Author: Patrick Meek
Fishing isn't always about catching, sometimes more joy can be taken just by helping others less fortunate succeed.
I've never claimed to be an expert surf fisherman, but I have been very blessed to have had some amazing mentors who have passed some of their knowledge on to me that have helped me become more successful on the sand. There have been many times I've slayed the fish off the beach while the person setup next to me to the left or right can't seem to even get a bite. I don't believe that I'm the "luckiest" guy on the beach, but I do believe that studying the beach / surf before I set up and taking some of that knowledge that my mentors have passed on to me and what I've learned on my own by "trial and error" have helped me become a more successful surf fisherman. 9 times out of 10, most fisherman won't approach me on the beach and ask "What am I doing wrong?". Pride is one of those 7 deadly’ s and I usually make it a point not to get up in someone else's business. If someone should come up to me and say "Can you help me?", I'm always more than willing to assist.
"I could see from 75 yards away that he was never going to catch a fish (except a saltwater catfish) with the type of leader he had attached."
With that being said, not too long ago we had a great afternoon surf fishing and as we were catching fish, I noticed an older gentleman sitting about 75 yards away from us to our left. The man was sitting in his beach chair holding his surf rod just the way I did when I was younger trying to catch catfish from a pond. A couple of hours had gone by and I know he had witnessed us catching fish all afternoon, but I had yet to see him reel anything in. What I did notice was the man was moving very slow and something just didn't seem right. As I sat back and watched him reel in his line to check his bait, I could see from 75 yards away that he was never going to catch a fish (except a saltwater catfish) with the type of leader he had attached. I decided to do something I don't usually do which is get involved in someone else's fishing. He may not have wanted my help, but I was going to take my chances. I took one of my Pompano leaders and attached a 3 oz. pyramid sinker and baited it with some fresh dead peeled shrimp and walked over to the gentleman struggling on the beach.
When I approached the man, I noticed the kinked up Walmart tourist special steel leader loaded with wire, crimps, and gold J hooks with a 6 oz. sputnik sinker attached. It was at this time I met "Bobby." Bobby is 80 years old from Virginia who suffers from Parkinson's Disease. I explained the difference between monofilament and fluorocarbon, circle hooks and J hooks, floats and sinkers. I attached the new Pompano leader to his mainline and told him "Good Luck." Bobby casts out into the middle of the dark trough and about 20 minutes later he hooks up and lands his first ever quality saltwater fish by surf casting; a nice 35" Redfish. I helped Bobby revive his fish and released it for him since it was legally too big to keep. He was most appreciative and I could feel the pride he had after landing such a nice beautiful fish from the surf.
Earlier that day I had caught my PB Black Drum from the beach, but as I left the beach that evening I had forgotten about my catch because I had more pleasure helping a struggling fisherman help make the catch of his lifetime that he won't soon forget. It wasn't Bobby's fault that he wasn't catching anything earlier, it's just that no one had taken the time to show him how fishing from the beach is done.
Until next time...
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