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Fishing...No Place For Unnecessary Thinking!

Aug 17, 2007
There's no place for unnecessary thinking when you're fishing in the surf on one of the most beautiful beaches in America. I was walking the beach on a beautiful sunny morning at the end of spring, sighing with contentment as I looked out over the Gulf of Mexico. After the serenity of an early morning tide had lessened somewhat and the few early morning beach walkers had drifted by, it was time to throw my bait into the water. I was about to have a ball catching Pompano on the beach at St. George, Island, Florida.

I had gotten up at 6:00 AM to get a head start on the fish. I try to think like a fish sometimes, nothing elaborate, just your basic survival thinking. When the sun comes up in the morning, I'm hungry. I suspect fish feel the same way, so thinking like a fish, I try to give them what they like to eat for breakfast. I know that a shrimp to a fish is like bacon and eggs to people. With this knowledge I loaded up on live shrimp at one of the three bait shops close to where I was staying.

This was the first day of my vacation on this island and I was determined not to think at all. My brain was on vacation too on this small barrier island on Apalachicola Bay. It boasts that this is the way Florida used to be. If that means there are no huge condominiums, hotels or water parks, then I guess this is the way Florida once was. There are three restaurants that are open during the season and one market. If you don't get to the market before 6pm, you're out of luck because that's when they close up shop for the day.

There are hundreds of privately owned homes that you can rent by the week which is what I did last year in mid June. Comparatively, houses on the island seem to cost a little less to rent than those in the rest of Florida's Gulf Coast. Just down the road a mile from where I was staying is the St. George Island State Park. Still digging out from one of the 2005 hurricanes, the park was only half open when I visited. I only needed an entrance into the park to be able to walk on about 9 miles of uncluttered beach. Along that beach is where I hooked a fish I will never forget!

Parking the car in the designated space, careful not to get in the soft sand on the shoulder of the road through the park, I pulled my fishing stuff out of the trunk. This particular morning I carried my rods and reels and tackle box, along with 2 foot lengths of PVC pipe I had cut for rod holders. I also brought along a lounge chair and cooler to keep the fish I would catch. I felt like a pack mule as I struggled toward a particularly inviting piece of beach.

Although I was almost exhausted by the time I reach my chosen spot, I had the positive attitude all fishermen have just before they make that first cast! After struggling from the parking lot to the water's edge, I dumped all the equipment I had carried from the car. I made a vow that the next time I came to the beach to fish; I would have invested in a cart of some kind to carry all the junk I had brought with me through the soft sand of the beach.

Getting down to the business at hand, I rigged up my fishing line with a two ounce ball weight, tied on a couple of hooks with one and a half foot leaders. Searching through my bait bucket for the perfect shrimp, I grabbed one that I would have like to see simmering in a garlic-butter sauce and hooked him just behind the head and cast him into the gulf. I barely had time to take the slack out of the line before something practically jerked the rod out of my hand.

Right away I set the drag to allow the fish to run without breaking the line. I immediately reset the drag to compensate for the terrific strength the fish seemed to have. I began to get concerned when I looked and saw that over half of my fishing line had already been stripped off the reel. My fish was headed toward Galveston and there was little I could do about it!

I was using 12 pound test line and ordinarily I wouldn't have been concerned about a fish breaking the line, but this one wasn't acting like a two or three pound Pompano. More line was ripping off my reel so I decided to show this fish who was boss. I leaned back on my reel and started a pumping action the way they do on sports shows on television. The fish didn't like this maneuver at all! Suddenly my fishing line became limp. I was reeling in an empty fishing line. The line was broken!

I caught a few Pompano, and they were delicious, that morning but I never got another chance at the fish that got away. It was a great way to start a vacation. Looking back, I probably lost that fish due to unnecessary thinking. I should have left well enough alone and let the fish tire itself out. I learned my lesson; no more excessive thinking!
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, holiday eating and leisure living.
Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
http://www.bluemarlinbob.com
http://www.pompanobob.com
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