(Author Unknown, but from the G. Loomis Archives)
The ripples fade off.
Wind up some slack…wait…wait…wait…Tug-plop. Wait. Tug-plop.
A Pop-R sails through the air at a pair of stick-ups, twelve feet off the bank, smack in the middle of a small cove. Plop. Ripples. The line settles gently, floating down between the sticks. Patches of blue sky surrounded by white fluffy clouds reflect off the surface.
You know he’s there. He knows you’re there. There’s no doubt about it. A direct one-on-one challenge to your fishing skills. At our disposal, an arsenal of equipment, decades of experience, and flashes of brilliant creative insight. Your adversary’s stuff? Instinct honed by the law of the jungle – eat or be eaten, survival.
We make, buy and sell warehouses full of rods, reels, lures, line and everything under the sun. Yet it is the pursuit of matching wits with a nearly witless (while infinitely cunning) quarry that drives us. Nature’s pure reaction versus planned execution.
Do you have what it takes? Can you concoct just the right combination of inspiration, selection and technique to make him go for it, to pull him out of there?
I never cease to be amazed at the ability of those who can pull up to a spot, gaze around, mumble something unintelligible while rummaging into the deepest netherworld of an old tackle box and pull out a ten-year-old lure. Blow off some dust, patiently tie the thing on and fling it out. One hop, two hops, “Oh, there’s one!” I’m not quite there, yet. Someday.
There are those special days though, when you feel the “fish catchin’ mojo.” You know it. You are going to catch fish. It’s a force coursing throughout your body. You sense what lures are going to work, you throw them to perfect spots without thinking, and you set the hooks before you’ve even realized that you’ve been bit. Leaving everyone else to wonder, ‘what’s he using today?’
Answer? A sly grin.
It’s the full experience. Planning buying, organizing rigging, analyzing, casting, missing, catching, landing, achieving, celebrating. And, of course, trash talking.
Over time, I’ve come to a realization that it’s the big ones you land that make the past trips memorable, but it’s the big ones you lose that drive you to continually return and go at it again. Whatever the reasons – spit hooks, slack line, bad angles, fast fish, tough cover, busted line – they’re haunting memories that drive a pursuit of perfection even when you know they’re coming again. This time I’ll be ready.
One of the extra variables for us in the business though, is having a hand in the direct design of some equipment. While there is a great disappointment when ideas don’t exactly work out, I can say that those times when it does, it kicks up the whole experience.
For me, it’s a sense of exhilaration that a whole team of people have put their efforts together culminating in a fish being caught, in a specific style, with a specific action in a specific way, perhaps that has never been done before. It may have taken over a year for this fish to be caught with this equipment, and to have it work just so, ahh, that is happiness.
One more time… I know he’s there in those stick…
Tug – Pop. Tug – Pidoop. Tug – Plop.
I know you’re in there…