Hey Capt. Butch:
I thought I'd tell you about my recent fishing experience. I was out on sanibel the other day at my favorite whiting spot. I have been getting a lot of whiting there for the last few months but I have not gotten any the last two times I went. Maybe they moved on or something.
Anyways, I had my small rod with only about 10 pound test on it and light rigging for whiting. I was not having much luck with the whiting and was a little frustrated with all the catfish. Usually I will wade out into the surf to cast and try and get it into the right trough. Typically after I cast I will leave the bail open as I wade back to shallow water.
This day there was a storm coming and the tide was moving in large powerfull currents. There was a tension in the air and I had an unsettling sense that there were big fish around me even though I couldn't see them, I was worried they may be sharks. So I waded out and didn't make a very good cast, only about 10 feet from where I was standing, but not having any luck so far I just left it and started wading back.
When I went to close the reel I noticed the line was pulling a little and I thought maybe I had another darn catfish. As soon as I closed the reel the line immediately went tight, so I set the hook. Suddenly my rod bent completely over and line started screaming off the reel. At first I stood in shock but after a moment I began the fight. The fish ran for some time and I was helpless to regain any of the line I had lost, but finally he began to slow. I frantically tried to get more line on the reel and wondered in an excited frenzy what could be on the other = end.
All at once the fish jumped! It was a glorious event and a turning point in my life. He sailed gracefully from the water and twisted slightly to one side before crashing back down with a terrific splash. He was maginficent! His body was sleek, powerful, and the sun glinted off his shiny scales. It was a Tarpon, a big Tarpon!
I knew I had very little hope of ever getting him on such a small rod, but would soon realize that the fight itself would be enough. He continued to pull line off my reel and I continued to try and save as much of it as possible. He jumped several more times and people began to gather on the beach. With every jump I felt humble to be locked in battle with such a great and beautiful creature. The fight raged on and after a time I had lost all but a few precious feet of line to the great fish, and I knew I was being beaten. If I could not regain the line I lost the fight would be over.
I decided I would give some ground and allowed the fish to pull me out into the open water. A last ditch effort and a sure sign of who was in control. The fish pulled me out and up the beach until I was far from my original spot and up to my neck in the deep blue sea. The waves were fierse and I was struggling to keep my head above water. Suddenly I realized I had run out of ground and could no longer reach the bottom, but still the fight raged on and I managed to keep my tip pointed to the threatening sky. At last I was out of line and my only hope was the knot at the end.
I thought about the day I tied that knot, thinking it doesn't really need to be a good knot, I'll only use it for little fish. Now the knot I had so carelessly tied so many days before was my only hope. At this point I began swimming to keep the line from breaking. The great fish lept again and then he rested. I tried furiously to take advantage and regain some line, but fighting to stay above water, I failed. The great fish made one final run, my line gave way, and he was gone. Back into the great blue sea from which he came, victorious.
I will surely never see him again, but I will always remember that day. The day of the great Tarpon. I have just one proof of my great adventure and that is my wife who stood on the beach and saw the whole thing.
So that's my fish story.
P.S. I also wanted to extend my prayers to Mike and all who need it. When faced with situations that I don't understand, I try to remember that "all things work for good for them that love the lord". God made that promise to us and I believe that somehow, someway, God must have a plan.
If you have any questions or comments, would like to book a trip, or would like to submit a story, please email me at email@example.com.
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