Unfortunately my trusty guide made the faulty assumption that I had previous experience with a spinning rod. Now why in the world would he think a girl with a tongue-in-cheek, self-penned moniker like “Fly Fish Chick” would know how to handle a spinning rod? We were a full hour into our adventure (setting up on some fish) when we mutually discovered this minor breakdown in communication.
From the look on his face I thought he was going to turn that boat right round baby right round and head for home.
But hey, what I lack in skill I try and make up for with a positive attitude. And it was gorgeous out there! I was channeling my Inner Meat-Fishing-Mamacita, catching shrimp from the live well with my bare hands and hurling them out there best I could. So fun. And the fishing was much more strategic than I expected. Searching for birds hitting the water, using the tides to set up at just the right angle, picking the perfect shrimp (a big delicious feisty one!) when you know you’re really into some good fish.
The highlight for a first-time tourist like me was spotting a monster alligator. Of course I begged for a closer look so we buzzed up for a photo shoot. Suddenly I felt like I was the one bobbing inside a live well while the alligator was sizing me up. I made every effort not to come across as either delicious or feisty.
Once we interrupted his afternoon nap in the sunshine, that prehistoric lug submerged himself into the water with the unexpected grace and vertical control of a synchronized swimmer. Part dinosaur, part Esther Williams. It was wild. And we were outta there.
It was a wonderful day out on the water — despite the fact I ended up with zero fish to show for my big meat-fishing adventure. Unfortunately, I was decidedly inconsistent and awkward with a spinning rod. The most excitement we had was along the edge of this grassy spot. Shrimp were jumping everywhere and I had a few good shots and a few good bites. But I couldn’t set the hook. Yikes. Luckily, my trusty guide was super patient and quite skilled at the pep talks and ego-stroking.
By sharp contrast to my debut performance, about a week or so later Big R, Little R, and Little R’s friend proved that experience does pay off and that there is no such thing as beginner’s luck for me. They put me to shame in the very same grassy spot.
Well done boys! But now I want another shot. Truthfully I don’t think it was my ineptitude with a spinning rod that was holding me back. I think it was mental. My super-chill, fly-fishing, girlie-girl zen attitude simply didn’t work for this type of fishing. Next time, “Fly Fish Chick” is going to become “Bait Fish Chick”, and I am going hunt down those fish like a half-crazed vigilante.
Oh yeah baby, it is on! Wanted: Speckled Trout. Dead or Alive.