Turning the tide on a fishing jinx
I recently attended the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers’ mid-winter board meeting in Punta Gorda, Fla., recently. It’s a beautiful part of the state just south of Port Charlotte on the Peace River. When we have an event such as this we always take a day and spend it exploring the outdoor resources in the area, and for this occasion we went fishing.
Jesse and Kelly McDowall, our guides, were waiting at a landing near the Gasparilla Sound. Trent Marsh, a fellow board member, and myself hopped in, introduced ourselves and we were off. It wasn’t until Jesse was in our first location and preparing the rods and bait that Marsh informed us that he was cursed on these types of outings, and he hoped we wouldn’t hold it against him if we failed to catch fish. Kelly just shrugged and told him to pay attention, follow instructions, and the hex would end.
The first bite was a hard pull, and Marsh grabbed the rod and started reeling, just as instructed. You don’t need to rear back and try to drive the hook home when using circle hooks and the fish was on. For three seconds anyway. Marsh looked dejected.
The next bite was more subtle but the fish proved to be a good one, for about four seconds and it came off, too. About that time I was looking for a sandy spot on the shore to drop poor Trent off, but all the bank was covered in mangrove or sloppy shoreline. It looked like Marsh would have to get muddy when we tossed him overboard.
Just as I was about to suggest a spot to rid ourselves of the jinx, Jesse promised us he knew of another location where the fish would cooperate. It wasn’t but a few minutes into the next location when I hooked a real fighter. It was the first time I’ve ever caught a blue heron. The big bird snuck up on my bait while I was telling stories and the line got wrapped around its leg. The heron wasn’t hooked so Jesse demonstrated how a wet towel wrapped around the bird’s head would keep it quiet until we untangled it.
It would be difficult to blame Marsh for my inattentiveness, but I felt it would be worth the effort anyway, and – as I was using all my abilities to convince those in the boat it was in fact Marsh’s fault the big bird hit my bait – he hooked and landed a big snook. I decided to focus on fishing.
It appeared a hex also can be transferred to someone because it came to me. Marsh was reeling in redfish, snook, and jacks. Big ones. I reeled in a catfish and the biggest red I reeled to the boat popped loose before we could land it. So, be careful when you are out in a boat with someone who is jinxed. If you’re not careful it may come back on you.
Eventually, we go onto the fish. Big snook, redfish, and jacks were plentiful in those waters and the guides were incredible. Both Jesse and Kelly are go-to guides for Goliath groupers, and his knowledge of the resources is vast. If you’re ever planning a trip to Punta Gorda I highly recommend this couple. Check out their web site at: www.floridainshorextream.com.