Some will try saltwater fishing for the first time. Such was the case with my old friend Ken. He has some free time one day while his wife went shopping, so he went to the local bait shop and inquired about where to go and what to do. The old clerk told Ken that people were catching white trout on cut bait off the old bridge that had been converted into a fishing pier. You could drive your car out on the bridge and fish anywhere you wanted.
When Ken got there he found people fishing all along the bridge, so he found a vacant spot and started fishing. Now ol’ Ken had never done any saltwater fishing before, but with all of these people fishing it couldn’t be that difficult. He had just cast his bait out when bam, he had a big one hooked. He sort of chuckled to himself. He would most likely have a mess of white trout in just a few minutes.
However, when Ken got his prize catch on the bridge he discovered it was not a trout.
No sir. In fact, it was not even a fish. It was about 2 ½ feet long and looked like a snake. Maybe it was a poisonous sea snake, or maybe even an electric eel. Whatever it was, it was squirming and slithering down the bridge and dragging Ken’s rod with it. He grabbed his rod and pulled the creature back. Now what was he doing to do?
The only sensible thing to do would be to dispatch the creature as soon as possible. The only way he could see to do that was to stomp the thing. When Ken stomped the slick and slime critter with his right foot, it squirted out from under his shoe like a pinched watermelon seed and promptly wrapped itself around his left leg.
The next thing Ken knew he was lying on his back next to his car, violently kicking and rolling in an effort to get the creature off his leg. The commotion naturally attracted the attention of other fishermen on the bridge.
One fisherman yelled, “He’s having a diabetic attack. He needs sugar!” Another rather large and overweight fisherman who was eating a candy bar at the time quickly ran over to Ken and tried to shove the remainder of his candy bar into Ken’s mouth.
By now the creature was off Ken’s leg and had crawled under his car, out of sight of the crowd that had suddenly gathered. However, the fishing line was still around his leg and jerking violently. All Ken could think about was getting loose from that creature. He managed to get his hand in his pocket and came out with his trusty pocketknife. As he opened the blade with his teeth, somebody in the crowd yelled, “Get back, he’s got a knife!” Ken finally managed to cut the fishing line and free himself from the creature.
As he lay panting and exhausted on the bridge beside his car, the creature came slithering out the other side. One of the fishermen picked it up and said, “It’s just a harmless little brown eel.” He removed the hook and threw it back into the water.
Ken told me later that he was not an expert saltwater fisherman yet, but he was learning fast. In just this one trip he learned about some of the strange creatures that live in saltwater – and also how friendly and helpful the local pier fishermen are.