Wednesday, January 26, 2011

That's Why It's Called Fishing, And Not "Catching"!

The condo we rented this month down in Naples is actually on the water - on Vanderbilt Lagoon to be precise.

The owner left a fishing rod in the unit and told me I was welcome to use it. (Someone gave it to him and he's not a fisherman.)

Now I fished a lot as a kid - but only on lakes, ponds, and streams up in the Northeast. I basically had, and have, no idea how to fish in the ocean least of all down in Florida.

Anyways I started asking around here how I should fish off the dock that's only 50 paces away and was told to get live shrimp, hook them through the tail, and cast out a weighted line. Allegedly there're snook and sheppardfish(?) in the lagoon alongside the occasional manatee, occasional alligator, stingrays, dolphins, and sharks.

Busy all month, I finally got around to getting some bait yesterday.

On my first cast, it felt like some small fish stole my bait.

On my second go around, eventually my line got hit by something BIG - so I thought - because the line snapped instantly. I'd never felt anything like that before on the end of my rod (fishing).

I put another hook on and continued for another hour without any luck whatsoever. In fact it got annoying because the birds were fearlessly and doggedly attacking my line when the bait hit the water. I once hooked a duckling back when I was a kid and the mayhem that ensued (the mother was there with about 8 other baby ducks) all but traumatized me. Let me just say that these sea gulls and whatever the other birds are down in Naples are as aggressive as sh*t. I've seen them pull a half-dozen sandwiches RIGHT OUT OF PEOPLE'S HANDS on the beach this month already.

Anyways, eventually I got another hit. Again the line broke and I was getting close to my last hook.

The next time I got a hit, I didn't try to hook the thing at all. My kids were right next to me and we watched the line get taken out hard. A beautiful fish about 20 inches long jumped straight out of the water and snapped the line yet again, loudly to boot.

After some more research I'm convinced that it was a ladyfish I had on there.

It must have been old fishing line or something. I had no idea that fishing line got brittle like that over time. Does it?

Hit Wal-Mart last night for some more hooks and new 20 lb. test fishing line ($2.50!)....and I'm all geeked up to reel one of those suckers in before I have to leave on Monday. Freshwater fishermen in Central Massachusetts RARELY catch anything that big.

No luck today. The guy at the local bait shop didn't have live shrimp ("they die....I get too many complaints") and he convinced me to try a lure with a piece of frozen shrimp on the end. It was incredibly windy out there today AND I was having major *snag* issues. Despite fishing my entire youth, I discovered today (via Google) that I actually had no idea how to properly spool a spinning reel.

Two days ago, on Vanderbilt Beach, I watched some guy fishing hook something LARGE. His rod was bent into a U-shape and it kept taking out line. I ran over and grabbed my camera only to watch him struggle for 30 minutes, along with a good-sized crowd, before having his line snapped!

The dude said it had to be a stingray, the way it was able to keep from surfacing.

Masterful, laser-targeted marketing in that clip above, no?


Anonymous said...

We charter a 49 foot boat on our trip to Miami and headed offshore. Nothing biting and near the end of the day went to the mouth of the canal where all the casino cruise boats launch out of. We were using light tackle to see if we can get something and a spinner shark hit the line. I fought it for 1.5 hrs (on video) and got the shark to the boat a few times and the 1st mate attempted to gaft it and missed and smashed the butt of the gaft on my chin. Split it wide open. I still fought the shark for another 20 minutes, got it near the boat and it spun, snapping the line causing it to instantly transform into a bird's nest. This is when i noticed my shirt was covered with blood. It was the classic case of the big one that got a way.

CaptiousNut said...

Cool story!

Realize that if you were instead a chick wearing a bikini...

You could probably sell that footage for mucho dinero!

How big was the shark?

CaptiousNut said...

Here's a retarded spinner shark and a retarded(?) do-gooder.

Anonymous said...

Check out the striper fishing when you get back to Long Island.

CaptiousNut said...

I can walk a few hundred yards from my house on Long Island down to the Sound.

People do fish right there and I have no idea how, what for, or if they are successful.

I guess I'd better going down and ask them.

As for going out in a boat fishing for stripers....I'd be all over that too. Though I'm perpetually short on *free time*.

Anonymous said...

The shark was about that size but the tackle we were using was so light that you couldn't muscle the fish in without snapping the line. I was actually relieved. The first mate was trying to convince me that I should mount the shark and had a buddy who would give me a "good" deal. Just what I need, a junk fish mounted on my mantle for a thousand bucks.

Striper fishing is by far my favorite although we also go blue fin tuna fishing off the cape quite a bit. Long Island has an excellent reputation for Striper fishing. It is also excellent to eat on the grill.