Editor’s Log: My Matrix Moment - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: My Matrix Moment

For fans of the Matrix movies it probably won’t come as much of a surprise to read that people regularly walk up to me at shows or on the beach, look me in the eye and address me as “Mr. Anderson” in that Agent Smith, ‘all business’ (even sometimes taunting) tone. I have to go along with this with a smile and a chuckle while pretending to really know exactly what they’re talking about, even though I have never seen any of the movies! That’s right, this Mr. Anderson right here, had to look up the origins of all these Mr. Anderson/Matrix quotes on YouTube to even learn who Agent Smith was, I honestly wasn’t even aware that Mr. Anderson was the main character.

But I digress.

The other day, after work, I met up with my longtime friend and incredible fisherman Robbie Taylor, captain of Newport Sportfishing Charters and one of the finest striped bass fishermen I have ever met. We spent the evening throwing jerkbaits for prespawn largemouth bass in a local Rhode Island pond. The spread of subjects that wove through our conversation was vast, from life in general, to times we spent fishing many years ago, to the finer points of fishing for a long list of species and at least 100 other subjects I can’t remember at the moment.

The fishing was fairly bland, with the water warming, it seemed like the bass were in a state of transition, moving in tighter to shore and not as focused on the long-pause presentations of a suspending jerkbait. In fact, the pattern that emerged involved fishing the jerkbaits in a snappy cadence of jerk-jerk-two-second pause…jerk-jerk-two-second pause… and casting parallel the shoreline, fishing along that first line of depth change that mirrored the water’s edge. The bass we landed were mostly males in the 1- to 2-pound class with a couple that may have flirted with 3 pounds, but nothing larger.

As we made our way around a small cove, Rob pointed across the water and said. “I bet we’ll find a pile of fish right there,” while pointing to a clump of reeds stationed along an otherwise barren shore. When we arrived in that spot, we did, in fact enjoy the most consistent action of the day which included maybe seven bass and one monster crappie. When you’re good you’re good and he is.

During that flurry of bass action, I hooked up and battled a 2-pounder on my light 7-foot rod paired with a Shimano Stradic. The fish put up a good tussle for its size and, as I angled the rod to slide the fish toward my hand, the fish performed one of those classic ‘largemouth bass headshakes’ and my MegaBass jerkbait dislodged from its jaw and – powered by the bent rod – sling-shotted right at my face! In a fraction of time so short that it couldn’t be measured on one of those horserace ‘photo finish’ cameras, my hand – somehow – streaked up from the water and intercepted the lure before it contacted my face.

I swear, the seconds that followed thundered by audibly, like someone smashing an empty dumpster with a baseball bat. As my eyelids creaked open, I looked to see my jerkbait pinched between the meat of my thumb and the tip of my index finger. I had caught it! But surely, catching a lure with three sets of needle-sharp trebles traveling at the speed of a Serena Williams serve would result in a few hooks buried past the barb!

My eyes focused to see two specks of blood welling up on my thumb, my heart sank, but the wounds were superficial! I had pinched the body of the bait at the last possible millisecond before two of those barbed prongs would have been sunk deeply into the fleshiest part of my hand!

For the first time, I truly felt like Mr. Anderson, and my Matrix moment had come at the hands of my most common opponent, a fish.

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