Humility, again

Little did these custom rods know what fate had in store for them.

My wife and I got hitched more than a year ago now, and to commemorate the death of my bachelorhood the blissful pairing, my good buddies Joe and Pete proffered up the best wedding gift I could imagine: two high end reels and two soon-to-be-delivered custom-made rods. Finding those shiny reels among the dinnerware and salad forks was one of the gleaming moments of my adult life, if only because they provided such a welcome respite from tuxedoes and flower arrangements. And knowing that Joe, a guy known locally for producing top-shelf custom rods, would soon deliver a pair of his coveted creations? I was a blissed-out groom.

When Joe called to say they were ready, I was on the way home from a fishing trip with skiff in tow, already late for a family gathering. I quickly stopped by his house, and when he produced the goods I was floored. Each bore my and my wife’s respective names. Hers featured bright red detailing and a plucky redfish, mine glorious blue wraps and a streamlined snook graphic. Both were set off by silver metallic bands, and each was nothing if not beautiful. After many bows and hand-shakes, I started to place them carefully in the carpeted bottom of my skiff, since past experience has taught me that upright rods within towed vehicles live short, unhappy lives. But with Joe looking on, I couldn’t disrespect such glorious handiwork, so into the rod holders they went. You can probably guess where this is going.

I flew home, and as I aimed the trailer into our garage, I heard a vaguely familiar noise, somewhat akin to a dog snacking on Doritos. I stopped the Jeep, stepped out to investigate, and felt my legs go all rubbery. My brand-spanking new rod was bent at an impossible angle under the garage roof, and Abby’s had snapped in two as neatly as a stick of vermicelli, the upper section lying pitifully on the casting deck. I suppressed a wave of nausea, then spent the next 10 minutes with my head in my hands.

To complicate matters, I was scheduled to fish the Everglades with Joe and his brothers the following day. I rehearsed my slightly doctored-up story, then wussed out when I met the group at the ramp before dawn. Joe’s brother Marty was boat-mate that day and I confessed. After a grave period of silence, Marty queried “When are you gonna tell him?”

“Today, for sure”, I replied, with mock confidence. But I didn’t. In fact, it took me several weeks to own up to my crime. Joe was gracious about it, though he did look a little green around the gills for a minute or so. Had we been near some water, I would have submerged his head and rocked him gently back and forth until he showed signs of recovery.

Anyway, I wonder what the readers of this blog (who occasionally mistake me for some sort of authority on the sport) would think about a guy who backed his trailer into his garage without first checking his rods? Likely the same thing they’d think about a guy who t-boned an oyster bar with a skiff at full throttle and spent two unplanned days in the Everglades, fell headlong into a Vermont stream with camera and cell phone in hand, missed 10 consecutive gaffs on a thrashing dorado in the Keys, lodged a Zonker fly neatly into his right ear while fly fishing in 45 mph winds, stuck another favorite rod into a running trolling motor while fighting a redfish, put on a clinic in inept angling in a recent two-day tournament, or slept through half a day’s anticipated offshore trip after dawn-to-dusk libations in a Cabo bar. Not that these are actual incidents, or anything. They’re just hypotheticals I’m using to make a point.


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4 Responses to “Humility, again”

  1. John, don’t worry man, I think we’ve all done that at least once. I blamed my wife though because as i was backing up the boat to just before the carport to unload from a days charter, my wife was on the phone bitching that I’m way late and gave the guys a couple extra hours because we were chasing an Everglades Backcountry grand slam and we needed the tarpon. Needless to say, we got the tarpon just before dark and the same rod we got her on was the one standing upright and I thought my license plate was dragging on something so I backed in and out a few times looking down at my plate and snap goes the rod. So my wife gets the blame for that one for rushing me home and in the house and now she doesn’t say a word until all the rods are in the house safe and sound.

  2. admin says:

    Capt. Steve, I appreciate you weighing in. I feel a bit less foolish now. I like your approach, but if I tried to blame my wife for breaking her rod they’d find pieces of me strewn across five states. Not that I’m scared of my wife or anything – I mean, I’m all man. But she has a mean left hook and she’s the one who cooks. 😉

  3. Capt. Steve says:

    I blamed my wife and they found me on 5 different flats but they put me back together much like Chewbaccca put C3PO back together, including my head on backwards, which does help when a Redfish or Bonefish sneaks up on you from behind. LOL. Great site and the artwork is incredible. I keep leaving this site on my screen in hopes of receiving something from my wifey this yea. I have enough fishing gear, I need some more artwork. Happy Holidays

  4. Joe says:

    No worries brother. A replacement is about to be put on the rod wrapper. Soon your lovely wife will forget the whole thing. If you dont mess up once in awhile it means youre not out there tryin at all. None of the things you mentioned are really errors/mistakes, but rather minor diversions on the road to fishing greatness. I hope you break something else so I can harass for a few more months. Anything, it doesnt have to be fishing related. Just mess up, I dare ya…..HAHAHA