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No Fool Like an Old Fool

Sometimes stubborn hope pays off

The Sebastian family celebrates a high school graduation with a successful catch.

Almost the whole of the week had been lost to high winds and rain. With the marine forecast calling for five-knot winds at dawn and only a 30 percent possibility of light, scattered showers, I rose early and was ready to go at 6am.
    Winds were still gusting out of the northeast at over 20 knots, showing no signs of abatement. Then came the rain, not just the predicted light shower but a torrent.
    My stubborn hope was about used up after three hours of steady downpour when NOAA’s wind forecast predicted a complete turnaround by 1pm.
    There’s no fool like an old fool, so I secured the boat and trailer to the pickup, loaded my gear and got ready to move. By noon, it was still blowing uncomfortably, though the velocity was dropping steadily. The rain had also ceased; only a damp, chilly overcast threatened overhead.
    I changed to a heavier shirt, put on my rain gear for insurance and headed out the door. By the time I had picked up a bucket of chum and arrived at the Sandy Point launch ramps, the sun was peeking through the clouds.
    As my skiff cleared the Bay Bridge, I shed my jacket and rolled up my shirt sleeves. The wind had laid down to a mere whisper, and a warm sun was shining everywhere. The day had turned beautiful. Alleluia! All I needed now was to find some fish.
    Spotting a small group of boats anchored a bit to the south, I headed down that way for a look-see. The lone charter boat in the fleet was familiar. It was my neighbor, Capt. Frank Tuma, on the Down Time, with five people on board.
    As I neared he gave me the thumbs up and yelled out, “It’s been horrible all morning, but we’re finally getting some fish. The tide’s ripping. They’re right on the bottom.”
    I anchored up, well off to one side. As I rigged my gear, I watched Frank’s party reel in one fish after another with scarcely a throwback. I could hardly get a hook in the first chunk of menhaden, my hands were shaking so from excitement.
    It didn’t take long to entice some action. My first fish was soon hooked, but it took quite a while to get the 12-pounder to the boat. Fighting a stiff current as well as the strong fish, I had difficulty netting it.
    The bite stayed hot. All too soon my last keeper came on board, a fat 25-inch fish as difficult to land as the first one.
    Frank came alongside for some pictures with his fishing party, the Sebastian family, celebrating a high school graduation. They were relieved to have triumphed after a morning of snotty weather and rough seas.