Blood and Gatorade By Dave Anderson

Blood and Gatorade
By Dave Anderson
Exploring new spots requires more than taking a cast into new water, you have to be inspired. There is this one rock that always seemed too far away, a long a walk over unfriendly terrain protected it from my boots for years. One particularly ugly day I thought that a walk to this far away rock might find some clean water to fish in—I was wrong, but I got my inspiration.
The water out front dove off into blackness—something surfcasters rarely see—and it was surrounded by countless ambush points and varied depths. This rock had potential. High seas and dirty water kept the rod on my shoulder, but I still took the extra time to find casting perches and to lay out battle plans for the different areas that I would be casting into.
The following June a friend and hit a mother lode of big bass about a mile west of this new spot. For several days we had a lot of nice fish and then, like they so often do, the bass moved off. The obvious track came together inside my head, the fish would be migrating east and the rock was a mile or so east.
We put some fresh scratches in my friend’s truck as we weaved down the twisty back trail and made the long walk. A bright moon was hanging low in the sky on this warm and windless night. I was so excited to get an eel into the drink that I didn’t even wait for my companion to catch his breath. I made a long cast and let my eel settle. As I began my retrieve the line came tight, it felt heavy, not so much like there was a fish on there, it just didn’t feel right. So, I set the hook and my drag began to whine.
I had miles of deep water to play with so I let the fish run and when she stopped, I pulled back to feel my line had been wrapped through a minefield of sharp stones. I wanted to cry as I tried to haul her out of the mess. Every time I gained some line she took more back and seemed to sink further into the hopeless gnarl of hell in front of me. Finally she made a slow and determined move straight away from me, the line strained and tinked over a few hangs before it parted. The rest of the summer and through September the big rock was not producing and my confidence in the big rock began to wane.
On the fourth of October it called my name again. With the same friend and a bucket of eels we made our way out and decided to try a different portion of the rock. On my way out I stepped between two rocks and severed the strap on my left Korker. I would have to fish with just one on this night. The steep sides of this high portion of the rock were black and slick, and without a complete pair of Korkers, I’d have to fish from high, dry rock.
Off to my right I knew there was an undercut in the rocks and it seemed like a spot that might hold some big fish. I flipped my eel in front of the “cave” and my eel was immediately jolted—I set the hook on a heavy fish and she came unbuttoned a millisecond later. This happened about five more times and I began to lose my patience.
I was hell-bent on hooking up. Looking back it could have been any number of reasons that caused the misses. Maybe it was the angle of the line from being so high on the rock, maybe it was the rough seas coupled with the short cast I was making leaving little give when the fish tried to beat tail into the rocks? But on my next hit, I held back and let the fish eat it. This was a dirty trick because the fish just swam off and then suddenly felt the sting a good swim out from the safety of the rocks.
The fish pulled hard to the right and I knew it was decent—I also knew that if I didn’t stop her I was going to break off. I upped the pressure incrementally until I found that magic moment when she turned. In an instant, she passed me and I had to swivel around and shuffle my feet to maintain pressure. As I shifted my weight to the Korker-less foot I slipped and before I knew it I was on my back and sliding down the rock! Holding the rod tight to my hip with my right hand I instinctually braced myself with my left and I ran it over a jagged section of barnacle-covered rock—and I knew I was cut, but I decided that I was not even going to look at it until I had this fish on the rocks.
Finally I had her, 46 inches and 35 pounds. We took a quick photo and released her. Finally I got a look at my hand, it wasn’t pretty. The wound was hanging open and would most certainly require stiches. Further, there was a good accumulation of black “stuff” in the wound collected while sliding down the rock. So, I did what any insane surfman would do, I cleaned it out with Gatorade, cut a strip off my t-shirt, wrapped the cut and kept fishing.
Guess how many more fish I caught that night? Yeah, that’s right, zero. All I can say is thank God for Super Glue—emergency room in a bottle.

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6 comments on “Blood and Gatorade By Dave Anderson

  1. andy_k

    Great story Dave, thanks for sharing it with us. Superglue has saved me feeling the sting of the needle a few times too. Although to be honest, I think it’s best applied when you’re feeling really sleepy and looking like a bag of sh*t. It has its own little sting which will wake up the worst of us on a weary night 😉


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