You shoulda been there today....
We spent a lot of time catching bait this morning, had about 4 dozen big croakers. Looked around under terrible conditions, set up in a couple of "new" spots, bent the heck out of an anchor.....can you fix that one for me Capt. Ray?
So I went to my standby spot in the inlet, there were 5 other boats there, within a couple hundred yards, enough for me to have a kiniption and fall into the floor of the boat like a freshly gaffed cobia if I were fishing around that many people on the Pamlico, but things are a little different here.
My expectations are not high, but we're going to give it a shot and make this half day with probably a big sting ray or a shark. I get my 3rd line out and the first one bounces and starts to bow over. I get it, set the hook and a nice 40 pound cobia skies out of the water. This is getting everyone's attention around us, I haven't been there 5 minutes and we got 'em on. Bring him around so that everyone can see us gaff it and put her in the box. Cool. Already exceeded my own expectations. Let's get 'em back out, maybe we'll get lucky and get another bite before heading in.
Just get the last line out and the stern line goes off, comes to the top and wow, it's a big cobia. Now everyone is watching us.....10 minutes, anchored up in the middle of these boats that have been fishing for God knows how long and we're hooked up for the second time.....but wait, this one has got another cobia with it. Get the bucktail. Refusal. Cast the croaker at him......heck he's right there, let's stick the big one and worry about the little one later.
Gotcha. Nope. The first time I stuck this pig, I got him right on top of the head, lifting halfway in the boat, she jumps off the gaff, no problem, she's still attached to the line. Second time with the gaff, she comes in the boat. nice 50 pounder, hook out, settled down, oh, and got 'em on, we're hooked up with the little guy, maybe a keeper. Let's put this big boy out of the way and in the box.........big mistake.
With the lack luster fishing, I haven't been bringing the big cooler and have been putting them in the fish box on the transom. No problems....until today. Keep in mind that EVERYONE now has all eyes on us. Third fish hooked up and second one going in the box. I've got it balled up, head in one hand and tail curved around in a horseshoe and plenty of adrenaline, I can hold her. Hatch open and heading to the dark, when all that coiled up tension came unglued, she went in the box, then opened the hatch on the other side and out she launches, briefly landing on the transom, with me diving over the gunnell, fish in the water and me right behind her, inches from getting a grip on her tail.......GONE. The only thing that kept me from going in behind her was the lip of my white boots caught on the open fish box door.
Land the 3rd one, short. Get everything back out, disgusted and within 10 minutes we've got a very small amount of redemption on the line again with #4. A keeper, but no bruiser.
You shoulda been there with a video camera, that was a good 30 minutes of fishing......