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First Day Out and I Broke Something

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

It was a hot summer day back in mid-June. I was working as a temp construction worker at the time as my girlfriend and I had just moved into town from across the country. Born and raised in New York, younger me would have never guessed I’d be moving to California, with my high school sweetheart, nonetheless. The move was something I was a little skeptical about, but my fiancée has family out here and a job offer to make more money than the two of us combined would have made back in New York. She knew leaving my parent's farm and moving to sunny south Cali would be somewhat of a culture shock for me so our first week there she planned a nice little fishing excursion for me and her brother who was just a few years old than us and boy, do I love fishing.

So, there we were, heading down to this gorgeous inlet about a mile up from the bay. As we arrived, I took notice that the water level was a bit low as it hadn’t rained for a week or two but we weren’t going to let that stop us. This was a little bit important as I was told the trick to fishing this spot was to bounce your bait and weight off the surface of the water to get across it to the shallow weeded area where the big fish liked to hide. However, since the water was low, the shallow area was just mud. This wasn’t a big deal, it just meant that most of the fish had either made their way out into the ocean, or they were sitting tight in the deep section of water that was left.

A few hours had passed and her brother and I were reeling them in left and right. I was kind of shocked to be honest, as I think I caught more fish that morning than I did on my last dozen trips out back in New York. As the day went on, we were eventually joined by my fiancé’s father, who brought a case of beer along with him. Needless to say, the fish were biting, the beer was hitting, and the sun was shining. It was a fantastic day. Well, that is until I hooked the proverbial “one”.

I had just felt the alcohol start to take hold when I had a strong hit on my line. I knew it was a pretty violent hit when it drew the attention of my two fishing companions. The frosty brews slowed down my reaction time just a bit and before I had a chance to react to that initial strike, another one came in strong, bending my rod tip down far enough to kiss the water.

“Set the hook!’ my fiancé’s father yelled.

Without thinking, I yanked the line back about as hard as I could but what happened next never happened to me before. While you may think that my line broke, or I lost the fish, I assure you that what did happen was far more embarrassing than either of those situations. I pulled back to set the hook so hard that my weight and bait came flying out of the water and hit me square in the face. Of course, we were fishing near the bay which meant we were in salt water. When you fish for ocean fish, your weight is generally bigger than if you’re freshwater fishing. So, when I pulled back on that line, the 8 oz weight on the other end of it came flying back and hit me square in the nose. It actually broke my nose, not bad, but it still broke it.

When I came back home my fiancé came out of the house to see what we had caught but before she made it to the cooler, she had already seen the damage I had done to my own face. This was not only the most unique fishing story I have, but it was also the most embarrassing as her entire family knew how much I loved fishing just to have me come down to their neck of the woods and do something completely noobish as break my own nose with my own fishing line. Regardless, we all had fun and after we told her the entire story, we all got a good laugh out of it. As a matter of fact, someone tells that story every year when fishing season comes around, and while it’s not my proudest moment, I can't help but laugh over it every single time.

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