Sometimes you throw a cast, and it’s painfully obvious that the odds are against you.
But, if we’re honest, the odds are almost always against us when we’re angling.
The most rewarding moments in life are the ones you work for.
Sometimes, you work very hard for these moments.
Sometimes, these rewarding moments don’t come as soon as you’d like them to.
Sometimes, the moments don’t come at all.
But, it’s the pursuit that makes them worth it when they come.
The work can carry an intrinsic value in and of itself.
The pursuit. The struggle. The challenge.
Do we fish because of the catching? Or, do we fish because of the fishing?
You’ve probably heard the saying “That’s why they call it fishing not catching.”
When does fishing begin?
Is it when you start to think about the possibility of connecting with another living organism on the opposite end of a line and the energy transferring into a rod, into a reel, and finally into your hands? Does it begin lying in bed thinking about your strategy the night before? Or does it begin as you approach a body of water and start to breakdown where the fish are, what they are eating, how to get their attention, and how to convince them that what you drop in the water is something they want?
I believe fishing begins when you meet the unknown and water is the most beautiful and captivating unknown on this planet.
I have waited my entire life to have an amazing opportunity to hook into a Tarpon and land it.
This opportunity finally came during our stop of the ANGLR Tour in Tampa where we met up with Jose Chavez from 13 Fishing.
I felt the familiar feeling of hope that keeps all anglers returning to the water.
Alex and I were incredibly hyped up and we knew once we got to the first spot that we had a great shot to put one in the boat!
When does fishing end?
After a night like tonight, I can tell you it certainly doesn’t end after turning the boat around to head home after a frustrating night without much more than a bite.
For me, fishing never really ends.
You’re already thinking about next time before you even hit the ramp.
There’s always a next time. There’s always hope.
If Jose had known a Tarpon would be caught every time he threw a cast, it would instantly rob him of his joy in the process.
It’s only when the odds are against us that anglers are the most alive.
It’s a challenge to defy these odds every time we get on the water.
Chasing Elusive Tarpon
Once 9:00 PM finally came around, we headed off to the ramp in the dark. Jose has an awesome little skiff with a tiller outboard that we cruised out on. We started fishing a couple dock lights where I immediately got multiple blowups by small snook but no hookups.
After that we moved to bridge bumpers and watched in amazement as tarpon tailed under the bridges. For the next 3 hours we painstakingly made blind cast after blind cast in the pitch black with no luck.
Some Fishing Action!
Jose finally hooked up to a nice Snook. Not long after Jose caught the Snook, I felt a tug on the end of my line! My heart jumped…. My rewarding moment was finally here..! At least, that’s what I thought…
On the end of my line was not a Tarpon, but a Lady Fish. What they call a poor man’s tarpon around these parts. I unhooked it and released it quickly, still on the hunt for a hungry Tarpon.
Sadly, after hours on the water and countless rejections from picky Tarpon, we had to call it a night.
Prototype 13 Fishing Gear
In this video, you’ll see Jose talking the setup he was using that included a prototype 13 Fishing reel and rod. He also shared some prototype swim-baits with us as well. It was pretty cool to learn more about the company and some of the exciting things they have coming in the near future. We are excited to see them release some of this at iCAST in just a couple weeks. We’ll be there, too and I’ll definitely be showing you more from 13 Fishing during the show.
Jose also provides a few great tips about how to catch tarpon at night in the video.
Fishing Isn’t Always Easy!
We got back in at 4 AM pretty dissatisfied in not being able to convince one of those beautiful Tarpon into biting my bait.
However, the Tour continues and I know one day I’ll be back to get my Tarpon!
My hope lives on!
Jose, thanks for providing yet another another vivid memory on this tour of what fishing really is and why I fell in love with this sport in the first place. You’re a great example of what it means to “make your own luck.”
Our next stop is Wilmington with Steve Moore to take the Bonafide Kayak out for the day! Another challenge. Bring it on!