On a nice spring morning I was fishing out of Bing's Landing about 15 miles north of the Volusia-Flagler county line.
Once off the trailer, my little 16-foot Carolina Skiff had taken me the three miles north to the first deep cut to the west. In the past I had fished that stream with some success for spotted sea trout, but on this day the first two that came aboard were both undersized.
Now I was on the trolling motor in the broad bay that adjoins the park at Princess Place. The tide was moving in with a slight ripple on the surface as I began to cast. If you fish that area, you know it is littered with countless oyster reefs. Usually those bars will hold deeper water on one side or another. Just then I saw a slight movement in just such a place. Maybe not a feeding fish but a good target for my next cast. I drew my trusty chartreuse jig up to within a couple feet of the rod tip.
With the eye of an eagle I lasered in on the exact spot where the swirl had been only moments before. Exhibiting the dexterity of an old pro, I flipped a cast as though it were shot from a gun. The rod tip flexed and I stared at the spot where my bait would land. My rod and I were one. Only problem was the line and lure did not get the message. When the jig left the rod it flew to the right at nearly a 45 degree angle. It was so far off it splashed down beyond my peripheral vision. Damn! I said out loud. How did I manage to blow that cast so bad? Maybe my finger had hung up on the line or perhaps I had thumbed the spool. Either way I had made a horrible cast.
Quickly I began the fast retrieve so I could give it another try. The jig came up and began to skip along the surface. Before it had traveled five feet a big splash erupted. Hey! Nice Fish! Right away I knew that I was on with a big trout. After a suitable fight, the fat four-pound sea trout came to the net. I sat down and shook my head. What had just happened? My bait had splashed down in open water where I probably would never cast on purpose and yet here I was with a nice catch.
Now my question to you is have you ever made a bad cast? Don't lie now. Of course, we all have done it. Most of the time when that happens, the end result is not nearly so positive. Often after a terrible cast, we are hung up or even may lose a lure. How does it happen?
Fishermen, especially lure fishermen, spend their days doing the same thing over and over. Cast, retrieve and repeat. You would think that something as basic as that would be hard to screw up, but no. I would liken it to eating. No matter how much we eat, sooner or later we will somehow manage to bite our tongue.
No doubt about it on the morning at Bing's Landing, luck was with me. In my book "I Swear The Snook Drowned" I devote a chapter to the fact I will take luck over talent every time. Talent, experience and good equipment will usually result in fishing success, but none of those things will trump good old luck.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to email@example.com. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.