January 11, 2013
I have long pondered on what's the difference in fishermen and people who like to fish. Believe me, they are not the same thing.
Many years ago a super nice guy who shall remain nameless started fishing with me. He has been with me through a half dozen or more offshore boats, and he's the perfect companion on any trip. He works hard, he pays his way, and he's always up for whatever we want to try next. He sure enough loves to fish. The problem is, he doesn't really care whether we pull a split tail mullet on the shotgun or just behind the dredge. In fact, he doesn't care if the mullet is de-boned or split. Can you imagine such heresy? He is truly somebody who really loves to fish.
I have argued back and forth all week with my buddy Mark, who captains the Expediter. You see we both love tuna fishing. We both pride ourselves on pulling light fluorocarbon leaders with small ballyhoo on our shotguns, fished twice as far back as most boats pull them. The secret is certainly making the bait look lifelike, and removing any unnecessary tackle. We both use 20 foot leaders and tiny swivels. However I've started noticing I'm catching more blackfins while I'm fishing for sails, than during any other time. That means that big ugly circle hook is right on the baits head in plain view for a sharp eyed tuna.
Who's right doesn't matter. What matters is that my buddy Mark and I will spend hours dwelling on it during the week. Why will a sharp eyed tuna turn down a ballyhoo if the leader is too heavy, and then crush a Rapala with 9 hooks hanging off it?
I've decided the difference in a fisherman and somebody that likes to fish is that fishermen are as much in love with the process of fishing as they are making the fishing trip. This came home to me painfully on a recent morning. I had rigged 3 dozen ballyhoo the night before a scheduled trip, only to be greeted by 20 kts of northerly wind the next morning. I was madder than a wet hen, until my buddy busted out laughing. “Rick any of your crew can rig baits on the way out. Most of them are better at it than you are. When are you going to admit you love sweating over the satellite pictures, complaining about the price of fuel, hauling 300 lbs of ice for an overnighter, and yes, rigging baits half the night even when you plan to leave the dock before daylight?” Yikes, I immediately knew he was right.
I had a young man join us offshore for the first time recently. I'm hoping he becomes the mate on the new Dos Amigos IV. We had a decent enough day, and I thought he did fine for his first trip. It was during the following week, when he called to tell me he had seen a wahoo shoot right past our black and red Ilander, and then crush the blue and white on the other side. He wanted to know if I thought we needed more blue and white Ilanders. Hey, he just might be a fisherman.