This is the first installment for … Fish Gut Friday … by Suzanne Martin
Surf Fishermen Are Crazy
I have fished Delaware waters most of my life, either from land or boat. My dad was the owner of a twenty-four foot center console Sterery with a ninety horsepower Johnson outboard. We fished seventeen years on that boat, then it was sold to a man that lived in Lewes. I would purposely drive by it for many year. It brought back many good memories on the water, I was sad when it disappeared one day.
My father also did some surf fishing, but always said, “surf fishermen are crazy”. As a kid I could never understand what the man was referring to? Crazy? They are fishing? Plus, being exposed to a boat ramp on a regular basis, how could these surf fishermen be any worse??
Years pass, I raise kids, and just get involved in life. I did take them fishing, and my son got into hunting, fishing was a fun hobby, a treat, but not an obsession so much. During a sad time in my life my dad handed me an old surf rod, and fifty bucks for a new reel (yes, I know fifty dollars does not get you far for a reel) I am not sure what the depths of his game plan was for me, but it worked! I was in my element, outside, by water, catching fish. It became an obsession, Daily life , work , free time, all revolved around what was happening in the water. Then it hit me, I get why surf fishermen are crazy. It becomes their life, in their blood, and you connect with other crazy people who have the same “problem”. No matter their walk in life, religion, political beliefs, or income, you have fishing in common. You can talk for hours about just that.
These “crazy” Surf fishermen and women are the people on the beach in the spring at the first sign of birds working the water for bait fish ( I get butterflies in my stomach when the first birds are spotted, cause we all know what that means). They have sinkers under their seats, metal spoons hanging on the side of a bucket that contains a shovel , board and tow strap, and a rod is always in the vehicle. They are up early for tournaments, and especially in the summer months to get their spot on the beach and battle the corn-hole nation. They count the days till the point opens, the crowd leaves, and enjoy some of the best fall fishing here, rain or shine. They are on the beach when we get an early snow, just in case one of those stripers would be sneaking by looking for a snack. They love to go home smelly from fish slime, and always have sand on their floor boards. Most of their attire is fishing related, tournament shirts, rain gear, and boots (I have 3 sets of waders myself, but who’s counting?) In the dead of winter, they try their best to stay out of trouble, and organize gear.
Yes , surf fishermen and women are crazy, I now get it dad, you were right, thank you for passing that rod on to me and opening a new chapter in my life. I’ve had great adventures with awesome people, while joining the ranks of the crazy.
Dedicated to my dad Tom Martin