Sometimes You’re The Loser

Sometimes You’re The Loser

  • Posted by TackleDirect
  • On July 5, 2016
  • Comments
  •  9

You know those trips when you’re running through the inlet with a box full of tuna or blue flags flying from your riggers? Rolling through like a conquering hero; rods and gaffs placed perfectly in their spots for the ride in. You feel somehow superior to the fisherman catching their flounder, bobbing up and down in the inlet and back bay as they watch your triumphant return from 70 miles offshore. They have been sitting there all day, while you have been out in the blue water, racking up the releases, gaffing tunas, drinking miller lights and having the time of your life. Those are the trips we all love to tell stories about. This, however, is not one of those stories.

This is a story about the other kind of trip; the trip where you come back through the inlet with empty boxes and empty riggers, ready to hide your rods below the gunnels so everyone thinks you were just out for a boat ride. On this trip, you can almost hear the flounder fisherman laughing at you in your big obnoxious boat, burning fuel like a jackass, riding around the open ocean like a lost idiot. The feeling is even worse when you’re fishing on a friend’s boat owned by a family that has been fishing since before LORAN and you are the jackass that lost the only fish we hooked all day… yep, this past weekend I was that guy.

Here is the “fishing report” for the day: We left the dock at 12:30 am because we knew the inshore bluefin bite was only going down in the early morning. We ran 60 miles south to an inshore sport where we knew the fish had been biting all week. Our lines were in around 4:30 am, and we started hunting for the fish. We were set up around 5 or 6 miles from the fleet and were marking a small amount of bait. After 30 minutes or so of trolling in the dark, our captain said “this sucks, pull em up. We’re gonna make a run.” In my sleepless daze, I stammered down from the bridge and went to crank up the Penn International 70 that was hooked with a skirted ballyhoo way, way back off the long rigger. I took one crank on the reel, and the rod bent over hard. We were hooked into our first bluefin of the day, and the fish dumped the reel well into the backing. Everyone knew it was a big fish, and the lucky guy holding the rod (that guy being myself) started fighting the beast.

To make a long story short, I lost the damn fish. We trolled for another 3 or 4 hours without a touch. I sat and sulked on the mezzanine. We marked bait and fish like crazy all over the bottom, but they were done eating for the day. We cleaned up and got settled for the ride home around 10:30 am. I slept/hid from the rest of the crew for the ride in and contemplated my failure to catch our only fish. I am sure that every fisherman can attest to the empty feeling of losing a nice fish. This is made especially hard when you are a guest on someone else’s boat and even more difficult when the owner’s 11-year-old son is verbally abusing you.

I am sitting here this morning, distracted at work, and trying to “learn” something from this experience. After talking to the captain, it was obvious that I made a mistake… classic angler error. It’s easy to say, “Well hey guys, I’ve caught plenty of tuna in the past,” but that didn’t matter this weekend. I have only been fishing offshore for 5 years now and in that short time have learned that fishing is full of ups and downs and there always seems to be an infinite amount of “stuff” to learn, even when you think you have it dialed in.  For now, I am just happy that it was a half-day trip inshore and not a long overnighter to the canyons. Getting skunked after spending 24 hours on the boat seems far worse (or at least makes me feel better about this past weekend).

Hopefully I’ll be back out there again next week, happy as hell to be out in the ocean.  I hope that everyone had better fishing than me this weekend, and if not, then at least take solace in the fact that there was another kook out there messing up worse than you… and getting made fun of by an 11-year-old kid.

Oh, I almost got so caught up in my own sorrow that I forgot about the blue marlin that took a stab at our splash bar and the roughly 150 -200lb mako that swam through our spread. We were just as shocked as you may or may not be while reading this, but we did have a blue marlin come up behind the boat well inshore of the canyon in only 110 feet of water. It was no giant by any means, maybe 80 lbs, but it would have saved the trip… same thing goes for the mako.

The final tally for the day was 0-1 bluefin tuna, 0-1 blue marlin, 0-1 mako shark… I’ll refer you to the section on the “other” kind of fishing trip referred to in the first paragraph.

Keep them lines tight,

Michael

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