We were having a great time down at the pier, although we weren't catching anything. I caught a crab, and Jess caught a stingray and a croaker. We were about to give up and shut down for the night when something hit Leo's line and doubled his pole over. Wow...we were sure it was a big stingray, but those are always fun when they want to battle, so Leo got ready for the fight. About that time, my line hit with the same force. Now it looked like we both were up for a bit of a battle.
Now Jess is by far the most experienced fisherman among us, so he went into full coaching mode. "Don't worry about the drag...it's fine." "Don't fight him...just keep tension on the line and he'll wear out before you do." "Keep your pole up...don't point the line at him or he'll get away." It was all good advice and we were thankful for it.
About 5 minutes into my battle, my fish took a run toward us. I was keeping up, and even saw a fin break the surface, although he was running parallel to the dock and heading for the grass. Then, all of a sudden, my line broke. My battle was over.
Leo was sweating by now, and the sun was going down. We usually don't stay out past this point in the evening as the critters and snakes start to come out, and it's a long walk back to the house in the dark. But...we couldn't give up yet. Even a good stingray would have been a welcome sight. What a battle this guy put up! Twenty minutes later, when we saw him break the surface, we realized this was not a stingray at all. By the time Leo was able to wear him out enough for Jess to net him, we saw Leo had landed an incredibly large (considering we fish from a dock in our own back yard) black drum.
Of course, we had no camera with us, so we put the big guy in a live well while Jess made a run up to his house for a camera (mine is in Houston). By the time he got back, we were taking photos and measurements in the dark, but with a little bit of work we got all the details. This guy was 36" long and weighed a bit over 25 lbs. Although he had been in our custody for a while, because of the live well, we were able to get him back into the water and watch him make a few faltering attempts before he was strong enough to swim away. What a battle and what a good time! Here are the photos: