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Captain Bill Walsh
Dawn Patrol Charter Fishing
Marco Island, Florida
Phone: (239) 394-0608
In business since 1992 !!

Silly things people do on fishing trips By Bill Walsh

Thursday, January 11, 2007 (Marco News)

Some folks do downright irrational things on a fishing trip. Things they wouldn't even dare conceive back home or at the "daily grind." It's sort of like they've been granted piscatorial absolution from having to employ common sense and reasoning while they've got a fishing rod in their hands.

Most of these senseless things are just that: They have little impact on the overall fishing trip save the unique comedy that is created. Over the years, we've seen a bunch of funny, goofy aberrations pulled on fishing trips and here are a few that you might consider "highlights."

The latex caper

This guy was what you'd regard as an armchair student of fishing. You know the type lives in Whiteout, Minn., and during their nine months of winter, watches every "catch-'em-up" TV show and subscribes to every fishing magazine in print. Bottom line: He majors in information and minors in application.

Anyhow, Larry and the Mrs. made it down to Southwest Florida last year for a month or so as snowbirds. Larry quickly hooked up with his Condo Commando organization here, which was in the process of putting together charter fishing trips for the season. He readily joined.

We were lucky enough to get Larry as part of the foursome on our boat.

On the very first trip, as we prepared to anchor on a notorious sheepshead hole, Larry broke out a pair of staunch latex gloves and without a word donned them from fingertip to wrist.

First thoughts were "poor guy must have a medical condition," but that was quickly dispelled when Larry went on a dissertation on how you have to protect the bait against human scent as it will drastically impact fishing. The latex "mittens" would take care of that.

His condo buddies first sat there with mouths open in disbelief, followed quickly by side-splitting laughter.

Larry didn't care even as the shrimp horns pierced his latex; he didn't even care when his buddies (with tainted bait) were outfishing him he was doing what those Saturday-morning TV guys said was right.

That is, until on a retrieve with a monster sheepshead, he got his latex caught between the reel bail and the housing, jamming the reel and losing the fish. This time, his buddies were doubled over on the deck in laughter.

He finally took off the gloves. "Enough is enough" is what I think he said.

As we finished, I saw one of his condo buddies sneaking the discarded, ripped gloves out of the trash.

Wouldn't you have loved to have been at the next cocktail party held at that condo?

Going bananas

It's a nice spring day and two middle-age couples from Up East are the customers on a backwater trip.

Three of the four were out for a nice peaceful morning on the water and fishing was something they did once in a while, casually along the way and then there was Bruce!

You knew right away he took his fishing seriously. Just the clothing told you that the other three were garbed in light, very casual attire; Bruce looked like an Orvis ad right down to his trousers that zipped into shorts and a fishing vest with countless Velcro loops and pockets.

As the morning proceeded, he was right there instructing the others at every turn. His fishing technique, I'll have to admit, was flawless. Bruce was a real amateur professional.

He even kept his cool when repeating instruction time and time again. He showed a great deal of patience until his wife asked the others who was hungry and who would like a banana.

"BANANA?" Bruce yelped. "Don't you know it is the worst thing you can do on a fishing trip? It's an age-old custom to never, never bring bananas on a fishing trip."

"Oh, really?" said his wife as she peeled the fruit and began her repast. To add fuel to the fire, the other wife began doing the same thing.

Bruce went ballistic, chastising the women who were now munching even more fervently on their fruit.

The tirade finally quelled and Bruce asked his wife why she brought the bad-luck bananas.

"First of all, I didn't know about the bad-luck thing and secondly, how the heck do the fish that we're trying to catch know we've got bananas up here?"

Bruce just sat there. Silly superstition, huh?

Musical chairs

It's a family trip: four kids and a mom and dad. The mission was to have the four youngsters catch all the fish they possibly could.

All the family, save Paul, the father, were novices and it showed big time as we started. I was running all over the boat showing the kids how to handle the rod and reel, how to feel the bait on the bottom and, most importantly, how to tell when you have a strike.

All the while, Paul is fishing not helping at all but wondering why his kids weren't catching fish.

After an hour of me running and him wondering, Paul decided that the new routine was to move his kids to where the fish were.

Now mind you, we weren't on the Queen Mary and moving from anywhere on the boat to anywhere else was a matter of just a few feet but Paul thought this was the answer. We had immobile fish to contend with!

We would move the kids around.

For hours it looked like musical chairs; Paul would catch a fish and call one of the kids back five feet because "this is where the fish are."

Bottom line: The kids didn't so well fishing, but they sure got their exercise! Paul's read was that the fish were moving around too quickly for the kids.

Oh, well, it takes all kinds.

So all you folks out there fishing and feeling compelled to do something silly remember, someone may be watching!

Capt. Bill Walsh owns an established Marco Island charter fishing business and holds a current U.S. Coast Guard license. Send comments or questions to

Fishing Marco Island, Everglades, Naples, the 10,000 Islands, Florida