When the Story is as Good as the Fish

Fishing is one of my favorite pastimes. If I'm at home, I'm out in my 14ft Jon boat on beautiful Lake McBride or down the road fishing off the dock at Two Pond. I have also grown up saltwater fishing. My dad and I would always take our 17ft Boston Whaler out in the Apalachicola Bay hunting for redfish and trout. I can remember most every time I have ever been fishing. But now one trip will always stand out in my mind.

My dad and I were bored sitting at our beach house on St. George Island one day a few weeks ago when we decided to go on that particular fishing trip. Our boat however, is not in perfect condition. The fiberglass has broken on the front and was peeling off on the bottom. We decided to leave the boat where it was. My dad and I consulted taking my uncle’s 22ft Coastal Bay out, but it hadn't has had a cover on it since last fall, and is looking a little rough. So we finally settled on just fishing off of the shore over in the bay. My dad and I took his truck to a small nature reserve in the middle of the island. We went to the water and threw our cast nets until our bucket was full with mud minnows and pinfish. We hauled all of the bait, our nets, and our rods to a small kayak landing on the bay side of the island. The landing is surrounded by oyster beds. There are oysters growing on some jagged rocks sticking out of the water. My dad and I rigged our rods and let the bait sail into the water.

There was no activity for about 10 minutes. I had just gotten back from getting a snack from the truck when suddenly my bobber disappeared. Clutching my snack in my right hand. I grabbed my rod with my left and yanked to set the hook. The fish shot out towards the center of the bay. By the way it was pulling, I could tell it was a shark. I had just set my snack down when it stopped. I had lost the fish. A little disappointed, I put on another pinfish and threw it out there. Another 10 minutes went by when my bobber started to move around on the surface. It was never completely submerged, yet it was moving against the current. I grabbed hold of my rod and pulled. Suddenly the rod came alive with activity. The fight was on.  I reeled him closer and closer before I noticed the line was getting caught in the rocks. I ran out through the sawgrass in an attempt to free it. As I was walking across the oyster covered rocks I lost my footing. Down I went straight into a pile of jagged oysters. If you've ever been around oyster beds much you know they are as sharp as razors, and so what I said next I cannot put into writing. The fight was still on though. I grabbed my rod and reeled the fish in. What I believed to be a catfish turned out to be a nice 24” redfish. I yelled to my dad, “Get the net!” He sprinted to the car and down to where I was. It was the fastest I had ever seen him move.  As he scooped up the fish, I felt a throbbing pain in my left toe I had not felt until then. I looked down and the water surrounding me within a 10” radius was red with blood. Remembering the shark from earlier, I got out of the water. I limped back to the truck with my dad carrying my new prize.  And of course we had to take a photo before tending to my wounds at the house. I was bleeding from my fingers, wrists, toes, and leg, but it was well worth it for a good fish and a good story.

 By Will

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