Sometimes you have to know when to fold them

Here is a weird  thought for you

Have you ever walked away from your spot when you really, really wanted to catch the fish and you knew the fish were there…but you still walked away ?

Sound implausible?

I just did that . And yes, I lived to tell about it.
What would posses someone to walk away from a bite that he is desperately seeking after a long and hard week at work? When you finally find a constant bite and you “figured out” what fish want, what would make you walk away ? Bad storm? No such thing. Emergency phone call. It would be I my phone never rang. A prior commitment ? Nope, I had a whole evening free to fish.

Then why walk away after driving all the way there, casting for an hour for not a bump and now that you got three fish on three  casts, now you are suddenly going to pack your shit and walk away for no apparent reason? And you want us to think you are sane?
Yes and yes. Although the reason might not be apparent at first, there is always a reason. I have few spots that i hold near and dear. I do not invite good friends or acquaintances to fish them. Same goes for cousins, celebrities of any kind. Only my kids and few closest friends ever got the invitation. Is that place that productive? It can be but the honest answer is , not really. Its a good spot, it can be great if you are willing to downsize your tackle to 7 foot rod and a 3/8 or 1/2 oz bucktail. Its  too inconsistent to be considered  a great spot but you can fish it with hand line if you wish. And ninety nine out of hundred times, no one fishes the spot and all bass are under 10lb . Remember I said there is always a reason?
I am fishing  and I see a guy to my left about 100 yards or so.  We can kind of see each other but if you put a rod down when you hook a fish neither one of us can tell if the other one is catching. I (or he) can catch a hundred fish and the other person would never know. I am not sure how he feels but this is just fine with me. The less people see me catching fish, the less pressure a spot gets, Some spots can fish a half of a surf fishing club, a place like North bar in Montauk can fit a mob. This little spot I am fishing can fit two, three is definitely a crowd. And I prefer to be alone so i can fan-cast to a different angles and with different weights  until i figure out the presentation that works the best.

So suddenly I see him making the move towards me. I am still casting but at this point I wont set a hook although I am getting hits on every cast. He now gets uncomfortable close, like 4 rocks away close. I guess he was expecting me to make room for him but I am instead man spreading like hobo on a subway. And I am still getting hits and now getting pissed off. He is throwing what looks like a  big, 3 ounce popper. I am throwing 3/8 ounce bucktail with seven foot rod.
Damn, my jig is getting  bumped like crazy but if i hook the fish…I am screwed. Maybe if he’s thinking I am not catching, he will leave. This goes on for about 10 casts, while I purposely do not set a hook ten times. One time a bass inhaled a bucktail but I gave him enough slack to spit a hook

He never notices as I pretend I am untangling a wind knot.
I almost one motion, my buck is attached to my St Croix Legend guide, and i am hoping rocks and  doing it to avoid making eye contact. After all, I am trying to attach the line and not to kill myself on rocks (no flip flops yet, but give me few days)
And there I was , walking back to my truck, dejected, pissed and aggravated . Not really at fellow angler. He is perfectly entitled to fish wherever he choses. And I guess I am entitled not to share sometimes.

I would have liked to catch few fish, especially since they were all bass. But I could not take a risk of finding 10 dudes in a spot the next day. Wife thinks I am crazy but she admits I am right too.

Sometimes there is thin line between crazy and sane. For those of you that are new, you’ll think this is grossly unfair. But give it few years and you’ll undersrtand

11 comments on “Sometimes you have to know when to fold them

  1. jimmy z

    What are ya gonna do. I had a guy ask me last weekend if he could fish next to me at a spot. I was catching fish, he wasn’t, even after he moved where I was. We all do as we feel we have to do.
    I like fishing alone. Not because I am a loner, but I clear my head, maybe talk to the Lord a little bit, but it’s my time for myself more or less. Fishing to me is not a social event.

  2. Steve Tag

    reminds me of 2 nights ago, small bass on every other cast, and a guy pulls up, (I’m on a small bridge) rolls down his window, and asks “catching anything?”. As he pulls away my wife asks “why’d you lie to him?” Even after 28 years on Nantucket and now the cape, old long island habits, and lessons learned, live on.

  3. Christian Grundel

    There are definitely spots I hold near and dear, and fish dumb at if somebody is too close. I”d sooner admit to committing murder than catching a bass at them, and I always make sure to clip on the wrong lure when walking out in case I meet somebody who starts asking questions. I know it’s paranoid, but RI is too small of a state.

  4. frank gissi

    so true, good thinking Z… seen it happen first hand this year to a great spot went back fri evening 26 cars in the lot all fishing my spot. best of all two or three guys out of the 30 were bait fishing and completely shut down the plug bite. even though bait guys were getting very good fish by midnight everyone was gone and then the plug bite started back. Z i dont know if you read these comments but if you do can you tell me why sometimes chunkers kill the plug bite or if you ever experienced this in your area? thanks

    1. zhromin Post author

      why ? I have no idea but I do know that a guy next to you throwing rigged eels can kill the bite for a plug guy ?

  5. Ron Mattson Sr

    It’s the same down south with bait and artificial fishermen in close proximity. The shrimp people will stop your artificial bite almost every time. When the fishing lodges tell you they they have 20 boats going out everyday,watch out. If they have some fishing bait and they hear your guide saying you are into them,you will be finished when they show!

  6. Lee Solomon

    Pretty much the same here on the west coast. We had a super early am bite from like 4 am-5:30 the last few days. Mostly all small fishon light tackle but very fun for me and the kid. Bait guys show up just as the bite is dying So we bail without making more casts so we don’t catch anymore. Been the same for about 5 days and still no one fishing in our spot so far. When walking out guy pulls up in truck and says how did you guys do. Without even flinching my buddy sats it was dead. Not even a bite!

  7. J Audet

    This is a great post.
    Many could learn from it. There’s more to surf fishing than a tight line.
    And you inspired me. The other night I showed up at one of my spots to find- surprisingly- someone standing on the best rock. No problem, I crept in and slipped onto a rock a bit down from him. But as I started to fish, I realized the dude didn’t know what he was doing, and I don’t think he knew that he was working the best spit of water. But, he saw me and started waving and trying to yell to me “HEY, CATCH ANYTHING!?!”. I ignored him, pretended I didn’t hear. As I was casting, I started to think: it’s perfect out. It’s going to go off. And suddenly I remembered this article; and I thought…I really hope it doesn’t! So, I decided to change my leader, although it didn’t need to be, and really took my time- like 20 minutes take my time (I could have changed it 10 times). By the time I had finished, the guy had gotten bored I think, and started to pack up. I pretended to do the same. And when he was out of sight, I just went right back. Didn’t catch anything…but lost an absolute monster. What if I had landed that when he was there? You can never be too careful.


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