Fishing live bait or cut bait sometimes gets a bad rap (including from otherwise-informed outdoor writers). The frequent perception is that all it involves is a cricket under a cork, or a freelined shiner, and that it’s the next best thing to cheating. I’ve never gone that far, but I’ve been shamed as a friend and I flipped up a bunch of one- and two-pounders on an Okeechobee bank, and then found out that an anchored shiner guide on that same bank had already caught five fish over six pounds.
I fished local and regional tournaments for nearly 20 years, and I always thought it was the solitary nature of the sport that appealed to me. While I typically had a partner or another competitor in the boat with me, much of the work was done solo. Even when we were fishing it wasn’t a social hour and the heavy talkers quickly got a taste of either me ignoring them or – in extreme cases – a heavy dose of STFU. As a confirmed introvert, someone who’s happy to spend long hours in the boat by himself and recoils every time the phone rings, that was my idea of heaven.
The past two times I fished in Brazil, I was told to use nothing less than 65-pound braid. I brought several reels spooled up that way, but a couple with 50 as well, and found myself gravitating to the “lighter” line. It casts and handles better, and as long as your knots are good I’ve never had much problem using it for fish in the 10- to 20-pound range.
I am scheduled to go fishing in the Amazon next week. As you may have seen on the news, large swaths of the Amazon are on fire. Of course, that’s kind of like saying “the United States is on fire.” You wouldn’t cancel a trip to Florida just because the Bronx was burning, would you? The Amazon is a big place, and my understanding is that the nearest fires are still several hundred miles from where I’m going.
My wife Hanna is my favorite traveling companion, not only because she generally goes places I want to go and brings a good attitude, but also because she has her act together. I never have to worry about her being late or forgetting the passports or passing gas on a crowded commuter plane (for the record: she farts rainbows).