Editor’s Log: Tag Team - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Tag Team

The week of the June new moon is always something I look forward to and the only thing that holds me back is that pesky need for sleep. Try as I might to push myself past the brink of exhaustion, it’s just not as easy as it was 20 years ago and I have to be smart enough to give in to those needs. So even though I may want to fish every hour of darkness for the 10 days surrounding the new moon, I can’t. Luckily, what I have lost in stamina I have made up for in experience and I can usually pick my tide windows and do pretty well.

In the lead up to the moon, I always fish a few late-nights in a low-tide spot that has put up consistent catches for me over the years. Once again this season, I found myself on that same rock casting the same plug into the same little wedge of water. Within minutes I was tight to a solid fish and the night went on like that until the tide ramped up and killed the bite. It seems like the fish get pushed off the spot by the surging tide, or perhaps they just hunker down and become harder to target. At the end of the tide I had landed seven fish between 20 and 30 pounds, a solid score for under three hours of fishing.

On the next night, I called my buddy Mario to get in on the action. With a 12:40 tide, we were standing on that rock within minutes of the change and I hooked a 20-pounder on my first cast. I’m not a big fan of hooking up on my first cast, it’s one of those superstitious ‘curses’ that really seems to have some truth to back it up. But that footnote did little to dampen my enthusiasm, because the tide had only barely begun to move and – it seemed to me – that we had a very good shot at some more good fishing. The only downside was the wind, which had swung to a, historically, unfavorable direction, but the wind was light and the change was recent, so I remained optimistic.

Maybe 20 minutes later, both of us had missed a few fish, but the momentum seemed to be building nicely. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mario haul back to set the hook and then saw an immediate posture of disbelief and dejection in his silhouette. “Well, that’s the end of the night for me!” He said flatly. “What?! Why!?” I asked. He came over to show me that the handle of his Zee Baas reel had sheared off!

He walked back behind me and, immediately, I could hear a ticking clock, thundering in my head. My brain went into survival mode as I tried to figure out how the rest of this tide was going to work out. At first I thought, “Well, he can just go home”, of course I was forgetting that we drove together in my truck. Proposing that he call an Uber seemed like a cold suggestion, so I swallowed that one. I know, for sure, that he wasn’t going to complain and probably would have just sat on a rock and watched me fish. But, putting myself in his shoes, I just couldn’t handle the guilt of that!

In my periphery, I could see him pacing around, like a caged animal. Indecision was plaguing him too. I didn’t want to force my friend to sit around for two to three hours, but I was also certain that I didn’t want to leave! Suddenly I was transported back to Mrs. Allen’s Nursery School where many of my core values were seeded. I learned to share there at four years old, I could certainly share now at 43!

So we played it like batting practice, taking five casts each with my rod, while the other waited. I will say, it made it tougher to feel the consistency of the bite or to execute any experimentation, and I definitely think that cost us some fish. But at least we got to fish out the tide window. And, I was able to confirm that the first cast curse us still a very real thing. Mario caught two fish on my rod and I caught zero for the rest of the night.

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