After the Gold Cup, while I posted results, I neglected to write a typical “our fishing” report. I wanted to get the results up here for those that follow these reports, and right after the tournament I was not in a head space to discuss what amounted to falling as far short of what we wanted as we could have. The fishing was quite difficult, we made some bad decisions, and our results reflected these two facts clearly. In five days of fishing, we didn’t catch a single fish. Dave Dalu pointed out to me the other day that he didn’t see a report proper from the event, and in the spirit of including both sides of the competitive coin here I’m putting it up.

Here’s the anatomy of it, in all its gory detail:

John and I had a run to the lower Keys the first day that didn’t pay off, largely due to cloud cover. We decided to stick with our plan and go that way again on the second day.  After fishing a spot for an hour in the morning on day two, as we were running our engine died. After a half hour trying to fix it, we were towed in by Drew Delashmit (for which John and I both are eternally grateful) and borrowed Bill Houze’s skiff for the remaining few hours of the day and the run back to Islamorada (for which I can’t thank Bill enough). One thing that sticks with me in vivid detail is the experience of driving in a car as the tournament minutes ticked by, feeling some type of powerlessness that I hope I don’t have too much more of in my future. This event set into motion a series of decisions that left us chasing our tail. While fishing from the new boat, we had two bites in the lower Keys before running up to Islamorada for check in.

Day three we stuck closer to Islamorada, and while we had a few bites none stayed connected. Our mental state was starting to deteriorate, and each time we’d get a bite and a fish wouldn’t stay connected the next one was harder to get. The day ended with another bite and more slack as the hook never found a home.

Day four was more of the same, and while we found a few fish to throw at we were unable to keep either of the two that bit attached.

By day 5, we were basically harmless. I was able to salvage a bite from a giant in the last half hour of the fishing, and again (at this point no surprise) the hook fell out and we ran out the clock in speechless (and fishless) frustration.

We weren’t the only boat not to catch anything, and we were in the company of a majority with our lack of any weight fish, but putting it all on the line in a tournament like this one and not catching anything does a few things. Primarily, it’s just painful. John and I fish lots together and come at competitive fishing with all we’ve got, and coming in last makes that effort feel frustrating and fruitless. Additionally, it makes competition even more difficult, since we now know clearly what the jaws on the other side of victory feel like. Potentially, it calls into question our abilities as a team–though John and I aren’t going anywhere in the tarpon tournaments and we will always lose more than we win.

Ultimately, it motivates us and makes us want to win even more. Without a doubt, much more important than what we did is what we do next, and there is no question that we have a plan already in the early stages for next year.

These reports will be filling back in over the next few days, where I will discuss the day I fished last week with Lawson Stiff and John O’Hearn and then the Poor Boys with Joe Rodriguez.

Tomorrow and the next with Aaron Snell and Jason Schratwieser, in preparation for the Del Brown this coming weekend.

 

More to come as always,

 

nathaniel