Fishing can be one of the most rewarding and fun experiences you have, or one of the most.
I've been on more fishing trips in my life than I can count. I have been trips where fish nearly jump in the boat with you, and trips where you can't get a bite no matter what you try. That being said, over the years I have been blessed with great luck. To ensure a better chance of catching fish I usually use professional guides to assist me. They know the correct type of lure or bait to use for the type of fish you are trying to catch and they know the water they are fishing in.
There are many types of fishing and my favorites are fresh water fly-fishing for trout, surf fishing for speckled trout and red fish, and billfishing for blue marlin in Kona, Hawaii. These types of fishing are very different from each other and that is what makes them even more interesting and challenging to me.
Fly-fishing is indeed a very technical type of fishing. Casting is very important in this type of fishing and it takes practice to learn how to do this properly. Then there is the type of fly to use and in what situation. Here is where a guide is invaluable. The best times I have ever had doing this is at the Bar Z X ranch near Aspen Colorado.
There are multiple lakes on the property there and their owner manages them wonderfully. My friend Raybourn Smiser and I fish there every year and have caught rainbow, brown, and tiger trout there sometimes up to 10 pounds. When one fishes there it really is all about catching more than the fishing! We always catch and release our fish.
We, like the owner, also believe in conservation of this prized resource. We also go on float trips with guides on the Roaring Fork River outside of Aspen. The fish there are smaller and we catch and release our fish there also. Fly-fishing has become almost an obsession and we are already booked to go back in May of 2014 to the Aspen area.
Surf fishing in the Gulf of Mexico off of the beaches of Galveston Island has been a wonderful experience in the past. My wife Brenda and I rent a beach house on the oceanfront there every July. All of our family lives in Houston, Texas, which is nearby (our main residence is in Dallas).
We have a week together there, and it is a wonderful family time. Surf fishing takes a lot of work. One wades out into the surf most of the time no greater than waist deep in the water. Conditions are very important in that clear, flat water is optimum for success. We are usually trying to catch speckled trout, but when fishing there, it really is like a "box of chocolates" because something else may end up on your hook and we typically use live bait.
Catching and landing a fish in the surf takes skill and effort, but it is well worth it. There have been days when we caught so many trout that we had to stop because we limited out! We do not catch and release fish there. It is a family tradition to have our fish fry and homemade vanilla ice cream which we do every year. Fresh fish like this is very delicious! Many wonderful family memories have been made on those vacations.
Last, but certainly not least, is my newfound interest in billfishing. In fact, the greatest day of fishing in my life occurred in Kona, Hawaii on September 20, 2012. Before I go into that, here is some background on billfishing:
Billfishing is all about catching really big fish. There are many different species of billfish, but in Kona you are really fishing for the Blue Marlin specie. The female of this specie can grow to over 2000 pounds and the males to about 400 pounds.
Back to the trip:
My friend Raybourn and I planned a trip to go to Kona September 19-21, 2012 to go Blue Marlin fishing. At the last minute he could not go due his mother being ill. I decided to go anyway as this was on my do list regarding fishing. This type of fishing is completely different than any type I had ever done. You fish out of a boat that trolls about 10 miles per hour.
There are four fishing lines that are out that are connected to huge rods and reels. Large artificial lures are connected to the lines and they have very large hooks on them. The fish set the hook themselves when they strike the lures.
An amazing event occurred on the second day of fishing. I was blessed to have Captain Gene Vander Hoek and Chris Choy aboard the Sea Genie II as my guides and experts. By a miracle of God's Providence, and the incredible expertise of Captain Vander Hoek and Chris Choy we were able to catch and land and weigh a Pacific Blue Marlin Grander that weighed 1023.5 lbs. (a Grander is a marlin that weighs over 1000 pounds).
This is a rare feat and every billfisherman's dream! It was Captain Vander Hoek's fourth one in over forty years of being a Captain and he has the record for Pacific Blue Marlin Granders. He and I recently published a book about this event called "Mom's Fish." The book details the circumstances that surrounded the Captain's life in regards to the loss of his mother during this time. It is an amazing true story with fantastic photographs of the events.
In closing, I really do love fishing. It has taught me a lot of things about life. It does no good to get in a hurry. It teaches you patience even if you do not want it. God is in control of his creation. It is always good to be prepared and to always have a backup rod and reel and plenty of tackle. It is a great feeling to feel that hard pull on the line when you have hooked a good fish. No matter what type of fishing one does, it is that pull on the line that gets you "hooked."
Gary White is a general surgeon who has had an active practice for more than 30 years. He is an avid angler whose main interests are in billfishing and flyfishing. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife, Brenda.
Available at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and CrossBooks online bookstores.