We went out reef fishing with Darrell's neighbor Doug. When I asked Doug the obligatory, "what do you do for a living?", he said he was a roofer. Simple enough. Later Darrell told me Doug actually owned a roofing company. A big one. Guess that explained his winter home and boat and charter fishing trips.
We headed to the reef 'cause of the wind and big waves out in the Stream. Small craft warnings. From the way they described it we'd be fishing a lot like we were going for crappies only these crappies would be forty or fifty feet down. And wouldn't look at all like crappies. Fine by me. Figured I could do that.
'Spect we anchored a mile or so out from the Seven Mile Bridge. That's the bridge most everyone has seen in a movie or TV ad. They call it that 'cause it's about a mile longer than six miles. Or so I'm told. I recall us using shrimp for bait. Might have been something else but I doubt it was red worms or leeches.
And we were using circle hooks. I'd heard of them and liked the concept behind them. Seemed they always hook a fish in the corner of the mouth. Don't know why that is but if you were gonna go the catch and release routine, the fish would rarely be severely hurt.
The only difference between them and regular hooks was that you don't set a circle hook, just start reelin' when you feel the fish. The hook does all the work. I didn't know that at first. I'd feel a bite, pause a couple of seconds and set the hook for all I was worth. Wasn't gonna let no stinkin' snapper spit my hook, no sir. And then came up empty. Next fish I waited longer. Same result. Then finally set that baby as soon as I felt any weight. Crap!
All the while Doug and Darrell were not losin' a one. Finally they let me in on what to do. Not that it was any secret to them. I guess they just figured most everyone knew how to use a circle hook. Life's like that. Guess the truth is one person's common knowledge isn't always another's.
I'd like to say that changed everything for me but it didn't. Guess I'd spent most of my life settin' hooks and it'd become so ingrained I couldn't help myself. A fish would hit, I'd set the hook, then pound my head in disbelief that I'd done it again.
It'd be nice to say that I finally got the hang of it. But I didn't. Maybe in the next life.