Our 2nd Report from a camp member at the Guy Harvey Saltwater fishing camp
Hello, my name is Zackary McCullough and I am attending the “Guy Harvey” Summer Fishing Camp at E. G. Simmons Park. Each day we have a guest speaker who talks about conservation issues or outdoor safety topics. One of our speakers last week was Capt. Rafael Rios, who spoke to us regarding his charter business and the types of tools and methods he, utilizes to catch fish in the Tampa bay area waters. He asked those of us who may be interested, to write a report on a fish they’ve caught and said the best report will win a new rod and reel. Well, I really need a new rod and reel setup, so here it goes!
At the point in time Capt. Rios came and spoke to us, I hadn’t hooked any fish at the camp, and I wanted my report to be on something I reeled in during the summer camp. I have been fishing all of my life, usually in the ponds on my family’s property, but also on some saltwater excursions into Tampa Bay and Boca Raton. I had not caught a fish of any real significance since the camp had started, except for a few small Pinfish. I wanted to write about a good fish, a “meal fish” that came with a good tale, I knew I had to step up my game. The day after Capt. Rios came to speak to us we all went over to FWC’s salt water fish hatchery at Port Manatee, so I prayed for the chance of a monster Redfish or Tarpon to come my way. The FWC lady who assisted us at the hatchery said that everyone should catch something and then gave us some tips and tricks on fishing in their “pond”. We were told we couldn’t keep what we caught at the hatchery because we were fishing out of the drainage pond, where the water is not the best quality, but I, and some others, were hoping to get a shot at a decent fish and a good story that day.
Fish in the pond had been jumping out of the water since we pulled up, so I was really anticipating being cut loose to grab my rod and start casting. Once it started, everyone in the class spread out along the bank of this big pond. I tell you the truth, it wasn’t more than five minutes and one kid who usually just stands around talking and dunking his bare hook in the water (doesn’t like to fish?) caught the first fish of the day, a nice Redfish. Then like an assembly line one after another other the other campers started bringing up miscellaneous fish. What? I thought to myself, are you doing something wrong? Have you lost your touch?, I mean after all, you are realistically fishing in a stocked pond! I told myself to wake up and get your head in the game, so I got on the move, trying different locations around the pond. The camp leaders see my strife; they are like “Go over there” or “Come over here” and “Try this or try that”, but nothing.
My pal next to me says, “Hey, you’re trying too hard!” so I do what some others were doing! I cast my line out to the middle of the pond and I just stood there, looking around and acting not interested. Then it happened! The next thing I know I feel a small tug on my line, Could it be? After all this trying? Yes! I snapped my rod slightly and set the hook, I could feel the line pull tight, my long awaited foe at the other end of the line. The weight at the end of the line is comforting; I knew I had a good fish so I steadily brought in the line. Then at the water line about ten feet out, I saw a beautiful fish, hooked and coming my way! Once I brought him to me I saw he was a good catch, well worth the wait, a beautiful 13” Redfish! I caught my fish and subsequently had my story for the rod and reel contest! I knew with mixing a little prayer, a little luck and some patience you never know what will happen.