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Not all bad fishing stories end on a negative note. Here is one about a lost and found and reunited rod and reel.
By Roman Dudas

It was a cold November 9th morning and I was scheduled to take the Helen III out for a blackfish trip. I left a little earlier in hopes of stopping by Niantic to try my luck for a couple of stripers to start the day. I knew it was going to be an interesting day because I didn’t have to stop for any red lights and I managed to hook and land three schoolie stripers.

The ride from Niantic to Groton seemed to take hours but it was only twenty minutes. The anticipation was running high and so was the heat in my truck and it gave me a chance to warm up for a full day of fishing. The year before on this same trip I caught my first triggerfish and could not wait to see what I would catch this year.

When I arrived at the boat in Groton I noticed the mate was already tending to the tasks in order to make sure we had an enjoyable day on the water. I gathered my gear and headed to the boat where the mate met me and grabbed my stuff. He told me to pick a spot and showed me where to stow my gear. I had a nice informative conversation with the mate until the Captain arrived. He explained our game plan for the day and what to expect. The plan for the day was to bounce around a few spots so that no single drop would run the risk of being “fished out.”

With that said we backed out of the dock and made our way down the Thames River. It was interesting to see a thin layer of fog rising off the water on this fine November morning. As we reached the mouth of the Thames River, I saw my old friend “Ernie” (New London Ledge Light) and we headed east to Fisher’s Island Sound. We carefully navigated our way through the Lords Passage area and out into Block Island Sound. The next stop would be our first fishing spot of the day. We only spent about an hour on each spot but each one rewarded us with blackfish, porgies, bluefish and even a lonely cod.

At our third spot while the Captain and the mate were setting anchor, I made a quick trip to the bait bucket and grabbed some fresh-cut green crabs. After getting the “go ahead” to drop down, I sent my rig to the bottom. Just when my rig hit the bottom and I was engaging the reel, I got a strike and was taken into the rocks. I tried a couple of quick pops but to no avail. I have heard that if you take the pressure off the fish it will come out on its own, so I waited about five minutes and lifted the rod—out it came! As I reeled the fish to the surface I noticed that there was another line attached to it. I tied off the “extra” line to one of the cleats of the boat and brought up a nice 6-pound blackfish.

I then went about the task of collecting the line that was now tied off to the boat. What seemed like a mile of Power Pro came up from out of the darkness below and it was attached to a rod and reel combo! I lifted it into the boat and the mate cut the mountain of line so we could take a better look at my catch. Both the Shimano rod and MTK Cerebus reel looked practically brand new, and we estimated that it could not have been down there for more than a few days at most. I put the combo into the cabin and finished out the trip, and the season, with a nice bag of fillets with a new rod and reel to top off the catch!

On my ride home I thought about the rod and reel that I caught, and being almost new I felt bad for whoever lost it. I put myself into that person’s shoes and I had an idea. I remember seeing a party boat from New York at one of our drops so I made a phone call to them to see if anyone in the last month happened to have lost a rod and reel while on their boat. They had not but pointed me in the direction of Montauk Fishing Gear, the manufacturer of the reel, to see if I could track down the owner. In the meantime, I took the reel to J&B Tackle in Niantic to see if they would go through it and clean it for me.

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