A Marked Fisherman

You can spot a true fisherman after a couple of seconds. It is something in the way they carry themselves. I believe the youngsters call it “swagger.” It is no different than someone playing the guitar, dribbling a basketball, or swinging a golf club. When someone is born with the natural ability or has practiced long enough, it is going to show. Just about every man, woman, and child that steps foot on my boat; claims to be an expert fisherman (myself included). It doesn’t matter how much you paid for your sunglasses, how many rods you own, or how far you have traveled to fish. If you ain’t got it, you ain’t got it.

For me, I can always spot the real deal fishermen by how they talk during a hot bite, or with a fish on the line. A seasoned saltwater veteran will not stutter when telling a story. I have had anglers shut down all communications to reel in a 6-inch white trout. On the other hand, I have had fishermen tell me their entire life story, during an every cast bite. I would attribute this to the confidence in knowing that if they lose that fish, another one will bite sooner or later.

I wanted to know how people who spend their lives in and around boats, fishing and the on water could spot the “genuine article.” What is it that they see that tells them; this person has got “it?” I called a couple of my hardcore, full-time, salt-water badass buddies to find out one thing. What is a marked fisherman? Here are there answers, enjoy….

Capt Lenny Maliotesi – Fighting Chicken Fishing Charters – Ocean Springs, MS

“When you have a fisherman that understands how to keep a bait on the bottom (150-300 feet)  then the boat is drifting in rough seas. When they can let line out, or take line to keep there bait down there and out of the motors. Its hard to teach, cause you have to feel it to understand it”.

Mac Delaup – Owner Cast-A-Way Rods, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear, and American Rodsmiths – Houston, TX

“When you see someone keeping only the fish they plan on eating, and releasing the rest for the next generation. Boating and Fishing is the savior of the soul, no matter where in Gods country you manage to enjoy it”.

Justin Roland – Owner of Long Beach Tackle Box – Long Beach, MS

“When those guys stay out all night, but can still beat me to the bait shop before I open. After all that, and they can still get to Cat Island before the sun comes up. Those guys are true fishermen.”

Capt Eli Underhill – Owner & Operator of F/V Atlas – Underhill Marine LLC – Sitka, Alaska

 “When I think of a really good fisherman, this passage always comes to mind:

I will always be a fisherman.
It’s not something I do,
It’s who I am.
Fishing is not an escape.
It is where I belong…
Where I am supposed to be.
It is not a place,
but a lifelong journey.

It is a passage my grandfather showed me,
and one that I will show others.
When you understand all of this,
you will know me, and we will fish together”.

Al Jones – Fish and Game Reporter – WLOX News – South Mississippi

“It seems the real good ones get really stubborn. They will keep casting to that same spot over an over to get that one fish to bite. Takes a lot of confidence to stick with it like that”

Captain Hunter Caballero – Paradise Outfitters – Venice, LA

“You can spot who knows what they’re doing when they pick up that spinning rod. If they hold that sucker upside down, you know they have not been doing their homework. The ones that pick that spinner up and launch that popper with perfect form, that is when you know you got a winner”.

One of the coolest things about spending my days on the water is not so much fishing with hardcore, seasoned veterans. It is watching a newcomer evolve into the “real deal”. They eventually begin learning to move around the boat in rough seas, tying a difficult knot, or how to make that perfect cast. No matter how good we think we are at fishing, we all got our start somewhere. Only a true idiot claims to know everything, there will always be more to learn. 

If you are new to fishing, your best bet is to hop on a charter boat. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open. If you have an open spot on your boat, why not invite a newbie. If they are welcome to learn, teach them what you know. That’s the beauty of fishing and being on the water, you will never be able to learn it all or teach it all. Just enjoy it, have fun and be safe.”

Captain Sonny Schindler
Shore Thing Fishing Charters
Bay St Louis, MS