My grandson Gabe, when he was 14 years old, was hit by a car. The car was traveling at 55 miles per hour and hit him as he was getting on the school bus at 6:30 am. The impact of the hit knocked off both his shoes as it propelled him into the stationary school bus. His left Tibia was broken and also his pelvis in 4 places. He also received a bad gash on his scull with a serious traumatic brain injury that left him unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital where he was in intensive care for several days. A Titanium rod was permanently inserted into his femur. He went through rehab for months and although he has mostly recovered, he is unable to do long distance running which was his passion. He also still has some difficulty from the concussion. Great thanks to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, for their fantastic care of him. Once the Dr’s gave him clearance to go kayak fishing, about a year later, I put him in the front of my double seated NuCanoe Fronteer12 and we headed for a hidden lake through a Mangrove tunnel .
Gabe is an avid fly angler and we have been fishing partners since he was a toddler. We hit several spots back in the Mangroves that usually hold numerous Snook. He only caught one small Snook after several hours of casting. I could tell Gabe was getting tired and his energy fading when we came to one last Mangrove shore line where I had caught Snook in the past. I encouraged Gabe to keep casting and told him it was just a matter of time before he got a hook up. The lake was very shallow, only a foot to two feet deep. The afternoon sun was bright but the Mangrove shoreline created a shadow line that I knew could be a safe haven for any Snook in the lake.
Gabe made a long cast back into the shadows. He made several strips of the little minnow pattern and then he got a violent strike in about 1.5 feel of water. Fortunately the Snook ran out into the center of the lake and made a jump instead of heading into the Mangroves. Gabe’s reel was screaming and he got his knuckles knocked from the reel as the fish made several powerful runs back toward the Mangrove shoreline and jumped a second and then a third time. I began paddling hard, trying to keep up with the Snook as Gabe’s whole fly line was out the end of his rod and into the backing. Gabe was able to keep the Snook from going back into the overhanging Mangroves and out of the roots. Finally the Snook, exhausted from the battle, turned over and slipped into the net.
In the shallow water we both got out of the kayak and took a couple pictures and released the giant Snook. It was 30″ long and very thick. Then we hugged each other in the midst of that hidden lake, and filled with joy and awe were thankful to God for healing, for life, for that great Snook, and being able to fish together. A memory made forever!
3 thoughts on “THE GIFT OF A SNOOK”
Wonderful story, Jim! Good Grandpa!!
WOW Jimmy, truly a gift from the Universe! Hope to see you soon on my private river in New Mexico.