The Cast of a Lifetime

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Rocky Mountain RV & Marine Blog

The Cast of a Lifetime

The Cast of a Lifetime

Everyone knows that Babe Ruth was famous for hitting home runs. There’s even a very famous story about “The Babe” stepping up to the plate and pointing to a section of seats in the outfield, then he proceeded to hit a home run into those same seats. It’s one thing to hit a home run, but to point out where the ball was going to exit the ballpark, and then hitting it out there, was truly amazing. No one would remember that home run if Mr. Ruth hadn’t pointed to those seats.

I’m sorry Mr. Ruth, but I topped that. I called my shot too, but my target was moving at about 30 miles per hour, and I was only armed with a fishing rod.

I was fishing with two very good friends, Randy Granger, better known as “De Fishin Doctor,” and Paul Marcucci, or Cooch to his friends. Randy, like myself, was an experienced angler, but Cooch was just learning to fish. We were in my Tracker Bass Boat doing pretty well catching largemouth & white bass, and Cooch was “catching on” pretty fast. (Pun definitely intended)

 cormorant in flight  

I looked up just in time to see a cormorant headed toward us down wind at about 30 miles per hour, and I could tell he was going to pass by us at about 30 feet away traveling from right to left at around 10 feet above the water.

 To this day, I still have no idea why I suddenly decided to attempt to hit that bird in flight with a bass lure. But instinct (and poor judgment) took over, and I said, “Cooch, watch this.” Cooch looked up just in time to witness me make “the cast of a lifetime.”  I snapped the 7 foot Berkley Cherry wood rod back and let my wrist go trying to lead a bird traveling 30 miles an hour enough to connect with my bass lure. The lure whistled passed the bird’s nose and he pulled up slightly, and both of his legs dropped down in the process.

When the line hit his legs about two feet from the lure, the line wrapped around them once and then the lure stuck firmly in his tail feathers. The bird glanced back toward the lure and surely wondered what had hit him in the butt. Now when you’re traveling 30 miles an hour, and you are suddenly connected with a crank-bait on 12 lb. test monofilament, you and the water are going to come together pretty violently.  

The line came tight, and the cormorant went into the water beak first. There was a hell of a splash. You’d thought that someone had thrown a brick into the water. Cormorants basically fly underwater when they are pursuing baitfish, and fly this one did. The line was screaming off the reel, so I tightened the drag to compensate for the bird’s strength underwater.

Oddly enough, several boats nearby heard the huge splash and the commotion on my boat and they began watching me fight what they thought was a very big fish. Finally after a couple of minutes of rod bending action with Cooch & De Doctor laughing hysterically, we used my large dip net and hauled the very pissed off bird aboard.

Cooch wanted nothing to do with the cormorant because the bird was snapping his beak violently at anything that came close. So Randy and I convinced Cooch to throw a towel over it, I then carefully untangled the bird from the line and removed the lure from its tail feathers. 

The other fishing boats were making a beeline toward my boat thinking that we had landed a hell of a fish, so we carefully shielded the bird from the advancing armada, and released it back into the water. As the bird hauled ass away from the boat, Cooch said he could swear that the bird muttered a few expletives as he took off into the sky. 

When the other curiosity filled fishermen approached us in their boats wanting to know what had happened, we sheepishly explained that we had rescued that weary cormorant from some other fisherman’s line & lure that was carelessly discarded and floating in the water. From that day forward, I’ll bet that cormorant gave any boat it encountered a very wide berth.

Since this incident, I have written dozens of unusual fishing experiences that I have been fortunate to witness in my 60+ years of fishing, but I was so ashamed of what I did to that innocent bird that day, I have waited almost 25 years to write this one. In fact, I had forgotten about the incident until Cooch reminded me about it a week ago while watching the Broncos beat the KC Chiefs on December 1, 2013. Cooch said that he has shared that story many times and that he would never forget hearing “Cooch, watch this” and witnessing “The Cast of a Lifetime.”


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