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Break a Pole for Good Luck

Outdoor Florida Magazine
April, 2002


By Capt. Ariel Cabrera

Whoever said you had to break a leg to be lucky? How about a push pole? I'm not superstitious, and I don't read my horoscope, but this is one true fish story.

After a long day of fishing for snook with Tom Domack and Herbert Newton, we decided to try shark fishing before calling it quits. I had planned to stake out the edge of a flat near the Flamingo marina with my push pole, but one of the brackets securing the pole had broken while the boat was planing and it was flung into the water. When we returned to recover the pole it had cracked in two. I was left with no choice but to anchor.

We anchored near the Flamingo Marina in about four feet of water with the simple intention of bringing in a blacktip shark. No strategic position was needed because we would lure the sharks with chum. This would be a piece of cake, right? Especially since we put out fresh bait on a twelve-pound outfit.

Within five minutes Tom was stirred by the quick run and leap of a shark. I fired the engine and Herbert assisted in lifting the anchor rapidly in order to retrieve line from the half-empty spool. The shark made two more jumps but we couldn't get a close look at it. We noticed this shark was acting strangely - it would make a run and then come towards the boat. When it neared the boat it would cross underneath, making handling tough. I was getting nervous but Tom instinctively lowered the rod practically all the way down beneath the waterline both instances the shark went under.

The shark ended up being a 17-pound snook. What a catch! What are the chances of breaking a push pole and catching a 17-pound snook on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, aboard my green-colored skiff? This was Tom Domack's first snook and my first broken push pole. It was our lucky day!

This push pole was no ordinary tool either. It was a G. Loomis graphite model that fly fishing pioneer and legend Captain Bill Curtis had given me about six years ago when I bought his old Jon boat. I was hoping this pole would be around as long as this well-respected guide has been - he's now in his late seventies and still fishing. Thank you, Bill.

 
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