Like most fishermen, I have a lot of stories to tell about my experiences on the water or on the road, traveling to and from fishing destinations. Some stories are good, some are funny and some — not so funny or good.
I have two stories to tell about this weekend’s fishing tournament I was involved with, in St Augustine. I have been involved with this tournament for the past nine years, and it is all done to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The first story is a little “batty.”
I was driving up Highway A1A at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, to launch at the boat ramp at the St. Augustine lighthouse. I was somewhere just north of Matanzas Inlet, when something flew from out of nowhere into the path of my vehicle. I forgot about it by the time I got to the boat ramp. The next morning , when I went out to clean the boat, I noticed something in the front grill of my truck.
When I went to inspect, I found a dead bat. It was in perfect condition — except it was dead.
I said to my wife, “Come check out what I caught yesterday.” She thought it was one of my most interesting catches ever.
The next story involves two anglers, one from Oklahoma, the other from Massachusetts. Considering they weren’t avid fishermen, I spent the better part of the first morning trying to teach them to cast a spinning rod. One took to it pretty well, but the other didn’t quite catch on. As luck would have it — beginner’s luck, as they say — the not-too-good caster caught most of the fish spanning the two days.
Fishing has been difficult because of the high water we are having. They caught a couple of small trout in the Intracoastal Waterway, but they were undersized. We moved to the back of the flats to work the grass line for some reds. Again, the not-so-good caster wound up landing a 22-inch redfish on a Berkley Gulp jerk shad, rigged on a 0.125-ounce 5/0 worm hook. Later that day, we were in the 206 flats, and the not-so-good caster hooked into a big redfish, using the same rig he used to land the other red. He couldn’t budge the fish, but once it started to move, it took off like a bat out of hell. (Pun intended!)
The fish stopped and ran straight back to the boat, dragging the line across the trolling motor. Then the line broke. He now has a fish story of his own to tell about the big one that got away.