The master tangler

January 2011 News

Fishing is a simple sport. Put a little bait on the point of a hook that is attached to a line that is affixed to a contraption known as a rod and reel that, used properly, will launch the bait into the domain of the piscatorial targets and, most often, result in a catch.

Most times that's the way in works. But then there are those infrequent occasions of blunder that manifest themselves as knotted lines, caught objects instead of fish, ensnared fellow anglers as well as countless other tackle engagements that disrupt the rhythm of the fishing trip.

Fortunately, they occur in a pattern that is, as stated, infrequent, but what if you had a situation where they became the norm. What would that be like?

Well stay tuned and I'll relate the ultimate in "tangleness" we had the misfortune to endure on a charter trip just last week.

The mainstay customers on this trip are two couples from the Northeast that exit the winter cold after the holidays and spend two months here in the sunshine and warmth. We've had good fun trips over the years running down the winter action here in Southwest Florida, so they e-mailed me last fall and arranged two trips; one in very early January and the other just before they had to return north in late February.

A day before the first trip, I got a call asking if a visiting brother-in-law could join the group on the first trip.

"Sure, be glad to have him. Be a little crowded but, what the heck, he's family."

His name was Harvey. Sort of a gangling, disjointed type with a matching personality. His first shot that morning was. "This isn't much of a fishing boat. Are you sure it's safe?" ( Didn't even answer that one).

We boarded the party that day at one of the marina's floating docks to enable a little more safety in coming aboard. The two couples boarded sprightly. Harvey came aboard with a stumble and a lurch, knocking over a cooler and landing on a subsequently inoperable tackle box.

We were fishing in the backwaters that morning. It had finally warmed up a bit, but we were still dealing with cooler than normal water and slower moving fish. Our best chance would be in the warmer shallower water. That would take us into the far reaches of the backwater surrounded by mangrove trees.


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