Ditchbag

How about the best fishing story of your life

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49 mins ago, oldgoat said:

Ok I new Frank V.. We were kids that fished together before the family moved to the Cape.

About thirty plus years later I get a call from Frank that he is coming down to visit alone but with a fourteen ft. tin boat on the roof of his fifty something sedan.

He left his wife and seven kids at home.

I told him that I had a boat and next door neighbor had a boat, but frank just got this boat and wanted to try it out.

The weather was not nice so we fished to the west side of Monomy in Nantucket sound.

Since the weather was easterly my fisher neighbor Charlie Melby joined us and we would fish tight to the beach and drift away, go back to the beach

During one of the drifts a small plane flew over back and fourth finally landing in front of Joe Manson's camp.  Out goes the anchor and out comes a gorgeous babe and a guy

Oh ya it was a pontoon plane.

 

After a few drifts we looked up and saw the plane a bout fifteen hundred ft. off shore

and since we were in a low tin boat we could not see if anyone was in the plane.

So like little school kids laughing we approached the plane,pulld up the five feet of anchor line and started towing our giant catch heading for the fish pier.

Just then the piolet comes out of the camp and starts walking into the water.

 As we approach the guy Frank wearing his YELLOWBIRD cap asks the guy were he got his pilots license?

Frank worked at Logan for yellowbird before it was bought out by Delta.

Well needless to say we laughed are asses off heading home with the largest catch I ever caught.

Yup we released it to fly another day.

   End of the largest catch story.

 

 

Now that a nice story my friend

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One of my better stories was in another time in my life when beach fishing was a happening thing , especially for Cod and early bass.

I would walk the shore line casting out into the obis and hoping to latch onto a fish. One evening as I was wading the surf up to my waist I see some one swimming out from the beach. I paid no attention and kept on fishing. Well I hear a voice behind me and it is a young lady whom ask if I would teach her how to cast and fish. I exclaimed of course I would . I asked her to stand up next to me so that I could instruct her on how to hold the rod . She swims a short distance from me and stands up in the water . Not once stitch of clothes did she have on. I was sort of shocked as she came real close and wanted to have some instructions on how to cast. Well after awhile I asked her why she did not have any clothes on and she tells me that clothes inhibit her and she did not feel free. That friends had brought her down for a party and that she left them after taking of her clothes . She did have a few drinks so she tells me , but she was very sober, considering that the water was cold still. Well I told her that I was going to another beach before it got real dark and she tells me that she wanted to go along . Since she had no clothes I let her use my sweatshirt , we went over to the other beach and it was time to head home. Iasked her where she lived[in down town Boston] Were in Scituate at the time] I told her I would drive her home and thus began the trip to Boston. She fell asleep in my lap and once I got her where she lived , she jumped out and ran into her apartment. I do not think I caught any fish that night, but it was interesting time to say the least.

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OK, you asked for it.  This is on the long side, it ran as a article in On The Water magazine back in the late '90's.  I wish I could quickly put my hands on the photos that ran with the article, but they are filed away somewhere.

 

     NIGHT COMBAT SURF FISHING 

 

     Now that certainly is a strange phrase, but it pretty much describes one of my strangest fishing experiences.

 

     In the mid 1960’s my teenage fishing years were put on hold by a stint in the U.S. Army. At age 19, I found myself in Viet Nam, on the shores of Cam Ranh Bay. While most locations in ‘Nam were truly menacing, Cam Ranh was a huge military staging area, about as safe and secure as Fort Dix, New Jersey. It was also one of the world’s finest undeveloped deep water harbors, and our unit was located right on the beach.

 

     After about a month of staring wistfully at the water, I was surprised to find a fishing rod while moving unit supplies out of a sea-land container. It was a cheap, fresh water rod with a no-name reel, made in Taiwan. When I asked the First Sergeant about it, he said that it was part of the unit’s recreational equipment, but if I wanted it, he would be glad to sell it to me. I wasn't bothered by his larcenous grin as I forked over ten bucks. Hey, that rod and reel would provide me with an escape from all things military during my off duty hours.

 

     In my next letter home, I asked my father to send me a selection of tackle and a bulk spool of 12 pound test line. When my care-package arrived, I drew quizzical stares from my platoon buddies as I spooled on the new line.

 

    My first attempts at fishing the beach proved pretty disappointing. The shallow underwater shelf that ringed the shore seemed pretty barren, and I couldn’t reach the deep blue drop off. When I tried it at night, I found that I could catch loads of small 2 and 3 foot sharks if I used pieces of raw meat as bait. The sharks caused quite a sensation in the unit, and put an end to any night swimming. They were great sport, but proved to be too costly in terms of tackle and line. It took so long to land them that their abrasive skin would more often than not rasp through the line.

 

     Looking a half mile down the beach, across the compounds of two neighboring units, I noticed that the beach gave way to a boulder strewn point, which jutted right up close to the deep water drop off. It sort of reminded me of Point Judith, R.I. only with palm trees and eroded, weirdly shaped limestone boulders.

 

     I headed down there on my next off-duty Sunday afternoon. Hopping across the rocks on my way to the point, I was excited by the marine life that I could see close to shore, and noticed a more active current here. Casting from the point, I could reach the edge of the deep blue water drop off.

 

     The fishing exceeded anything that I could have imagined; I caught snappers, groupers, many wrasse-like fish, toothy fish that were shaped like mackerel and best of all, some type of jacks. The jacks were amazing; they repeatedly hit my spoons and plugs with bluefish-like pugnacious attacks until they happily hooked themselves. About once every half hour, in the crystal clear water I would watch a streaking flash smash my lure. Then, there would be a blistering run and the would smoke line off until the reel’s useless drag would seize up. All I could do was stand there in awe as another lure disappeared over the edge of the deep blue abyss.

 

     The next three or four Sunday afternoons were fishing at it’s best, but then I began to wonder, what it would be like to try it at night? My New England night surf fishing roots were beginning to surface. If it was that good in broad daylight, imagine what would prowl that water after dark. Now, we were supposed to remain in our compound at night but this was Cam Ranh, and nothing ever happened here, right?

 

     The next Sunday evening I strolled down the beach in the rosy twilight, making it out to the point just as darkness fell. I sat for a while and watched the lights from the ships and the base glitter on the water. It was so calm and peaceful it was very hard to imagine the carnage that was going on elsewhere in country.

 

     When I started casting, the tidal current was flowing pretty good from right to left. I would cast my plug up-current and let it swing down, swimming and throbbing. Soon I had a savage hit, and was instantly cut off by some toothy predator. After loosing a few more lures, I was a little reluctant tying on my very last lure; it was a blue Creek Chub pikie, on which I had replaced the three trebles with two single 2/0 hooks. It was a poor version of the Tarpon Pikie lure.

 

     After about a dozen casts I heard a very audible slurp and my lure stopped as if it had snagged a stone wall. There was a formidable weight on the end of my line, but little movement. Whatever I had was holding position in the current and was either unaware or unfazed that it was hooked. I tugged a few times and set up on the fish and that started things in motion. The mystery fish angled away slowly down-current, towards deeper water. When my line was dangerously down to a few yards left on the spool, the fish changed direction and came back up-current, slowly angling back closer, allowing me to regain my line. When the fish was about 25 feet away I tried to play it; once again it headed back down-current and we did this same circular dance 3 or 4 times.

 

     Because of the lack of backbone in my gear, I never had any control over that powerful fish, I was only along for the ride. While I speculated on what I had, it reminded me of the native water buffaloes: Powerful, dim witted, slow to anger, but once you ticked them off......watch out!

 

     I resigned myself to settling in for a long haul. I had to see what was on the end of my line and I had no intention of losing my last lure.

 

     My concentration was soon shattered by the crump-crump-crump of explosions in the distance. A few minutes later I heard the thumping of our mortar tubes launching out flare rounds. Instantly the sky was illuminated by flares swinging down on their parachutes. In the weird half light I could see much activity happening back towards my company area as they reacted to the alert.

 

     Our mortar battery kept firing flares and it took me a moment to realize that I was standing completely exposed and unprotected out on that rocky point. I hit the deck and started to crawl out of there. After a few yards I was yanked around by my rod; I had forgotten about my buffalo-fish. This was not good.....I was a half mile away from where I was supposed to be, something potentially dangerous was in the wind, and I had the fish of a lifetime on. While I lay there, my options seemed to be circling the drain in ever tighter circles. I didn’t want to lose that fish, but I did want to be around to see tomorrow.

 

     The matter was soon settled as my mystery fish bolted off to deep water taking all of my line with it. Apparently it didn’t care for the weird, unscheduled “daylight” any more than I did.

 

     Moving off the rocky point proved difficult because of the conflicting, flickering shadows caused by the flares; As they swung downwards on their ‘chutes they made the boulders appear to jump and roll. Finally I made it to the beach. Since I didn’t hear any small arms fire I was pretty sure that whatever triggered this event wasn’t happening in our immediate area.

 

     Quick-timing it across the beach towards my compound I kept up a steady stream of shouting, letting everyone know that I was coming in. I knew that our rear-echelon troopers would be spooked and hunkered down behind the sandbag walls with live ammo; That thought gave me a chill that felt like the cold feet of mice running down my spine.

 

     As I vaulted over a bunker into our compound I was followed by gales of laughter and ball busting from my enlisted buddies. But, what nearly burned off both of my ears was the flaming barrage of verbal abuse, the likes of which can only be delivered by career sergeants. I suppose their spit flying wrath was justified; I was outside of my duty area, and my battle gear consisted of a pair of jungle boots, cut-off shorts, a web belt with one ammo pouch/plug bag (now empty) and a cheap fishing rod which was totally unsuitable for dealing with the local Viet Cong or the local fish for that matter.

 

     A few days after the furor died down I began to get itchy as I gazed out at the rocky point. I wondered if I dare send for another shipment of tackle, and maybe one of my better Penn reels.

 

    The matter became a moot point when my unit got it’s marching orders; We would be moving deep into the interior of the country. Clearly, my South China Sea Surf Fishing party was over.

 

     After our camp was struck, and the trucks loaded for the long convoy out, I spooled the reel with the last of my line, and hung that rod and reel in the rafters of our now vacated hootch. I put it there as sort of a “Kilroy was here” statement, that I had been here and fished first. It was also an open invitation to any soldier-fisherman, lonely for his home waters, to find a little solace in some war zone surf fishing.

 

Alan Landry 

 
Edited by clambellies

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A few years ago a friend of mine introduced me to fishing Monomoy and its become my favorite place to fish.  We go out there in small crews on his 19' center console.

 

My eldest daughter was leaving for college last August.  When my kids were little we used to go freshwater fishing quite a bit but as they grew older and our lives filled up, fishing with dad took a back seat.  

 

My daughter was home from camp for just a couple days, so I called my friend Jerry and we made arrangements to take her out with us.

 

It was a beautiful day, with barely a cloud in the sky and just enough of a breeze, and we hit the tide just right.  I hooked up on a savage sandeel while showing my daughter how to jig in the rip, and shortly after she hooked into her second striper ever since she was 9 years old .   This one was much bigger though, and her giggles as she fought it to the boat were like a bell ringing 8n my heart.

 

A short while later, Jerry hooks into one while driving the boat and says, "help! Help!"  I turned to take wheel or the rod and he mutters.. "no..her!" So i take the wheel and he hands the rod to my daughter.  Now jerry fishes "ultralight" style so there was no horsing in that fish for her... but the giggles and "whooops"  were much bigger.

 

We caught 8 or 10 fish altogether that day and had a nice cruise back to the harbor.  The fish werent the biggest Ive ever caught or the most, but  Ill remember that day forever.

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48 mins ago, clambellies said:

OK, you asked for it.  

 

That is an awesome story!!!

While im at it... thank you for your service to our country.

Edited by pogie_boy

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My grandson at the age of 7 or 8 years old hooked a big Hudson River Sturgeon .

 

He said to me that it was pulling the boat down river.

 

I mentioned the movie "Jaw's" to him and at that moment................He let go of the rod!

 

FT

 

 

Edited by Fishin Technician

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About 5 years ago, I had some vacation time I had to use up before I lost it, so I planned a couple of days to fish around the new moon of June. I decided my first day would be spent at the Canal, before I continued South to Gansett and Newport for the remainder. I had heard the Canal was lit up, so I arrived at my spot around 4 am and tried to cash in on the first light bite that was going to coincide with a favorable East running tide.

I was amazed to find the place empty, and hurried to get my waders on, as I could hear the fish breaking in the darkness. My adrenaline was pumping as my second cast produced a mid thirty fish on my Left Hook pencil. I continued to pound the fish over the next hour with quality fish in the high teens to mid twenties being the average. 

At first light, the headlights started pouring in, and soon there was 10-12 people within close proximity to me. Gotta love the Canal. The blowups started getting bigger as the larger fish were crushing mackerel just short of mid way across. Everyone was hooking up with quality fish.

It became critical to place your cast and walk you plug carefully as to not get tangled with other casts due to the running tide picking up speed. There were the usual bone heads that were tangling up, due to trying to go “against the grain” of the others, who were working together with similar plugs. I was content to be next to a couple of Canal regulars, and we fished with out incident, and enjoyed shooting the bull while sticking some fish.

On one particular cast, my plug landed and I quickly flipped the bail, and started working my plug very quickly, as that seemed to be the way the fish wanted it. The guy to my left casted immediately behind me, not more than 10 feet behind my plug. He apologized for crowding me, and I said not to worry about it and continued to watch my plug thrash and splash and catch the attention of a big striper, that began to build a huge wake behind my plug. My heart rate jumped as the first strike was a huge splash, but a miss. I’ve learned to master controlling my first instinct to haul back and set the hook, only to rip the plug away from the fish. The second strike was just as viscous, only this time my plug flew three feet out of the water, but another miss. I picked up the slack line and instantly began thrashing the pencil back to a rhythmic cadence. I noticed the guy to my left’s plug was now coming in behind mine by no more than 10 feet. Another quick blow up sent my plug even further in the air this time, and I had to stop my body from reacting to hauling back and crossing its eyes. You guys know that feeling. I was out of my mind as I watched my plug was now side by side with my “partner’s”. My heart sank as the huge wake suddenly changed directions and began following his plug! It was literally seconds before an explosion as the likes of never seen before, erupted on his plug, and his drag began to sing! I looked at him as he smiled, and shrugged his shoulders, and tried in his best voice to convince me that he was sorry and that it was my fish. I said are you f’n kidding me?!! He fought the fish for over 5 mins, before the behemoth bass slid at his feet. I wanted to cry as he put a tape on it, and it measured 55”, and his Boga registered 52.2 #’s. I left shortly thereafter as the bite died off, but took a look in my rear view mirror as I drove out at a crowd that had formed around him taking pictures and congratulating him. That one hurt for  weeks to come, and I don’t think an outing goes by that I don’t think about that fish. 

Insert tear and sniffle here...

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9 hours ago, clambellies said:

OK, you asked for it.  This is on the long side, it ran as a article in On The Water magazine back in the late '90's.  I wish I could quickly put my hands on the photos that ran with the article, but they are filed away somewhere.

 

     NIGHT COMBAT SURF FISHING 

 

     Now that certainly is a strange phrase, but it pretty much describes one of my strangest fishing experiences.

 

     In the mid 1960’s my teenage fishing years were put on hold by a stint in the U.S. Army. At age 19, I found myself in Viet Nam, on the shores of Cam Ranh Bay. While most locations in ‘Nam were truly menacing, Cam Ranh was a huge military staging area, about as safe and secure as Fort Dix, New Jersey. It was also one of the world’s finest undeveloped deep water harbors, and our unit was located right on the beach.

 

     After about a month of staring wistfully at the water, I was surprised to find a fishing rod while moving unit supplies out of a sea-land container. It was a cheap, fresh water rod with a no-name reel, made in Taiwan. When I asked the First Sergeant about it, he said that it was part of the unit’s recreational equipment, but if I wanted it, he would be glad to sell it to me. I wasn't bothered by his larcenous grin as I forked over ten bucks. Hey, that rod and reel would provide me with an escape from all things military during my off duty hours.

 

     In my next letter home, I asked my father to send me a selection of tackle and a bulk spool of 12 pound test line. When my care-package arrived, I drew quizzical stares from my platoon buddies as I spooled on the new line.

 

    My first attempts at fishing the beach proved pretty disappointing. The shallow underwater shelf that ringed the shore seemed pretty barren, and I couldn’t reach the deep blue drop off. When I tried it at night, I found that I could catch loads of small 2 and 3 foot sharks if I used pieces of raw meat as bait. The sharks caused quite a sensation in the unit, and put an end to any night swimming. They were great sport, but proved to be too costly in terms of tackle and line. It took so long to land them that their abrasive skin would more often than not rasp through the line.

 

     Looking a half mile down the beach, across the compounds of two neighboring units, I noticed that the beach gave way to a boulder strewn point, which jutted right up close to the deep water drop off. It sort of reminded me of Point Judith, R.I. only with palm trees and eroded, weirdly shaped limestone boulders.

 

     I headed down there on my next off-duty Sunday afternoon. Hopping across the rocks on my way to the point, I was excited by the marine life that I could see close to shore, and noticed a more active current here. Casting from the point, I could reach the edge of the deep blue water drop off.

 

     The fishing exceeded anything that I could have imagined; I caught snappers, groupers, many wrasse-like fish, toothy fish that were shaped like mackerel and best of all, some type of jacks. The jacks were amazing; they repeatedly hit my spoons and plugs with bluefish-like pugnacious attacks until they happily hooked themselves. About once every half hour, in the crystal clear water I would watch a streaking flash smash my lure. Then, there would be a blistering run and the would smoke line off until the reel’s useless drag would seize up. All I could do was stand there in awe as another lure disappeared over the edge of the deep blue abyss.

 

     The next three or four Sunday afternoons were fishing at it’s best, but then I began to wonder, what it would be like to try it at night? My New England night surf fishing roots were beginning to surface. If it was that good in broad daylight, imagine what would prowl that water after dark. Now, we were supposed to remain in our compound at night but this was Cam Ranh, and nothing ever happened here, right?

 

     The next Sunday evening I strolled down the beach in the rosy twilight, making it out to the point just as darkness fell. I sat for a while and watched the lights from the ships and the base glitter on the water. It was so calm and peaceful it was very hard to imagine the carnage that was going on elsewhere in country.

 

     When I started casting, the tidal current was flowing pretty good from right to left. I would cast my plug up-current and let it swing down, swimming and throbbing. Soon I had a savage hit, and was instantly cut off by some toothy predator. After loosing a few more lures, I was a little reluctant tying on my very last lure; it was a blue Creek Chub pikie, on which I had replaced the three trebles with two single 2/0 hooks. It was a poor version of the Tarpon Pikie lure.

 

     After about a dozen casts I heard a very audible slurp and my lure stopped as if it had snagged a stone wall. There was a formidable weight on the end of my line, but little movement. Whatever I had was holding position in the current and was either unaware or unfazed that it was hooked. I tugged a few times and set up on the fish and that started things in motion. The mystery fish angled away slowly down-current, towards deeper water. When my line was dangerously down to a few yards left on the spool, the fish changed direction and came back up-current, slowly angling back closer, allowing me to regain my line. When the fish was about 25 feet away I tried to play it; once again it headed back down-current and we did this same circular dance 3 or 4 times.

 

     Because of the lack of backbone in my gear, I never had any control over that powerful fish, I was only along for the ride. While I speculated on what I had, it reminded me of the native water buffaloes: Powerful, dim witted, slow to anger, but once you ticked them off......watch out!

 

     I resigned myself to settling in for a long haul. I had to see what was on the end of my line and I had no intention of losing my last lure.

 

     My concentration was soon shattered by the crump-crump-crump of explosions in the distance. A few minutes later I heard the thumping of our mortar tubes launching out flare rounds. Instantly the sky was illuminated by flares swinging down on their parachutes. In the weird half light I could see much activity happening back towards my company area as they reacted to the alert.

 

     Our mortar battery kept firing flares and it took me a moment to realize that I was standing completely exposed and unprotected out on that rocky point. I hit the deck and started to crawl out of there. After a few yards I was yanked around by my rod; I had forgotten about my buffalo-fish. This was not good.....I was a half mile away from where I was supposed to be, something potentially dangerous was in the wind, and I had the fish of a lifetime on. While I lay there, my options seemed to be circling the drain in ever tighter circles. I didn’t want to lose that fish, but I did want to be around to see tomorrow.

 

     The matter was soon settled as my mystery fish bolted off to deep water taking all of my line with it. Apparently it didn’t care for the weird, unscheduled “daylight” any more than I did.

 

     Moving off the rocky point proved difficult because of the conflicting, flickering shadows caused by the flares; As they swung downwards on their ‘chutes they made the boulders appear to jump and roll. Finally I made it to the beach. Since I didn’t hear any small arms fire I was pretty sure that whatever triggered this event wasn’t happening in our immediate area.

 

     Quick-timing it across the beach towards my compound I kept up a steady stream of shouting, letting everyone know that I was coming in. I knew that our rear-echelon troopers would be spooked and hunkered down behind the sandbag walls with live ammo; That thought gave me a chill that felt like the cold feet of mice running down my spine.

 

     As I vaulted over a bunker into our compound I was followed by gales of laughter and ball busting from my enlisted buddies. But, what nearly burned off both of my ears was the flaming barrage of verbal abuse, the likes of which can only be delivered by career sergeants. I suppose their spit flying wrath was justified; I was outside of my duty area, and my battle gear consisted of a pair of jungle boots, cut-off shorts, a web belt with one ammo pouch/plug bag (now empty) and a cheap fishing rod which was totally unsuitable for dealing with the local Viet Cong or the local fish for that matter.

 

     A few days after the furor died down I began to get itchy as I gazed out at the rocky point. I wondered if I dare send for another shipment of tackle, and maybe one of my better Penn reels.

 

    The matter became a moot point when my unit got it’s marching orders; We would be moving deep into the interior of the country. Clearly, my South China Sea Surf Fishing party was over.

 

     After our camp was struck, and the trucks loaded for the long convoy out, I spooled the reel with the last of my line, and hung that rod and reel in the rafters of our now vacated hootch. I put it there as sort of a “Kilroy was here” statement, that I had been here and fished first. It was also an open invitation to any soldier-fisherman, lonely for his home waters, to find a little solace in some war zone surf fishing.

 

Alan Landry 

 

Alan first off welcome home and if you have not yet been pined with  commemoration Vietnam Pin let me know and i will try and get one to you. Great story The things we do when we want to fish is sort of amazing and especially in trying to bring a little home with you, as you served.

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11 hours ago, clambellies said:

OK, you asked for it.  This is on the long side, it ran as a article in On The Water magazine back in the late '90's.  I wish I could quickly put my hands on the photos that ran with the article, but they are filed away somewhere.

 

     NIGHT COMBAT SURF FISHING 

 

     Now that certainly is a strange phrase, but it pretty much describes one of my strangest fishing experiences.

 

     In the mid 1960’s my teenage fishing years were put on hold by a stint in the U.S. Army. At age 19, I found myself in Viet Nam, on the shores of Cam Ranh Bay. While most locations in ‘Nam were truly menacing, Cam Ranh was a huge military staging area, about as safe and secure as Fort Dix, New Jersey. It was also one of the world’s finest undeveloped deep water harbors, and our unit was located right on the beach.

 

     After about a month of staring wistfully at the water, I was surprised to find a fishing rod while moving unit supplies out of a sea-land container. It was a cheap, fresh water rod with a no-name reel, made in Taiwan. When I asked the First Sergeant about it, he said that it was part of the unit’s recreational equipment, but if I wanted it, he would be glad to sell it to me. I wasn't bothered by his larcenous grin as I forked over ten bucks. Hey, that rod and reel would provide me with an escape from all things military during my off duty hours.

 

     In my next letter home, I asked my father to send me a selection of tackle and a bulk spool of 12 pound test line. When my care-package arrived, I drew quizzical stares from my platoon buddies as I spooled on the new line.

 

    My first attempts at fishing the beach proved pretty disappointing. The shallow underwater shelf that ringed the shore seemed pretty barren, and I couldn’t reach the deep blue drop off. When I tried it at night, I found that I could catch loads of small 2 and 3 foot sharks if I used pieces of raw meat as bait. The sharks caused quite a sensation in the unit, and put an end to any night swimming. They were great sport, but proved to be too costly in terms of tackle and line. It took so long to land them that their abrasive skin would more often than not rasp through the line.

 

     Looking a half mile down the beach, across the compounds of two neighboring units, I noticed that the beach gave way to a boulder strewn point, which jutted right up close to the deep water drop off. It sort of reminded me of Point Judith, R.I. only with palm trees and eroded, weirdly shaped limestone boulders.

 

     I headed down there on my next off-duty Sunday afternoon. Hopping across the rocks on my way to the point, I was excited by the marine life that I could see close to shore, and noticed a more active current here. Casting from the point, I could reach the edge of the deep blue water drop off.

 

     The fishing exceeded anything that I could have imagined; I caught snappers, groupers, many wrasse-like fish, toothy fish that were shaped like mackerel and best of all, some type of jacks. The jacks were amazing; they repeatedly hit my spoons and plugs with bluefish-like pugnacious attacks until they happily hooked themselves. About once every half hour, in the crystal clear water I would watch a streaking flash smash my lure. Then, there would be a blistering run and the would smoke line off until the reel’s useless drag would seize up. All I could do was stand there in awe as another lure disappeared over the edge of the deep blue abyss.

 

     The next three or four Sunday afternoons were fishing at it’s best, but then I began to wonder, what it would be like to try it at night? My New England night surf fishing roots were beginning to surface. If it was that good in broad daylight, imagine what would prowl that water after dark. Now, we were supposed to remain in our compound at night but this was Cam Ranh, and nothing ever happened here, right?

 

     The next Sunday evening I strolled down the beach in the rosy twilight, making it out to the point just as darkness fell. I sat for a while and watched the lights from the ships and the base glitter on the water. It was so calm and peaceful it was very hard to imagine the carnage that was going on elsewhere in country.

 

     When I started casting, the tidal current was flowing pretty good from right to left. I would cast my plug up-current and let it swing down, swimming and throbbing. Soon I had a savage hit, and was instantly cut off by some toothy predator. After loosing a few more lures, I was a little reluctant tying on my very last lure; it was a blue Creek Chub pikie, on which I had replaced the three trebles with two single 2/0 hooks. It was a poor version of the Tarpon Pikie lure.

 

     After about a dozen casts I heard a very audible slurp and my lure stopped as if it had snagged a stone wall. There was a formidable weight on the end of my line, but little movement. Whatever I had was holding position in the current and was either unaware or unfazed that it was hooked. I tugged a few times and set up on the fish and that started things in motion. The mystery fish angled away slowly down-current, towards deeper water. When my line was dangerously down to a few yards left on the spool, the fish changed direction and came back up-current, slowly angling back closer, allowing me to regain my line. When the fish was about 25 feet away I tried to play it; once again it headed back down-current and we did this same circular dance 3 or 4 times.

 

     Because of the lack of backbone in my gear, I never had any control over that powerful fish, I was only along for the ride. While I speculated on what I had, it reminded me of the native water buffaloes: Powerful, dim witted, slow to anger, but once you ticked them off......watch out!

 

     I resigned myself to settling in for a long haul. I had to see what was on the end of my line and I had no intention of losing my last lure.

 

     My concentration was soon shattered by the crump-crump-crump of explosions in the distance. A few minutes later I heard the thumping of our mortar tubes launching out flare rounds. Instantly the sky was illuminated by flares swinging down on their parachutes. In the weird half light I could see much activity happening back towards my company area as they reacted to the alert.

 

     Our mortar battery kept firing flares and it took me a moment to realize that I was standing completely exposed and unprotected out on that rocky point. I hit the deck and started to crawl out of there. After a few yards I was yanked around by my rod; I had forgotten about my buffalo-fish. This was not good.....I was a half mile away from where I was supposed to be, something potentially dangerous was in the wind, and I had the fish of a lifetime on. While I lay there, my options seemed to be circling the drain in ever tighter circles. I didn’t want to lose that fish, but I did want to be around to see tomorrow.

 

     The matter was soon settled as my mystery fish bolted off to deep water taking all of my line with it. Apparently it didn’t care for the weird, unscheduled “daylight” any more than I did.

 

     Moving off the rocky point proved difficult because of the conflicting, flickering shadows caused by the flares; As they swung downwards on their ‘chutes they made the boulders appear to jump and roll. Finally I made it to the beach. Since I didn’t hear any small arms fire I was pretty sure that whatever triggered this event wasn’t happening in our immediate area.

 

     Quick-timing it across the beach towards my compound I kept up a steady stream of shouting, letting everyone know that I was coming in. I knew that our rear-echelon troopers would be spooked and hunkered down behind the sandbag walls with live ammo; That thought gave me a chill that felt like the cold feet of mice running down my spine.

 

     As I vaulted over a bunker into our compound I was followed by gales of laughter and ball busting from my enlisted buddies. But, what nearly burned off both of my ears was the flaming barrage of verbal abuse, the likes of which can only be delivered by career sergeants. I suppose their spit flying wrath was justified; I was outside of my duty area, and my battle gear consisted of a pair of jungle boots, cut-off shorts, a web belt with one ammo pouch/plug bag (now empty) and a cheap fishing rod which was totally unsuitable for dealing with the local Viet Cong or the local fish for that matter.

 

     A few days after the furor died down I began to get itchy as I gazed out at the rocky point. I wondered if I dare send for another shipment of tackle, and maybe one of my better Penn reels.

 

    The matter became a moot point when my unit got it’s marching orders; We would be moving deep into the interior of the country. Clearly, my South China Sea Surf Fishing party was over.

 

     After our camp was struck, and the trucks loaded for the long convoy out, I spooled the reel with the last of my line, and hung that rod and reel in the rafters of our now vacated hootch. I put it there as sort of a “Kilroy was here” statement, that I had been here and fished first. It was also an open invitation to any soldier-fisherman, lonely for his home waters, to find a little solace in some war zone surf fishing.

 

Alan Landry 

 

Great story Alan, thanks for sharing!

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Eh, don’t really have a best storry, a few cool ones. Have had some nice snapper stolen by goliath grouper and giant bull sharks on the surface down in the keys, but that is relatively common down there. Also, grabbed a 5 gallon bucket that had a nice sized tripletail in it down there, which is also common apparently lol.

 

I snagged a southern stingray while drifting for fluke near Jones Inlet, managed to get it boatside with an outfit better suited for largemouth bass. Also, caught a friend’s SP minnow a few casts after he snapped his off.

Edited by C.Robin

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I started at age 2, 55 years ago.

I can't come up just one.

 

I mostly get my thrills through my 5 boys now, but I can't pick one there either. 

Instead, a visual medley. A random sample.

This is  the best story of my fishing life.

14225506_10208782343029497_5327809110955578980_n.jpg

52171_1558381413044_7405954_o.jpg

51774_1558381813054_2123599_o.jpg

55806_1559594363367_7166879_o.jpg

11055261_10205140746231853_6293082025261151393_o.jpg

20171007_165030.jpg

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So back in the day when I worked inshore lobster boats out of Sandwich. We fished 10 and 15 pot trawls around the Fishing ledge in CCB.  A large basking shark had gotten entangled in our gear. This had happened to us the year before and the shark had died.

We wanted to save the shark this time around if all possible. 

Sharks tend to roll a lot if they get wrapped up making the problem all the worse.

This shark had rolled half a 10 pot trawl up around her body.

We managed to cut the pots away from her then we slowly removed the ground line that she was coiled up in. Being made of floating polypro the ground line stood firm in the water and was easy to cut.

We would have to tie the pot off to the boat before we cut the trap's gangion so we did not lose the pot.

All clear of the gear the shark slowly swam away.

It was a cool moment.

The boat I was on was a forty-foot young's brother's......A solid Maine built lobster hull........The shark laid out aside the boat from the working steering station to the stern of the boat. That was 27 paces from the helm to the transom.

27 feet!.....A very big animal!

My best catch and release story to date!......:)

 

Edited by robc22

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