August 17, 2012 was the most successful bonefishing day of my career. I eclipsed my personal best in size and amount of bonefish. It was exhilarating fishing! Whenever school or work gets tough, I take myself back to that place and everything seems better.
Flash forward to 2013, on the anniversary of that special day. Same flats, similar conditions, Team Jigalode, geared and prepped. The stage was set for a repeat of the previous year.
With the sun just peaking over the ocean we began wading. A receding high tide challenged us, but slowly became more favorable. The morning saw very little action and slowly became somewhat frustrating. Complications with my gear and multiple barracuda cut offs took a considerable amount of time and line. I felt like that memorable day was not going to have its sequel. Two-thirds of the team was already headed out of the water to pack up. I was considering calling it quits too.
Casting off of a long, narrow sandbar towards a grassy patch, I let my line cross into a deeper area. As I did this, I observed a kiddy-pool sized stingray combing right over the same spot. I feel a strong tug at my line and I pulled the rod back and set the hook.
The stingray took off to the right and my line starts to run in the opposite direction. The fish heads straight into the deep on a 20+ second sprint. Spool already depleted, my line started turning into bare metal and I was forced to run after the fish into the deep to prevent the fish from breaking off.
I had about 3 revolutions of line left around the spool when the fish decided to finish its sprint. I quickly tried to bring in line but the creature was not budging. Rod bent and arms flexed, I arm wrestled until my forearm burned. I continued reeling and walking towards it gaining some slack.
Without warning the fish sprinted again and I was able to redirect it towards the sandbar. With a change of trajectory and momentum, the fish started down the sandbar like a plane landing on an airstrip. The silver of the fish cut through the water and I finally set eyes on the beast.
The bonefish cut through the water like a torpedo and once it approached me I was shocked at how big it was. Exhausted from the fight, we both moved slowly in the shallow water. I carefully secured the fish and removed the hook. Holding the fish I was exuberant! I admired its beauty and size. We snapped a few pictures and took a release video. The bonefish took off strong, and left me with a smile from ear to ear. Persistence paid off and everything that had happened before that was worth it at the end.
Any question on what I’ll be doing August 17, 2014?