Friday, June 26, 2015

Ep1: A celebration of fishing buddies.

I fish mostly by myself thanks to a crazy work schedule but I am blessed with some fishing buddies that are like brothers to me. I've been friends with one guy my entire life, I can't remember a time when I didn't think of him as my best friend. For four decades we've worn numerous creekbanks down, attempted to keep the squirrel population in check, chased turkeys and hunted for that buck of a lifetime that we're convinced is up on the mountain. Memories ooze from my mind when I think of days we've had in the woods... ...A few years ago we were on our annual kayak fishing trip to the gulf.(A.k.A. Saltwater Revival) We used to hang our catch off of the side of our kayaks with a stringer until one evening...It was a very calm day and we were planning to fish into the night because of the supermoon that was going to happen. My friend had a few trout dangling in the water and I heard a commotion coming from where he was. Cusswords echoed and I could see him beating at the water with his paddle, there was more turbulence in the water than his paddle could make so I headed towards him. By the time I arrived it was over and a blacktip shark about 5' long had stolen his catch. Remember, he was in a kayak and all of this took place within an arm's reach from him. Did we pack up and go home? Nope...we laughed hysterically like a couple school boys and fished until about midnight under a supermoon. We did put our catch in a cooler from them on though. Later on that night at the fish cleaning station...we'd set up an assembly line of sorts. I would fillet the fish, he would wash , bag and put the catch on ice. One problem, we were getting eaten alive by mosquitoes so my friend went to the truck to get insect repellent, that wasn't there. I was busy fighting mosquitoes and filleting a fish and didn't look up when he returned but when he told me that we didn't have any repellant (it wasn't the news that alarmed me because that was par for the course...me forgetting something.) His voice sounded very odd. What I saw next was a sight straight out of a horror movie, he had a 5 pound ice bag stretched over his head with eye and mouth slits cut in it. He said, "you do what you have to do because those suckers are killing me." He looked like a stereotypical serial killer basking in the moonlight... Like a true friend he had made me a bug bag also but I chose to let blood to the damned mosquitoes. Every time I looked up I laughed until it hurt, hell we were both in hysterics laughing but he never took that bag off. Moments like that are priceless but it is a sign of a perfect fishing buddy Teamwork is also a must for a perfect fishing partner...The next day we launched into the gulf to try for king mackerel, my partner had caught a bait and was fishing in no time. While I was trying to catch bait I noticed that my buddy and his kayak were traveling into the wind and he wasn't paddling. He had white paddle blades and you can see him paddling from a mile away...I headed out to him and the closer I got I could tell he was hooked up with a fish. I watched the fight and when the 42" king had given up I moved in to gaff it. (The gaff I had was found at a yard sale and yet to be tested.) When the king rolled up on it's side, I struck...a little too far back and all hell broke loose. The fish went nuts and broke the gaff handle, so, I'm now holding a broomstick and the fish is giving its best last ditch effort to escape. I yelled, when he comes back up I'll grab the gaff hook and you beat him in the head...like clockwork the fish surfaced, I grabbed the hook and pulled the front third out of the water. My friend struck the fish several times in the head and the king went limp and in the cooler. Game over. We paddled in...celebrating the fish and laughing at our adventure like a couple of fearless adolescents. Note: I've got several more perfect fishing buddies I'll write about in the near future. Stay tuned.