Exception /ikˈsepSH(ə)n/ noun. a person or thing that is excluded from a general statement or does not follow a rule.
I typically think of fishing as a unique sport that is far more different than any other mainstream activity. In reality though, is it? After all, it is you vs. them, angler vs. fish or however you want to put it. At the end of the day your main goal is to outwit and overcome your opponent (redfish in this case). You prepare by watching a weeks worth of news for the weather conditions; you prepare your rods and reels properly for the fight; you tie on lures that you have all the confidence in; most of all though, you have found where the fish are hiding and you know their every move. You have studied your opponent and from the moment you hit the water, the odds are in your favor. It should be a land slide victory that comes with a heavy stringer but you never planned on the exception.
The exception is when you get beat at your own game. The exception is when the book "Catching Redfish 101" is thrown out the window. The exception is when you make a flawless cast to a red swimming and he passes your lure as if he knew it was a glittery piece of plastic. The exception is hanging into a solid fish and him coming unhooked at the boat. You do EVERYTHING correct and were properly prepared for everything except....
The past month of fishing for me has been a roller coaster ride. I have spent several days grinding out my morning searching for a bite. Some were more successful than others but on tournament days, when you really need it to count, things did just not go my way. Call it what you will, bad luck, misfortune or whatever; maybe I need to sacrifice a hardhead to the Fishing Gods, hell I don't know. Lately, it has been rough!
I fished Cops Helping Kids Tournament a little while ago and we directly went to the back of a marsh flat. I see a red push and I put a spoon directly in front of his face. Of course he smashes it, I set the hook and as soon as he takes off my line breaks.... Frustrated we move on and I spot another good fish swimming. I pitch the trusty spoon out there and out of nowhere, a 16" rat cuts in front of the bigger fish to get the spoon. He takes off making all sorts of ruckus and spooks every other fish in that pond away. That pretty much sums up of how our day went.
A few weeks ago, my brother and I fished a smaller local charity tournament. We decided to make our way back to a set of marsh ponds that I knew were holding some fish. I made the corner in the bayou and I see a small wake pushing towards me. I cast my Skitterwalk just to the side and he comes towards it. He breaches the water with his mouth wide open, eats my topwater, and goes under. I wait a second, set the hook and I quickly dodge a Skitterwalk that is hurling towards my face. 6 hooks........... 6 hooks and not one found its way into that fish!
The very next bend I make I see the same thing; a small wake pushing, this time going away from me. I cast my lure, a Texas 2-Step, and the fish reacts and the fight is on! After landing him I knew that I had a money fish. I put him on my Check-it-Stik and the first measurement was 1/16" over. I reposition the fish and swept his tail again, 1/16" under the 28" line. After swiping the tail 7 or 8 times, half were on 28" or just under and the other half were just over 28". At that point you have to make a decision of risking to keep that fish for legal reasons, so I decided to let him go.
To keep this long story short, I landed another red that was around 5 lbs. and was not enough for me to head to the weigh-in. However, I did lose 7 other fish. I would set the hook, fight them for a few seconds and then I would pull the hook on them. I can see doing that to 1 fish or maybe 2, but 7! Hell Blaze did the same thing with 2 of his fish. I even had a red swimming around in a little pocket that I tried to sight cast that completely ignored the 3 lures I had tied on.
The fish that I have encountered lately seem to have the upper hand; it is as if they have done more homework on me than I have on them. They have broken out of line and are not following the typical rules. That being said, it is time for me to adapt and get out of my typical routine. The Lone Star Kayak Series is this weekend and I, for one, am excited. I know where some good fish are but in order for me to go to the weigh-in this time, I have to be a step ahead of them. I am going to change my whole style and presentation up come Saturday and show them something they have never seen. Little do they know, I am throwing the book out the window and this time I will be the exception.