If I could not laugh at myself, I would be in serious trouble! A few days ago, I called an old buddy of mine, Eric Bachnik, whose grandfather started the famous MirrOLure line. They quit making my favorite lure, and I suggested they get another lure with some similar features. He said he would send me a care package of new lures.
When the box arrived, it was like Christmas had come early! There were a bunch of new designs that I was eager to try out, and a few that baffled me. I had talked to Eric about my success catching tuna on butterfly jigs but could not figure out how in the world to rig some of the lures he’d sent me. I called and got Eric’s voice mail. “That little glass minnow is going to be deadly!” I told his machine, as my wife, Erin, walked into my office. “But I can’t figure out how to rig the ones with the giant split rings, unless you use assist hooks and fish it like a butterfly jig,” I said.
Erin cracked up and said, “Those are key chains, you dummy! You use the one with the VW keys on it all the time.” Needless to say, we all had a great laugh when Eric called back after hearing the whole thing recorded on his voice mail.
I caught one snook and jumped off another the first time I tried the new MirrOLures, in Manatee Creek in my backyard, and caught one off the dock on a 10-minute break the next day.
I’m getting ready for a trip to Africa. I have known for several years (since 1973) that the Mozambique Channel may be the only other place as good as Cairns, Australia, for giant black marlin. I mentioned before that I had two of my heavy 130 rods sent over from storage in Cairns. I had taken them to Madeira in the 1990s, but we did not need to use nearly as much drag on the giant blue marlin in the cooler water that far away from the equator. I had to use more drag on the (much less common) big blues in Hawaii and the giant and more numerous blacks in Australia. In fact, I have formed a strong impression over the years that bluefin tuna in cold water do not have anything like the strength and stamina of the ones in the warm water of the Bahamas.
The mullet run is on, and all the big predators are chowing down on them and the tiny glass minnows that have been thick for weeks.
Yesterday I helped coach the Young Guns at Quail Creek, a scholastic youth group. It had five new young shooters in its first year, 2008. Yesterday we had 55 excited boys and girls. Safety, and how to stay safe, is the most important aspect of the lessons to all the shooters, young and old, and is followed next by having fun!
I had a group of six — five males and a young lady — with a wide variety of skill levels, but all of them got to break flying clay targets. The look on the face of a novice who has just shattered a clay target in flight for the first time is priceless. Besides coaching the kids of Young Guns, I instruct adults as a Level 1 NSCA instructor.
My real job as a big-game fishing guide has morphed from helping my clients catch monster-size fish to teaching other anglers, and crew, how to catch more and bigger fish.
I love my work! It is hard not to have fun when you’re helping others to have fun!