"I was fishing on the Miss Virginia out of Port Richey (Florida). Kind of slow, they were catching a few with live pins. I was using frozen sardines. I had just put a new slimy one on and didn't wipe my hands got a bite that I thought was a grunt, when I set the hook that fish snatched the rod (Penn 113H w/Penn PSB 6630) clean out of my grip. The people around me watched with slack jaws as the rod flew into the water. I had a cigarette and stood there, saying the words that would come to mind. Ten minutes later I heard the mate who was fishing near the bow call out he had caught someone's rod , I ran up there and he gave it back to me, joy, joy, joy. He did say when he reeled it up there was a 4ft. Gag grouper on my line that got off just as it came up to the boat. I've got the reel soaking now. Thanks to the Capt. and crew of the Miss Virginia for there effort!"
My story is along the same line, and while it has happened to me more than once in one way or another, this one stands out.
I was wire line trolling the patch reefs off of Key Largo one early spring, catching black grouper on trolling feathers and mullet strips. This is heavy-duty meat fishing that means dragging a fish away from a reef, and winching him in on a Penn 6/0 with 100 pound monel wire.
I had on older boat rod I had fitted with case hardened roller guides for the wire line. The butt of the rod was wooden and the blank did not go all the way through.
When this fish hit, it did so with such force that it snapped the rod off the butt just below the reel seat while it was in the rod holder. It was over the side before we realized what had happened.
It was March and the water was cold and clear. I could see the patch that the fish came off of to grab the bait, so while my partner idled the boat, I stripped and went over the side with a mask and fins. I found the wire line coming out of the reef and followed it back to the reel, which was lying in about thirty feet of water. I swam back to the patch reef and dove about twelve feet down and grabbed the wire.
After getting the wire to the boat and pulling up the rod and reel, it was evident that the other end of the wire was connected to the reef and perhaps even a fish. So, over the side I went again.
I swam down the wire to the reef and located the hole into which the fish had run. After playing with it for a few seconds I realized that a fish was indeed still connected!
I went back to the boat and got a gaff and had my partner ready the reel . Once down on the patch again, I used the gaff to drag the fish out of the hole. At that point my partner reeled the grouper to the boat and waited for me. I climbed back in the boat and gaffed and boated a 31 pound black grouper!
I still have that old broken rod to remind me of that day. And the reel, which was originally an office anniversary gift to my Dad in 1956, is still on a rod in my rod locker and is still dragging up bottom fish!
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