Howdy, friends and fellow anglers. I would like to dedicate this week’s article to my father, Old Tight Line, or Capt. Allen Friley Branch, a great fisherman and fine father. This one’s for you, Dad.
I thought I would take a look back at the last fishing trip I made with my father. Back then, Dad still was working a couple of days a week at Half-Moon Marina. This particular morning, all he had to do was open, so he said, “Hoss” — that’s what he used to call me. Anyway, he told me to have that boat in the water and be at the marina at 7 a.m.
It was a nice spring day, still just a little bit cool early in the morning. Now back when Dad owned the marina, he always would take me and David Bush, Mike Wilson — or whoever was staying the weekend at the coast — fishing with him. But the difference back then is he would drop us off on the shell bank at the Timmons River or on the north end of St. Catharines with some rods, dead bait and a 5-gallon bucket. He didn’t want anyone getting in the way of him catching fish. Of course, my friends and I always caught a mess of croaker or whiting and sometimes flounder.
Back to the trip. That day, we fished a drop not far from the fishing camp that I had passed by many a time but never had fished. As we eased along the bank, Dad said to slip the anchor out and fish straight behind the boat about 4 feet deep.
Well, friends, it was not long before we were catching trout, and they were nice. As the tide was coming in, we broke for a bite to eat. Old Tight Line said, “When the tide is up in the grass over the shells, I want you to slide that rubber band down to the top of the cork. Then throw it in as close to the grass as you can.” That did it — my cork went down as soon as it hit the water. Folks, we started catching spottail bass as quick as you could get it out there. It does not take long to catch the limit with two people fishing. But man, they were biting hot and heavy.
Well, finally, Daddy said, “Hold up, we got enough.” It was hard to stop, but we did. When all was said and done, we had 28 trout and 10 bass. It was a day I will remember forever. When I grew up at the fishing camp, I remember our door always was open, be it your boat was broken down or you needed your car jumped off or just a bag of ice.
I learned the tight-line life from my Dad, and I am proud to carry on the tradition of living it on the coast.
So remember what Old Tight Line always said: “Get out there and go fishing, and if you do remember to always keep a tight line.” That’s it from the coast.
Living the tight-line life,
Tight Line Jr.