Fishing With Mr. Magoo

I really should not criticize my friend by calling him Mr. Magoo, since I do not have one of the newfangled (to me, anyhow) trolling motors that hooks up to the GPS system and have not operated one of them with a wireless remote control, but I will anyhow.

The other day, Mr. Magoo and I picked up and ran away from a savage rainsquall. It seems to me that I have especially good luck when I have to go somewhere I did not plan on going. Rainsqualls popping up and making me change course to avoid a soaking can get me to fish somewhere I did not plan to go, and I often catch fish I would not have found had I followed my plan.

When we finally got out of the wind and pouring rain of the brief, summer type of squall, we were close to a seawall noted for big snook. We changed lures and targeted a different species. We had to bump across some sandy bottom, but a hard incoming tide carried us into position.

I wanted to drift along the seawall without the big main outboard running and stay not so close to the wall that we might spook fish and not so far out that we could not reach the seawall. If we trolled into the current, with the trolling motor, at a speed less than the speed of the in-racing tidal flow, we would be doing what salmon fishermen call “back trolling,” appearing to move forward through the water but actually making our way backward, and by making long casts with slow retrieves, we would have had a good chance to catch a nice fish.

Unfortunately, my buddy Magoo did not know how to achieve what mariners call “steering small.” “Steer small, damn it” admonishes a less skilled helmsman to make smaller movements of the wheel or tiller to keep from making giant changes in the boat’s or ship’s heading. Novice car drivers often swerve back and forth terrifyingly until they get the hang of it!

Magoo never did get it sorted out, and at times we were so far out from the seawall we could not cast far enough to present a lure to any fish that might have been there, ambushing baitfish being swept along it; other times, we were so close to the wall that any fish in the area was spooked from all our commotion.

We tried one last spot. It was almost a sure thing for ladyfish — a favorite for sport, though not notable as a food source — after the skies cleared, but wound up totally skunked. Not a single hookup. One bump each and some cuts on one soft plastic lure by an unknown species.

It was a great day! I bought us each lunch and a beer at a waterfront restaurant since we had used Magoo’s boat and gas, and we enjoyed the outing immensely. Lucky the rescue dog had a fine time, and even got to bark at some porpoises.

We are off to the Dominican Republic Marlin University in the morning and really looking forward to it.

Check with Barb Lehner for open spots in Cape Verde and Kona — two of my favorite blue-marlin hot spots and home to really big blue marlin.

Good fishing,

Peter B.