Alright, so everything you migh have read in Salt 396's blog...all lies, the filthy pirate. Lemme tell you what really happened...
9 a.m. and no compadres to fish with. They says "9 a.m. the train's leaving" so after chucking the chickens a little bit of grain and violently throwing all my gear into the camper, I'm running red lights to get to the station on time. I even drag raced a B-line bus (totally beat that sucker off the line) just so I wouldn't miss out on this once in a lifetime trip. Alright, so maybe we were just trying this setup out for future trips, but I damn sure wasn't gonna miss the maiden voyage of the SS Innertube. These boys come dragging in around 9:15 while I'm cramming down the last half of my chorizo and egg taco and washing her down with a little 99.9 FM the Tejano central, and I gave 'em the cussing of a lifetime. When it's time to go, bigawd, it's time to go! There's fish to be caught!
Maybe I was a little rough on them, youngsters as they be, but you promise me a shot at cobia, jacks, and sharks, and I am bound to get a little antsy.
Mine eyes then beholdeth our vessel for the day, and majestic she was. So we go through the usual strains and struggles, getting everything loaded just right, clamping the motor down, unloading everything and reloading it again because it just didn't look right, eat lunch after repositioning all the gear a third time. You get the picture. And we're off like a herd of turtles, myself in the bow, The Bandit riding shotgun, and Salt on the stick. Now, we had some pretty calm conditions to work with, but I want you to imagine putting an outboard motor on an innertube and then hurtling out into deeper and deeper shark infested waters with a few sticks, a 12 inch long louisville slugger, and a couple of gopros to defend ourselves. I'm sitting here thinking to myself, between frequent baptismal dousings, "I'd be better off hopping in the chum bucket and paddling out."
After a long night of restless sleep, we arrive at the first rig.
Salt did get one thing right. You remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the herds of Brachiosaurs are bugling to one another. Cross that with the AT-ATs from Star Wars, and that's the scene you get out at the rigs. Each four legged monster calling to the other, and coupled with the waves, they do appear to be migrating together.
But enough of that sissy crap. Here comes the action....Wait for it....Here it comes....Just a few more seconds.....any day now.....................................
Yeah, the initial wait. we're diligently frothing the water with torn up Spot and Pinfish, and all we get in return are some ghostly silhouettes of spadefish. Every new one that showed up was a jack at first. Tensions were high. And we waited. And waited. So I says, enough of this crap. Time to drown some squid and get this party started. As soon as that 2lb lead egg cratered the bottom, BOOM! SNAPPAH! Too small, so I throw 'er back. SNAPPAH! Again, too small. SNAPPAH! SNAPPAH SNAPPAH!
I swear to the almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster, I think I recaught the same fish about 20 times. Woohoo! Lane Snapper! Still a little undersized, but hey at least We're having fun. "Hey look, a turtle" Says ol' Salt. "And those ain't brown trout circling that sucker...LINGLINGLINGLINGLING!" I'm here to tell you, it sounded like a firehouse bell out there. I'm screaming Ling with the intensity of a 14 year old girl trying to win front row seats at a Justin Bieber concert, I'm pretty sure Bandit fell out of the boat at some point, and ol' Salty lays the biggest, gaudiest fly you've ever seen right in that ling's eyeball! Now, I will take credit for the flourescent pink and chartreuse monstrosity that might as well have been a Nudie Club Neon sign...hell, I think that fish might have responded a little better to the neon. Snubbed. Bigger than Dallas. If that ling had fingers, I can guess which one might have been lifted for us.
To say we were devastated would be a gross underestimation. I know we've got time, boys, hell I'm kinda dreading the putt back in, but that was a perfect shot. A broadside on a whitetail at 15 yards, and we shot the damn feeder!
So we put that all behind us, unhung the 200lb lead pipe of a rig hook, sanded a few barnacles off the rig legs, and purred our way to the next rig. Long story short, there wasn't a damn thing here. A few bermuda chubs, a couple of spades, no snapper, no ling...Screw this, we're hopping to the next one. Same old shit, different day. After a brief powow and a couple quaffed shots of Campo Azul and chum juice for luck, we roll on back to rig numero uno. We've got one fly drifting in the current, Bandit asleep in the bow, and we're wearing those mini snapper out. I did manage to boat one keeper, so at least the trip wasn't a total loss. "I'll have snapper, you boys can eat the chum," I says. A few more shots, just to pass the time while watching the sunbathing pods of spadefish, when out of nowhere, a spinner rockets out of the water, just behind the boat. I put down the squid rig and grab a fly rod. It ain't a ling, but I'll take a shark. Nada. So I keep blindly casting up current, letting the fly sink as far as I possibly can, letting it drift down and under the boat, and slowly stripping it from the depths on the other side, when what should be behind that little E-Z braid squid, but a little 4ft blacktip! I stop, she ignores it. I strip and she swipes it. "Oh, you b*&$#, eat that squid!" A little closer to the SS Spare Tire, and it's adios charky! Oh well, back to watching spadefish, chucking chum, and trying to disable the child saftey lock that is preventing me from downing the whole bottle of tequila.
What, ho? What be this? Doth mine eyes deceive me? "Hey Salt...I don't think that there is a spadefish." You gotta understand, at this point, I was so tired of crying wolf, that I was gonna wait until I could smell the difference between a spadefish and something else. Those slow slurred words might as well have been like yelling "FREE ICECREAM!" on a short bus. We kept our cool, all standing up at once and subsequently falling into the chum bucket, onto the gas tank, and I'm pretty sure Bandit fell into the water again. Lucky for ol' Salt, I had tied my special squid onto the broomstick/winch combo Bandit brought. "Fish on" Unbeknownst to Bandit and myself, Salty had already laid out a beautiful cast to an equally beautiful ling, who, as is to be expected, inhaled that squid with reckless abandon.
Okay, here's what we gotta do boys. Scurry and scramble to unhook from this rig and get as far away from those razor sharp barnacle encrusted legs as possible. So we tied Salt's life jacket to the bow line (I figured if he lost this fish, he was of no use to us anyway), and drifted away. And that's about the time he put the heat to her and she tried like hell to bury that broomstick of a fly rod in the gulf mud. After some grunts and groans and general cursing at the size of this little fishy, The Bandit decides it's time to piss her off a little bit. Now, I'm all for a little excitement, but for some reason, sticking this old girl with a gaff was like telling the old lady her feet stink and to get her ass back in the kitchen. It seemed funny to tease her at the time, but man oh man did we nearly catch the frying pan upside the head. That fish went ape shit and dove for the bottom, but not before wrapping the fly line around the gaff. So here I am, holding Bandit by the ankles as he leans waaaaaaayy out over the side and frees up the gaff. Round 2, and so far ol' Salt is in the lead, as he puts the winch in full gear. Gaff attempt number two went swimmingly, with a left hook under the chin...(ha, get it? left HOOK) and we pull her along side to give her the old treatment. When they're misbehavin', club 'em over the head. We did it, got her in the boat and took all the trophy photos we could, and went back to the rig for more.
Well, there was no more, and to avoid dragging this out any further, we decided to call it a day and putt our way back home.
That, boys and girls, is the real story. No fluffy edges, just hardcore, in your face live action.
Hey, if I'ma lyin' I'ma dyin'.