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It Was A Nasty Day - The Story of a Rod, Lost and Found

By Ron Monaco & Captain Keith Robbins

PART I: lost

by ron monaco

It was a nasty day. The wind was blowing, and rain was dumping every hour or so. We started fishing around the crack of 9:00 am that day and so we were the third boat on the bank. Fish were moving but very hard to see. In the first hour, we had three bounce off the boat. Soon after, the first storm approached us from the south. We discuss staying out, but the storm looked too big to chance. So, we ran back home in a heavy downpour, crossing the channel with maybe 15 feet of visibility.

Back at the house, we dried off and made some lunch. After eating it looked like we might have a window of opportunity to fish again. So, we decided to give it a try and cruised back to the bank. We had a shot here and there at tarpon when I heard a noise behind me. It was rain from another storm coming, fast. The one boat in front of us that decided to leave, and we had to make a quick choice to stay or go. We stayed.

Photo by Ed Sozinho

As the rain came quickly at us, we decided to turn the boat into the wind and stake up from the bow. But before we had a chance to secure the boat, a strong wind hit us unexpectedly. As we were struggling to get the boat staked, I heard my fishing partner Mike say, “The bucket is gone.” Knowing well that my rod had been propped up in the stripping bucket, I immediately knew we had lost both.

By then, the wind and rain had hit us. We looked for the bucket and rod for about 15 minutes in the pouring rain with no luck. After the rain subsided, we noticed the bucket floating about 30 yards off the bank. We drove over and grabbed it, but the rod wasn’t inside anymore. The water was so stirred-up from the storms, and the wind was still blowing hard; we couldn’t see through the water. We fished the next six days and looked for the rod every day, but never found it.

Photo by Jesse Robbins

part ii: found

by capt. keith robbins

Three weeks or so later, I’m in the Keys, around the same bank, and I’m trading places on the casting platform with my friend Roger. We each had our own setup, so to save time when switching, we were casting all our line off the back of the boat while the other person got ready. During one such switch, Roger was reeling line back in, when he suddenly thought that he had hooked bottom. “Hey Keith, look what I caught!” I turned around and saw him holding a mess of fly line and a rod and reel. Well knowing that my friend Ron had lost his rod very near to where we were fishing and seeing the previously red (now pinkish) reel, I knew immediately who it belonged to.

Photo by Keith Robbins

We took the rod and reel back to the house, washed everything thoroughly and the reel seemed to work fine. albeit faded. The rod sat on my table for the next three days. Every day, I told Roger to take the waterlogged, dirty fly off and use it, as he was having a tough tarpon trip and needed to change his luck.

After three days and one final shrug, he clipped the fly off the rod, cleaned it up and used it on his last day. With only an hour left in his trip and no hookups, he finally tied on the found fly and the second fish he threw it at inhaled the fly. He was off to the races on his only hookup of the trip.

Photo by Ed Sozinho

Photo by Ed Sozinho

about the authors & photogapher

Ron Monaco lives in New York and travels for fish: "I’ve been a fisherman since I was 14. Started with bass fishing in lakes and trout in streams.  I moved to salt water when I was 18 and never looked back. I chased blues and stripers for many years and still do. But in 1986 my life changed. I went to the keys with my very good friend Captain John Sheehan and he introduced me to tarpon, permit and bonefish. We used spin rods and reels for about 6 years. I started fly fishing for them around 1992 and have been ever since. My first rod was a Sage RPL 990-4 and all my rods are still from the Sage family. I love chasing albies in the fall in New England and tarpon in the spring in the Keys."

Captain Keith Robbins is a Seattle-based fly fishing guide and Sage Elite Pro.  In his words:  "I have been fishing the waters of Puget Sound since before my father would let me hold a rod. I always wanted to be a fishing guide since we went fishing with a guide when I was a kid in British Columbia. Since 1992 I have been the only guide in the State of Washington that features both Saltwater Fly Fishing and Light Tackle "Mooching" (a bait fishing technique that was developed in Puget Sound in the 1930's). I love fishing for the largest population of wild trout in the US. The sea run cutthroat is the best fishery in Puget Sound and it is rare to see another angler fishing when we are fishing from the boat. When I have a day off from guiding I go fishing whether it is mooching for King Salmon, Fly Fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat trout in Puget Sound or Fly Fishing for Tarpon in the Florida Keys it's what I do. No, I don't golf." Learn more about Keith and his guiding on his website or his Instagram account.
Photographer/Director Ed Sozinho specializes in creating images that capture a sense of place that transport the viewer to be a part of the action.  His use of light and color shape and define his subjects and their environment.  Ed's strong architectural background, coupled with his love for the outdoors lends for strong hospitality, sports and environmental portraits.  His work can be seen in advertising campaigns to editorial stories.  See more of Ed's work on his website or his Instagram account.
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