"You do not cease to fish because you get old, you get old because you cease to fish!" Author Unknown
Since the beginning of time, there have always been fishing stories and legends. Early Egyptians told a story of a large fish in the Nile that could eat a fisherman, boat and all. American Indians from all over the country have legends of giant fish that seemed unbelievable. Seems no matter where you drop your fishing line, there is a legend of a wise and elusive fish that anglers have been trying to catch for years. The one thing that all of these legendary fish from all over the world have in common, is that they have a name. Remember “Walter” the legendary walleye in the movie Grumpy Old Men? Well, I’m about to start another legend. There is a fish living off of the north pier by the Bait House that deserves a name. Here is my story:
It happened again Saturday night. This was the third time it has happened to me since we moved onto the boat. A breeze was blowing in from the east, cooling as it raced over the intracoastal waterway. The tide was exceptionally low. No one was fishing on the pier which gave me a lot of area to fish. I had caught three (3) good size pin fish for bait and readied my largest spinning rod for the job. The set up was simple. Fifty pound PowerPro braided line, a two ounce egg sinker with a small split shot to stop the weight and allow the pinfish enough line to roam a large area. I used a number 0/2 circle hook with no leader. The pinfish was hooked under the dorsal fin. I made a cast out to the main channel and let the weight sink to the bottom. After retrieving some line, I felt the weight bump into the edge of the sea grass and stopped. I left about five or six feet of slack in the line so the pinfish would have room to roam and placed my rod into the rod-holder on the boat. I sat down in my chair, placed my head phones on, tuned to an 80’s rock station, and waited. For the next half an hour I watched the rod tip flutter to the movements of the pin fish. And then it happened. The rod almost bent in half. The drag was singing and line was reeling off of the reel at an unbelievable rate. I grabbed the rod to set the hook but there was no need. This fish was hooked. I tightened the drag as tight as I could, but the fish didn’t slow down a bit. I lifted the rod tip up and pulled hard to try to turn or stop the fish. It didn’t work. I tried to grab the spinning spool on the reel with my hand to stop the line, but it just kept going. It felt like I had hooked a passing boat, but there were no boats around. I was powerless to do anything except watch my line disappear off of the reel. And in the end, that is what happened. With a final “TWING”, the knot broke and my line was torn completely off of the reel. Ohhh - the agony of defeat. As I mentioned earlier, this is third time this has happened to me. Each time I used a larger rod, reel, and tackle but with the same results. When I tell other anglers of what happened, I hear guesses that it was a large shark, ray, jewfish, monster cobia, dolphin, etc. There was no definitive answer. It looks like a legend is born. Now all we need is a name. How about fishzilla? Got any ideas?
Remember that the Bait House has dock access for your boat and we can always be reached on your marine radio to check on bait availability. We also have rental rods and reels as well as aerated bait buckets for your day on the water.
Thanks to those that email at Jim2988@msn.com and as always, Good Luck Out there!
Jim can be found daily at the Bait House - Clearwater Municipal Marina, phone 446-8134
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