3 Miracles in the Marsh


My mother always says — things happen in threes.

The part of me that appreciates behavioral economics assumes that these things are usually confirmation bias. Basically, we only see the things that actually happen in threes while we ignore the things that don't. Whatever, apparently enough people have identified things happening in threes to make it into a thing, and I respect that. So for the sake of a story let's assume things do actually happen in threes. 

Recently on a trip with some very cool dudes, namely Cameron Mortensen of The Fiberglass Manifesto, Mike Sepelak of Mike's Gone Fishin'... Again, Derrol Hammer, Captain Steve Martinez and Captain Kevin Morelock of Indigo Guide Service in the Louisiana marsh chasing redfish, I had three miracles happen. That's right,three.

The first was at the end of a tough day. The lights were out, the skies were gray. The wind was not quite howling but present enough to make spotting fish tougher than it normally is. Consequently, Derrol and I while fishing with Kevin, went the majority of the day without seeing or spooking many fish. We blew up a few mud clouds from bull reds and saw a few black drum but nothing to write home about.

The previous day I had been skunked on Steve's boat. That day, Mike had landed a pair of nice slot fish but the bulls were being particularly troublesome to spot and hook. We had shots but I blew most of mine. Getting skunked two days in a row isn't what you really set out to do but in situations like that you can write it off as part of fishing.

With an hour and a half left of fishing time Kevin said to us," Guys we can go over to that point over there where we saw a bull this morning or we could go someplace new, called Bay of Pigs. It usually has black drum and some bull reds in it, but we haven't been there today so you never know." I'm not sure what clicked in my head but I responded that Bay of Pigs sounded good and Derrol agreed. So we set off for the Bay of Pigs.

We pulled in to the bay and the light had changed to the even blue orange glow of the sun sinking low. The wind laid down a bit and the water slicked out just enough. Kevin jumped up on the platform I grabbed the fly rod and got up on deck. It was a vast wasteland of nothingness. No birds. Silence. 

Then about 100' feet off the bow a nice bull swirled in a hunting tantrum. The water boiled up showing his red back and tail. I'm not the best at spotting fish on the flats, in fact Steve and Kevin said I was about as good as a blind Eagle which is to say, not very good, but I saw that fish clear as day. Kevin said, "Ok, E, I'm going to get us over there."

Of course, in my heightened state of awareness I wasn't going to just sit around and wait for the guy who knows what he is doing to get me closer, I took a shot at the fish and Kevin said, "Buddy, what are you doing?"  I apologized and stripped back my fly in a hurry. Not a good idea. I had luckily not spooked the fish with my first attempt. We spotted him close to the boil again and now he was in range.

I took a shot at the fish and laid it to the left, missed. I picked up and cast again, a miss to the right. The fish was a cool customer, no crazy Ivan's from him. I finally put a cast three feet past him and to the right and Kevin yelled "STRIP FAST!" So I stuck the rod between my legs and stripped as fast as I could with both hands, Andy Mill style. I saw the fish move with a wake behind the fly to make a solid eat. I was tight to a nice bull red. Miracle one.

We landed the fish and it measured out to a solid 15 pounds. So not the biggest fish at the party but a solid save of the day. High fives and back slaps all around. I sat down and was good to go.

But no sooner had I sat down on the seat and taken a breath Kevin says "hey look, Sheephead tails 20 feet, right there." We looked over and there were a couple happy little tails wagging out of the water. Derrol picked up his rod and dropped a couple casts on him. He moved around a bit but after two or three casts Derrol was tight to a nice Sheephead. Miracle Two.

We landed that fish took a couple pics and released him. We had another round of high fives! Kevin said "ok guys it's time to head out, I'm going to pole us off of this flat and get into deeper water so I can fire up the motor. That fish was a gift!"

Then he pointed off the left side of the boat and said "Black Drum 25 feet E, grab that rod and put a cast on him."

I dropped a shitty cast right on top of the ghostly looking black drum, picked up and dropped a better one right past and stripped it into his vision. I saw his flare and ate the fly with a vengeance. That fish fought a bit harder than the red drum. He peeled off drag and went on some decent runs. Miracle Three.

It was a total surprise. Three miracles in the marsh to save the day. In a matter of moments our day went from completely skunked to riding high. That's the nature of this big fish sight fishing thing. It's feast or famine. Sometimes it takes a few miracles.

Mom is right, things happen in threes.



1 comment

Mike Redmond

I thought you were a heck of designer, innovator and pretty good businessman. You could probably make living as a writer too. Great story

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