Sometimes you need a little luck

 The other  night, I  thought I had perfect conditions…and I did.

What I didn’t expect (again) was for my incompetence to rear its ugly head (again).I arrived at the inlet jetty only to find out that I left my surf belt hanging in the garage. On it were new pliers I am testing, Boga grip, hook remover and of course, my camera. Oh, what the heck, I said to myself, I am not going back home now. I grabbed a pair of Manley pliers I had in my truck, stuck them in my waders, and got onto the jetty. For you that been asking me about what exactly my next book will be about, you are just about to get a preview. Working title “If a incompetent googan like me can catch fish, so can you”…I should have no lack of stories to write….

I got to tell you, being without a belt felt like standing on the jetty in my underwear, very naked. Not a pretty sight. Conditions were perfect, new moon, first of outgoing, clean water, light wind and no one around. I wanted to throw rigged eels and these were perfect conditions. The last time I rigged an eel however was either in September or June Cuttyhunk trip, don’t remember any more, and they been in my freezer in the zip lock bag ever since. Now, I know what most of my lures are doing when I am retrieving them but with rigged eels it can be a hit and miss. I try to test swim an eel around my feet to see the motion before I cast it to see if its swimming correctly. Unfortunately ,this is easier said than done on a jetty. So I spent an hour or two casting rigged eels, bucktails, tsunami shads, bottle darters, darters, ri popper pike, lordship A40 and Hogy’s doublewide rubba for nothing. Then I figured out why I was all alone. This place sucked in the spring, it sucked last year, it sucked in the summertime and it still sucks!

Defeated, I returned to my car but instead of taking my gear off I decided to stop by a back bay spot. Going “upfront” wasn’t the option without a belt, no need to come home with no fish and wet crotch. I pulled into the weeds along the parkway and hid my Struck in the weeds so the cops can’t see it when they pass by. I have to say that state troopers have been very nice lately but if you leave your truck alongside of the road it might be too tempting for them not to give you a ticket.

I grabbed my rod and my bag, still feeling weird without my belt and got on the marshes that extended from the bridge deep into the bay. The fact that I found two guys in my spot was annoying enough, but even more annoying was that I couldn’t do what I came here to do in the first place, test the rigged eel. The water was flat calm and mosquitoes were in force. I wanted to swim test the eel with my light on so next time I grab it from my freezer I know it’s a good specimen. But the two dudes that were fishing there wouldn’t appreciate my lighting up the shallow water they were fishing in. Oh well……

I gave them plenty of room and started to cast a rigged eel. This place is usually loaded with bait,  herring, bunker or spearing this time of the year on the outgoing current. Not tonight. The only thing that made any noise was our offering when they landed in the drink and mosquitoes buzzing around my ears. After about dozen casts my rigged eel was stopped dead in its tracks. Unsuccessfully I tried to lower my rod tip to the water after setting the hook in hopes that the dudes next to me would not notice I was hooked up. The fish, all twenty something pounds of it decided that it wanted to trash on the surface and put on a show. @#$^& great! You can only imagine  how loudly this sounded in the still of a calm back bay waters. It was like someone threw a grenade in the water.

The moral of the story…you don’t have to be a “pro” , it’s ok to forget your fancy belt with Van Staal pliers, a bag and even waders, all of which I have done over the years. In fact, the best night I ever had chunking with bunker was a night I forgot waders and had to release multiple 40lb plus fish in jeans and sneakers. It’s ok if you are not sure if the eel you rigged is working a 100% correct. Fish will tell you one way or another. If everyone is hooking up and you are not, well, there might be something wrong with your offering.

But the only way to find this out is to go fishing. Because you can’t do this from your couch. If you are not fishing now, then when?

You’ll have a whole winter to lay on the couch, watch the Kardashians (just admit it already) and eat Bon-Bon’s.

Remember, if I can catch fish then you should have no problems.


You know what is the worst thing about forgetting your wader belt at home? No, it’s not a chance of ending up with wet paints or even falling in the water. It’s something that can potentially be even more lethal than that. What is it, you ask?

I almost fainted on the the jetty when my flatulence has risen to my nostrils,. The good thing about that was that there were hundreds of dead mosquitoes laying around me that were not so lucky. Survival of the fittest i guess..dont forget your belt!!

that was my “feel good” story

but next night was a heartbreaker…

Coming up…..follow up to this story of what happened next nigh and how the fish kicked my butt…
Giveaway from Precision Pak, yes, thanks to the folks at Precision pack you will have a chance to win this Ocean Shield bag this weekend
We got a giveaway coming up from Eebbpoint Surfcasting, a custom made Bucktail pouch that will be made for you in the color you desire.
Princeton Tec is sending over some great LED lights, we got lures from Salty, Point Jude, T-hex, Choopy, Big Fish, Tsunami, SeaGuar and more stuff that I cant remember right now…we might even give away a sick pair of saltwater pliers and sheath.
Have a nice weekend and go catch them them up

16 comments on “Sometimes you need a little luck

  1. CTMatt

    Survival of the fittest…LOL!

    Forgetting my gloves while using tiny braid certainly sucks or forgetting my boots at home on a drying rack pretty much had me dead on the water.

    I have left my bag in a parking lot…got all the way to my bed, scrambled to get my clothes back on and returned to thankfully see it there…in my pajamas. It happens!

  2. Mark M

    Funny story, I got outfished the other night by a friend who forgot his waders and fished in his jeeans and workboots for 4 hours. I was embarrassed to tell him my waders had a small leak and were soaking my pants all night making it alittle chilly for a change. I was just thinking to myself how cold my buddy must have felt.

  3. Lou

    I always leave an extra belt in the truck with a pair of brownings on it. Made it all the way to Montauk 2 weeks ago before I realized mine was in the garage… Still felt finny without my regular belt….

  4. Adam

    Great read. On my first trip to the mecca I had forgotten my OTB boots on the NOFO. I wore a wetsuit & old school addidas hard shells with korkers. It was October 10th. the best day I ever had. I never swam in adidas before & I’ll never forget.

  5. Richard Jacoby

    I never make mistakes like that, if anything, I am over geared, but then I don,t catch any fish either. Is’t it amazing how accurate Murphy’s law is, the one time you need it you don,t have it. But isn,t it amazing how we adapt to the situation, and through Herculeon efforts have a great experience, its as if someone up there just wants to remind us our imperfections are His perfections. Cast-on ! Rich

  6. firstlight

    The belt along with korkers are essential to the sport. Last November a buddy and I were fishing a from a large rock easily accesible with the tide down, but because we were into fish in the big water in front of us, we neglected to note how quickly the tide rose around that rock. Alarmed, I tried to leap across between waves – unsuccessfully; I was washed only about 10 feet and crawled out of the water none the worse for wear. The waders, dry top, and secure belt saved the day.
    This comes to mind today only because a friend reported seeing a little guy wearing street clothes and a heavy coat carrying a bucket and two rods stranded on that same rock at high tide this morning. He wasn’t in danger, but it appeared he might have to spend the tide there despite his apparent desire to leave.

  7. Karl

    If you write that next book I’m sure many of us can provide additional stories, we just came back steelheading in BC (last night) and of course the morning he forgets his tackle bag, gloves and camera – luckily he could borrow stuff from me – naturally that’s the day he catches the most fish and biggest fish of the week and I didn’t have a camera either

  8. Finaddict

    Often when we are not “ready” and in our “prime” for fishing, when we find some of our most fun and memorable fishing experiences. Thanks for the story Z.

  9. stevej

    wading belt is nothing… i had my plug bag loaded with everything i wanted to fish one night out in montauk. as i was loading my truck, my girlfriend called.. i closed up and made the 2+hour drive to mtk (at around 11pm at night). when i arrived, got my waders on, drytop on, belt on, the came time for my bag… “where the @#$5 is my bag?!” i made the drive to mtk to fish until daybreak, but didnt have a plug to fish with 🙁 when i arrived home around 4am after not fishing, my bag was laying in the middle of my driveway.

  10. Jim Hill

    Us Humans are often forgetful What where you talking about????
    LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!

    I’d forget my head if it wasn’t attached to my shoulders!

    Good One Z!!

  11. Irish

    harvest moon two years ago just a scouting trip. Find fish five fish in five casts with no end in sight. but i have no light and no pliers and the 1/0 bomber vmc goes into the finger and my night was over, couldnt push it through and couldnt pull it out, hospital and only five fish.


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