Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Rant About Beachgoers

I'm usually not much of a ranter , so this may not be full of the kind of righteous indignation expected of a full blown rant. However , I was very close to going into a maniacal rage last week on the beach in front of groups of young children , expectant mothers , and elderly octogenarians with tender sensibilities. Let me explain.

Increasingly , fishermen (like me!) are being pushed off of the beaches. We aren't allowed to fish on many lifeguarded beaches , as those areas are meant to be safe for the types of people listed above. I can accept that. Compounding the problem , fishermen pay more usage fees than other beachgoers in the form of licenses and driving permits. I can accept that , too. Add that to the areas closed for turtles and birds , and you have fishermen crammed into so called " Joint Use " areas , where swimming , fishing  , and other forms of recreation are all allowed. It's unfortunate , but again , I can accept that.

What I can't accept is the sheer number of people that show absolutely no respect for people fishing on the beach. People constantly walk into your lines , or allow their dogs or children on skimboards to otherwise molest them. It's not my fault when a pair of star crossed lovers walking hand in hand up the beach are so consumed with gazing lovingly into each others eyes that they blunder into my line and drag my rig 5 yards up the beach. But every damn time someone gets tangled in my line , they look at me like I set some sort of diabolical trap to ensnare them. I honestly believe that most of these people would step into open manholes , or walk through wet cement , if given a chance.

Then you have the Touchy McFeely's of the world , who , through an overabundance of nerve endings , stop immediately upon contact with the line. These guys and gals make a very pronounced display of looking left and right to find where the mysterious barrier to their passage originates from , only to act shocked and appalled that the fishing line is indeed coming from the rod of the fisherman a mere 10 feet away. Then the McFeely's grab the line and with a mighty heave lift it over their heads , to allow themselves and any others in their party to go under it. This is not okay. When you grab my line and lift it , it usually causes my rig to break free and move , which is undesirable. Keep your booger hooks off of my line!

Probably the worst offenders , in my opinion , are those who bumble into the line , thrash about in an effort to untangle themselves , then turn and deliberately give you a shrug of the shoulders in an attempt to convey a " Sorry , what can ya do? ". Again , let me reinforce that I am not at fault just because you have no awareness of your surroundings. If you can't see a 12 ft. surf rod in a sand spike perched at the tide line , with a large , angry man sitting beside it , you may want to seek professional help. Or at the very least , join a support group for people who touch wet paint.

It's not all bad , though. I do have to admit that about one out of twenty people will actually show a hint of respect and either cross under my line near the sand spike or completely walk around me! These people give me hope for sun lovers everywhere , and are the main reason I don't go around stomping through sand castles , knifing beach balls , and putting fish guts in soccer moms' beach bags.

My point is , show us the same respect we show you. I don't set up my sand spikes where you and your family members are swimming and playing , so please don't decide it's a good idea to swim and play where I'm fishing.

Have a great week !

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grip and Grin!

I was gripping and he was grinning. Look at the teeth on  that puffer!

Have a great week!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thanks Dad!

As I sit here at my desk , it almost seems like yesterday that dad and I were on the river , just the two of us , checking a trot line we had set in the New River the evening before. I was probably 7 or 8 years old , if that , and it was a rare trip to the river for just dad and I , due to the absence of my older sister.

Sure , we set plenty of trot lines on weekends , but normally sis was with us and I was restricted to doing the most menial tasks since I was the youngest. Not so on this trip. I was the one who got to help and it made me feel like a grownup when I got to help sort the hooks that dad was taking off of the trot line. That's pretty serious stuff to any kid.

That's not what really makes this trip stand out in my mind , though. The one thing that never fails to bring a smile to my face when I look back on that cool Saturday morning so many years ago was when dad grabbed the line in the water , turned to me with a big grin , and said " Hey Joshie , I think we got a big one! ". That was followed by my own turn with my hand on the line , with dad's help of course , and dad's explanation that " You can feel him pulling ". I wasn't quite sure what I felt on the line , but dad's excitement certainly fed my own.

As we worked our way down the trot line , I know I drove dad crazy. His confidence that we had a fish was killing me , and of course the big fish wasn't anywhere near where we had started. It was halfway across the river on one of the last half dozen hooks. If my memory is correct , I think we found something else on the line first - either a small catfish or a bass , but dad said that wasn't the fish we had felt earlier , so we kept going. Finally , we came to the fish and it was a monster. Probably almost 20 pounds of catfish and we were both giddy with excitement as we wrestled it into the boat. It was the biggest fish we had ever caught together and one of the biggest fish I had ever seen.

I'll admit that time may have added some weight to that fish , but it hasn't changed how much fun I had out on the river with dad. You see , dad wasn't (and isn't) a big fisherman. He likes to fish , but would rather work on other hobbies. That's fine with me , but what matters most is that dad always made time for me , time to do what I liked most , and for that I will always be grateful.

Thanks Dad! Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Scent of Burning Electronics

Filled the air when I cranked line onto one of my surf reels today. That one's hard to explain. No electronics on the reel , and I searched the whole house for that elusive "Burning Electronics" smell.'s source. Finally concluded that it was the reel.

What? It was a mid priced reel made by a respected manufacturer , the reel itself being only a year old , if that. I've used it relatively often , but not excessively. Still though , the smell. Taking the reel apart made the "smell" worse.

Turns out it was completely dry. No grease or oil. I don't recall the reel being submerged , but that is what happened - unless there was a manufacturing defect....

Just a few globs of grease fixed the problem, but on the tear down I didn't see any signs of the original grease... Slackers!

I found this problem before I was on the water and I was able to make a quick fix , so I was lucky. I haven't always been so fortunate...I'd love to hear your experiences with failed fishing gear in the comments!

Have a great week!