Thursday, December 6, 2007

Smith Mountain Boys

Every fall, the Smith Mountain Boys hit the water for some combat fishing. Me (Sneak), my Dad (Pops), and my brother (Fats). We all live in different states now, but never too far to keep us from going fishing. The first year we did this we went to Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, which spawned the name.

This year for SMBXI, Pops and Fats came here to Key West since I was unable to leave the area, and we went out two days with Dream Catcher Charters in search of fish.

Two of the more memorable fish hooked on the first day were a large tarpon that Pops had on the line before it broke off (just seconds before it probably would have broken him), and a giant snook (38+") that Fats caught, biting in the middle of a group of tarpon we had targeted. It also escaped being landed, using it's razor sharp gillplate to saw its way to freedom.

The best fish of this trip was caught late on the second day. It was our last spot, we'd all seen what time it was and knew our charter was ending in minutes. While Pops and Fats reeled in fish after fish using small 1/4 oz bucktails, the Captain rigged up a 2 oz bucktail tipped with a small pinfish for me to throw, hoping we'd find something big. Nope, nothing hit it. Meanwhile Fats felt sorry for me (or grew tired from reeling in so many jacks), and we traded rigs.

As I finally got in on the action and started reeling in my share of fish, the Capt made an adjustment to the big rig Fats was now throwing, replacing the pinfish with a shrimp. That did it. The very next cast, something hit it. Fats set the hook. First it swam toward us, so it's true size was disguised. Then just as it got close to the boat, it ran. Hard. 200 yards away, I saw a big fish leaping and spinning in midair. Hey look at THAT!

The fight was on. He'd hooked into a Spinner Shark, and it wasted no time showing us where it's name came from. For the next 15 minutes it went wild, leaping over and over and spinning several revolutions each time it jumped.

Once the shark figured out that somehow he was still hooked, he went to plan B: dive and hold tight. It started to look like he was getting the better of Fats, who was really looking tired. Then the reel broke out of it's seating in the rod. Instinctively, instead of rallying to his aid I busted out with a big belly laugh. I mean we're guys, any chance to make fun of each other always rises to the top of the agenda. Finally I helped him get it reset, and the fight was resumed.

After about 30 minutes of fighting, Fats finally reeled him in to within view, only about 5 feet from the boat. Then, with one last surge, the shark managed to break the line. He was gone.

So we had another successful and eventful SMB...and I learned a few new curse words.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

That spinning shark pic is like watching the Discovery Channel!