First of the day

First of the day

Quick trip report of the surf session I had today (Thursday, Dec. 5th).  I tried a different stretch of beach.  Part of my motivation was to confirm that the technique I described in Surf Fishing 102 transferred to a different area.  My other motivation was this spot had free parking 😉

I’ve been having a bit of a rough go of it lately.  I had gotten a pretty nice severance package from my last job, but I left there in April.  I’ve been looking for full time work, but jobs have been hard to come by.  Things are getting pretty tight, and to be honest I’ve been feeling really down lately about the whole situation.  I noticed that high tide was going to be at a very reasonable time today (10:21 am).  Some saltwater therapy was definitely in order.

I got to the beach just before high tide, setup my rig and shortly I pulled in a couple perch.  Things were going nicely for about an hour.  Then I noticed I had a little friend.  A sea lion decided to fish my spot too.  Sure enough, the bite shut down.  I tried to move, but he seemed to follow me.  Grrrr.

I was about to pack up and leave when a guy came strolling down the beach and started talking to me.  His name was Keith.  He was visiting from Alabama.  We talked fishing.  He showed me some pics on his phone of a couple nice bull reds he just caught off the south beach of Dauphin Island.  He asked me how I was doing and I showed him some pics on my phone.  However, I pointed out the sea lion in the water and told him I was about to bail.  He seemed to want to continue chatting.  What the heck…I had time.  I showed him my rig and encouraged him to give it a shot if he was going to be staying for awhile.  As we continued to talk, he confessed to me that the reason he was here wasn’t a pleasant one.  Last year, his 11 year old son and his ex were murdered by his ex’s then boyfriend.  Tomorrow, he is going to court for the sentencing.  He told me his last talk with his son was the night before it happened.  He had promised his son that he’d be coming out and would take him fishing.  The bodies of the victims were so mutilated that they had to be cremated.  He took his son’s ashes back with him to Alabama, and spread them in the ocean on his next fishing trip.  Wow.  As I’m typing these words, tears are welling up in my eyes again.  I showed him pics of Jake and Juj and told him how they often come out with me.  He started to tear up that he didn’t get to actually take his son out.  I really felt for Keith.  He said he needed to get going.  We did the dude half shake, half hug thing, and he left.

Keith walking away

Keith walking away

Whoa…heavy.  Poor guy.  I can’t imagine.  You guys know how much joy the kids and I share going fishing.  I felt so bad he never got to share that same joy with his son.  I turned my attention back to the water.  The sea lion was gone and I decided to give it another cast.  I started to work my line back to the shore when I got whacked hard.  I actually kind of had to play it for fear of snapping the 4 lb leader.  After a short while I got it in.  Wow, biggest surf perch I’ve caught to date.  Keith was at the rise by the lifeguard tower and I called out to him.  He came jogging back.  “Oh my!  That is one nice fish.  Let me take a picture to show the boys back home.”  Then I gave him my phone to take a picture of me.  He had a smile on his face and so did I.  We did the bro hug again and he went on his way.  I stayed a little longer.  I managed to catch a couple more fish.  I even caught a new species, a walleye surf perch.  It was now about 2 and half hours past high tide, so I packed up and left.

I don’t know if any of this experience “means” anything.  I do know that my recent worries seem pretty small compared to what Keith has gone through.  I also know it was nice to put a smile on both our faces.  Tight lines.

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