Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Young Man And The Sea

Capt. Dave Kostyo is a genius at finding the tarpon and Craig never minded having to eat his sub sandwich with one hand while fighting a fish with the other. He never minded rushing hometo do his homework so we could meet Dave about 6 PM and be out fishing before the sun set, then fishing until midnight. We did that one night a week for months back in 1996.

We'd get out there in either Haulover Cut or Government cut and start drifting where we saw tarpon rolling on the surface or marking them on the depth sounder. Two rods were in rod holders, each dragging a big live shrimp on a hook. All eyes were on the rod tips. Suddenly one would start bouncing a bit, then bend over with line screaming off the reel. It's best not to grab the rod too soon and try to set the hook. "Let Roddy (the rod holder....LOL) set the hook" was Dave's mantra. When the rod was bent over you could take it from the holder and start trying to crank the reel.

A belt with a plastic cup for the rod butt keeps your stomach from getting bruised, but it's not always easy getting the rod butt in that cup when you have 50 to 100 pounds of very angry fish on your line, pulling this way and that.

The shrimp come up out of the grass beds in the bay as night aproaches. Before it gets dark there aren't that many around. They drift near the surface wherever the current takes them, but they're on a mission. It's time to spawn, and hopefully not get eaten in the process. Usually the fast and furious action doesn't start until after dark but here Craig has hooked up to a tarpon while it's still light out. In an average night he might hook and get get three or four fish to boatside where Dave would unhook and release them. The fish ranged from about 25 pounds to possibly 125 pounds. They gave Craig a good workout!


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