Gone Fishin’

Steve's Snapper

As many of you know one of my passions is offshore fishing. And since the Red Snapper season closes on August 14th, I took off for one last Red Snapper fishing trip. My crew included my neighbor, Lou, and his son-in-law, Chris.

We left the dock at 5:00 am as planned and headed offshore to what has proven to be an outstanding spot all season. The weather was perfect with a light breeze of fewer than 10 knots and seas of 1 -2 feet. As we cruised at 25 knots thru the sound, I was struck, like I always am, by the awesome beauty of nature. The stars were twinkling on and off in the heavens and the setting half-moon hung low in the western sky.

We arrived at our spot and had lines in the water at 6:45. We proceeded to immediately catch those tasty delights that most people only see on a menu. It was then that one of the strangest things I have ever experienced on the water happened.

I was in the back of the boat with Chris and Lou and I had a hook-up and a fish on. While maneuvering around Lou to play the fish, I took an awkward step to the side of the boat and lost my grip on the rod. I saw the rod catapult from my hand and head straight for the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico some 80 feet below. As the rod butt slipped from my hand and went over the side, I instinctively followed it overboard. In that instant, I knew I had but one chance to grab at the rod before it disappeared below. As I went over headfirst I grabbed underwater where I thought the rod should be and I guessed right. Fortunately, the fish on the other end was only a 19-inch snapper – anything larger would have dragged the rod to the bottom before I could have reacted.

When I surfaced I had the rod in my right hand and I swam back to the boat that was slowly drifting away. Fortunately, we had light winds and seas because that stunt would have produced another set of issues had we been drifting faster than I could swim with a rod in my hand and a fish on the other end.

I made it back to the boat and handed Chris the rod and then climbed aboard using the swim ladder. As soon as I got aboard, I grabbed the rod from Chris and began to play with the fish once more. Now, this was about more than catching a fish, it was personal and I damn well wanted to see what was on the other end of that line that pulled the rod from my hand.

Once the fish was boated and put in the fish box I looked at my two crewmates and they looked like they had just seen a ghost. Seems as though they first thought that Moby Dick had pulled me overboard and I was headed to the briny deep below.

Just another adventure on the water and a fish story that will live in infamy!

Please comment and let us know your thoughts.


And you thought I was crazy when I dove after the rod. For me, I dropped when I got a hook in a finger, cleared the hook and dove. The delay was too long (half a second?) and the rod out of reach. Congrats on grabbing yours!

brian lowman

Uh Steve, just how expensive was that rod and reel? Even I, the infamous Navarre Fisherman, would have let it go to the bottom. I have seen too many big ‘jaws’ out there around fishing spots.

Of course I would have dragged a big treble hook along the bottom until I got my rod and reel back…

Good story,

Brian Lowman

Lou Grant

The one thing that Steve left out was before he reboarded the boat he handed his rod w/fish on the line to Chris. Chris tried to hand the rod to me and I said no way. All this activity happen behind my back and all I saw was Steve going over board head first. I thought he had caught a whopper which I wanted no part of.

Lou Grant

Darin White

great story! i went fishing last night as well, but it was not as exciting as your story. however, it reminds me of a story i heard of the place we just fished. the owners nephew was fishing for bass on their 15-20 acre pond and wasn’t aware of the large grass carp and ended up catching one. he got it in the boat and it was over 5′ long and it scared him so badly that he jumped out of the boat.

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