehension I thought, when in Rome…
So there I was, on a party boat with 1 trillion pound test, a top reel fiberglass rod and a lead weight the size of a fat golf ball what for the go ahead to “dropline!” The crew aka fishing experts aka deck hands aka dead bait slingers were ready to help us all out, all 30 of us. It’s a full-time job, I wouldn’t want.
The boat comes to a halt and we get the green light to bait up and get fish”n. just for information purposes our choices of cut bait was sardines and calamari, which coincidently would be what I would order off a menu in an Italian restaurant in North Beach, San Fransisco. I chose the sardine as my bait. The deck hand shared his tried and true method of baiting this hook, which looked like something you’d hand a very heavy jacket on or a medium-sized gaffing hook, He said;
“First, stick the hook through both eyes, than bring the hook over the back and pierce under the dorsal fin just above the spine”
I am watching closely looking for any kind of finesse, the I ask, “and then what?”
“Drop it t the bottom and wait” he said, then followed it up with, “don’t move it or jig it, that doesn’t work”
This is so counter-everything to me, I said out loud, by accident, “this is going to be a long day, not sure I can take it, When do we head back?”
Serena, looks at me with that “Hey, we’re on a boat” look, so I re-centered again and said to myself, “when in Rome…”
So there I am, leaning over the rail with my line out, tip down waiting…for what I wasn’t sure. Nothing was happening and on top of it all, nothing I could do to alter my odds, except on thing, I can change my bait, that is it. So that’s what I did. I kept checking my bait, changing between calamari & sardine, sardine & calamari, then stacking both in the line, the deadly sardine calamari combo, which I felt was a win/win, but to no avail.
I went back to tried and true, one sardine, hooked the way I was shown, dropped to the bottom and wait.
Bam! All of a sudden the line went taught, really taught. I was thinking that it was just a snag on the bottom like the girl next to me had hooked but no, it was moving, slow and heavy. The funny part of this is that I have preached to all of my clients that, “believe it’s a fish until proven otherwise”, I should really take my own advice.
“It’s a biggie!” shouted the guide, (he went from deck hand to guide the second that fish was on), so I have the tip of the rod low, cranking on the reel, pulling up, retrieving line, tip back down, rinse and repeat.
Them my guide says “that’s how I like to bring ‘um in. I need a net for this one!”
I got a bit of a pride boost, I don’t deep-sea fish, but I’m doing like a pro would, and he needs a net. Again it’s a win/win.
After what felt like 20 minutes or more, but in reality was much less, I got this big ass Red Snapper to the boat, netted, photo documented and Instagrammed hashtaged #Bigass #Snapper. It was a pretty exciting event, not that I would admit that freely, amongst my fly fishing ‘elitist’ but man o’ man it was cool.
Truth is, I love to fly fish, I prefer to fly fish, but if you keep an open mind, there can be light within the darkness, Now I only wish our elected officials could learn from this lesson, but that’s another blog…
In Florida, you have to return this specific fish back to the water…my catch and release values are upheld!