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What's Your Best Beginner's Luck Fishing Story?

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September 12, 2012

What's Your Best Beginner's Luck Fishing Story?

By Joe Cermele

A few nights ago I got an invite from Captain Mike Briel of West Wind Outfitters to join him and Jersey duck guide Dave Steckley on the Delaware River for a few hours of bowfishing. I was pretty pumped, because a) I had no idea anyone bowfished what I consider my home river and b) it was a fishing style I had never tried. My good friend and "Hook Shots" regular Eric Kerber, another bowfishing rookie, also came along. So I'll cut right to the chase. The second arrow Eric ever let fly at a fish in his life connected with 52 pounds of grass carp. As it turned out, it was one of the biggest fish Captain Mike ever had on his boat. 

I nor Eric hit another fish all night, though shots were pretty limited because of not-so-perfect water clarity. Ironically, the gentleman that taught Eric to carp fish with a rod and reel many years ago had recently passed away, so Eric immediately attributed his awesome beginner's luck to his fallen carp mentor. "This one came from Ken," he said as we were shooting pictures of the beast. 

Next to Eric's monster grass carp, the second most impressive beginner's luck fish I've witnessed had to be the 600-pound blue marlin F&S gun dog blogger Chad Love caught on camera a few years ago. The guy's from Oklahoma and had never been offshore in his life. We caught one fish and one fish only that day, and I'm still not entirely sure that when he was handed the rod, Chad realized the marlin on the other end was a caliber anglers spend their whole lives trying to catch.

Your turn. What's your best beginner's luck story?

Comments (14)

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

I'm not so sure about Kerber's shot being beginners luck. Just from the photo I could tell the guy is a natural athlete. Sometime's it's difficult to recognize because they are so humble.

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from mountaindew732 wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

I took my girlfriend out fishing for the very first time to the bank of the North branch of the Susquehanna. It was a spot I always go but never seem to turn up anything special except for maybe some 20+inch channel cats or smallies. She had never been fishing before and I was really hoping to get her to catch one fish to get her interested in what I love. I didn't have a proper set up for her, but I gave her my 4 1/2 ' ultralight rod and told her to pick a lure. Well she insisted on the pink worm because it is her favorite color. So i load up my gear and start casting after showing her the basics and a few minutes later I hear her yelling she got one. I turn and see her holding this ultralight setup with a 30" pike splashing in the shallows with a pink worm hanging out of its mouth. Not only was it shocking because it was her first fish, but also because it was the first pike I have ever seen landed at this spot. Needless to say, Now she is hooked and never fails to remind me who can catch the bigger fish

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from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

What a lunker! And I'm not talking about Eric either.

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from -Bob wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Wow…that’s a monster. Congrats, Eric!

I have a question, and I hope it’s taken in the correct spirit – what do you do with all of that carpmeat now? Aside from the odd “Iron Chef” episode where they whip up a batch of carp ice cream, I don’t know of anyone eating it.

Is there some whiz-bang carp recipe out there, or is this beast destined to be the basis for next year’s tomato garden? Just curious. -Bob

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from Joe_Cermele wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

-Bob, I can't speak for any bowfishermen except the ones I was with. They give all the meat to a few local families that love the stuff. What they do with it or how they cook it I don't know and I don't really want to know, but at least someone is enjoying it. Captain said the guy he was going to give that fish to was going to flip out over it.

I have seen an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives where Guy Fieri visited an Oklahoma restaurant that's specialty was fried carp. I've never tried it, but I can tell you that grass carp smelled so bad fresh, I can't imagine it tastes great.

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from -Bob wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Thanks. Why do invasive species have to taste sooo bad? Everything ELSE in the world tastes like chicken... -Bob

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from Bassinbick wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Thats Amazing, where was it?

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from santa wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

To Joe and Bob, The diet of the grass carp has a lot to do with the taste. When they are feeding mostly on water hyacinth, the smell of the uncleaned fish is not too bad and the properly cleaned meat is very good with very little to no fishy smell. The biggest trick is in the cleaning. To clean a big grass carp, I never open up the gut cavity. If it has been gut shot with an arrow, then I do not even keep it or clean it. When bow fishing for them I try to shoot them behind the gut cavity. To clean them, I first start by cutting the scales off the top half of the sides starting at the tail with an electric knife. The knife will cut between the scales and the skin leaving the skin on the fish. The scales will come off in long strips and look simular to a shed snake skin. Then I cut the tender loin section off the back of the fish by following the lateral line on the side and cutting down to the back bone and cutting in from the top of the fish following the back bone. This leaves the rest of the fish whole and ungutted. I then take the two back straps and cut the skin and absolutely every bit of dark meat off. If the tiniest bit of the dark meat is left on, the meat will have an very strong taste. The meat can then be fried and is very good. I like to marinade it, then grill it in tin foil and sereve it to people and let them guess what it is. Most people honestly think it is grilled pork because it has little to no fish taste. I do not waste the rest of the carcass because I put it to good use by burying it under one of my fruit trees to act as fertilizer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kenton wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

A few years ago we were fishing for largemouths when we ran across a pack of huge muskies. We hooked into several just before dark so we marked the spot on my GPS. While we have lots of experience with bass and pike none of us had ever caught a muskie. Over the next 3 days we landed 4 with 2 of them being over 50 inches. All were caught using bass tackle, Shimano 2500 reels and Ugly Stick Light rods. The pics are on my profile page...

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from ALJoe wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

First time I ever went redfishing I hooked up with a 28 pounder on the very first cast. Not a bad way to start and I guess that helps explain why I've been hooked ever since. First evening of my very first mule deer hunt I connected with a deer that most people only dream about. He was a thirty incher with fifteen scorable points. On public land too.

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from benjaminwc wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Not exactly a beginners luck story but, it is good. Once upon a time when I was younger and in much better shape I was attending Ricks College, now BYUI, in Southeastern Idaho. Fall was a time of excitement, adventure, and the opportunity to date a whole new bunch of girls…when I wasn’t hunting or fishing. Sometimes though the two could overlap. I got to know girl from western Idaho and found out she liked to fly fish. Bonus. So I asked her out one day to go fly fishing on the south fork of the Snake. Unfortunately she was going fishing with her dad and brothers who were visiting….hmmm. So I went anyway and had a great day under a blue clear sky and the fish were doing a great job of munching on the hopper fly I was tossing ‘em. Bout a month later I asked if she wanted to go fishing again. She said yes. The night before we were to go I called to reconfirm with her. This is how it went; “Oh I’m sorry I thought you were another Ben when I said yes, and so I am going out with that other Ben. I’m sorry.” Double hmmmmmmm. Maybe another time I ask, she said that would be fun. Yes the fishing was great. No kidding it was just dang good. October arrives. I am beginning to form a hypothesis. Hypotheses need testing. My dad and I are going elk hunting. A polite call, a polite excuse. And 20 minutes off the pavement, my pop and I shoot two rag horns. Eureka! Later in the semester after Thanksgiving a friend of mine wants to try a section of the Teton River. While talking about it, I make a call. He asks what am I doing, I say asking a girl out on a date, he has a look of utter betrayal. I say no, no, it’s alright, you’ll see. Once again a polite call, a polite excuse. Blah, blah, blah. It was grotesque Joe. They were just stacked in this hole, Browns, Rainbows, Brookes. I B.S. you not. We were using lures, sorry Kirk, and we probably snagged more fish then actually “caught”. We had the time of our lives that afternoon. Fast forward three years. I am now at USU. I’m sitting in class with another friend, and I notice a familiar face. Hmmmmmm. A mischievous grin grows across my face. I reintroduce myself, idle chit-chat, a polite invitation, a polite excuse. Victory! A pretty good day on the river. Not spectacular, but another crisp fall day under a million miles of blue sky, and fish that just won’t leave my hopper pattern alone.

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from FOX wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

For years now i have been helping out at a youth field day but last years took the cake as a boy of only 6 or 8 caught one of the two, two and a half foot long grass carp i was later to learn that it was his first time fishing. i did however have to lean in and say to the boy who's smile now wrapped around his head to remember this day because that is the fish of a life time. That is true beginners luck but it couldn't have happened to a better kid.

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from santa wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Joe, Please click on my profile to see some old 1980's pictures I dug up of me cleaning a carp. They show how to cut the scales off and removing the tenderloin.

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from davidbrandt08 wrote 41 weeks 1 day ago

heres my beginners luck story...About a month ago i was trolling for some walleye with rapalas with two of my friends, after about 4 hrs of fishing we looked at the gas tank and were down to about 1/2 gallon of gas so we decided to start working our way back to the boat launch, while the other two guys were switching to spinnerbaits to do a little bass fishing on the last quarter mile ride back to the boat launch, I said screw that and kept the rapala on... I made my first cast toward some cattails and the second my lure hit the water something major hit the bait, when i set the hook all i could see was about a 4 foot (northern pike looking) shape turn sideways, so after about 10 mins of fighting this massive fish i hear the boat motor quit and my friend starts cussing up a storm (we had been using the motor to keep us from getting stuck in the cattails that the fish was caught in) after about another 5 mins of fighting the fish (using a oar to steer the boat)we landed a 41 1/2" muskie (biggest fish of my life!)caught on a med/lite walleye rod with 15 lb test and on a 6" rapala (of course i bought it the day before and the rapala was destroyed). and last bad news of the story the lake had a 42" muskie slot so it had to be released, but adlease i got some pictures

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Post a Comment

from buckhunter wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

I'm not so sure about Kerber's shot being beginners luck. Just from the photo I could tell the guy is a natural athlete. Sometime's it's difficult to recognize because they are so humble.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mountaindew732 wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

I took my girlfriend out fishing for the very first time to the bank of the North branch of the Susquehanna. It was a spot I always go but never seem to turn up anything special except for maybe some 20+inch channel cats or smallies. She had never been fishing before and I was really hoping to get her to catch one fish to get her interested in what I love. I didn't have a proper set up for her, but I gave her my 4 1/2 ' ultralight rod and told her to pick a lure. Well she insisted on the pink worm because it is her favorite color. So i load up my gear and start casting after showing her the basics and a few minutes later I hear her yelling she got one. I turn and see her holding this ultralight setup with a 30" pike splashing in the shallows with a pink worm hanging out of its mouth. Not only was it shocking because it was her first fish, but also because it was the first pike I have ever seen landed at this spot. Needless to say, Now she is hooked and never fails to remind me who can catch the bigger fish

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

What a lunker! And I'm not talking about Eric either.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Wow…that’s a monster. Congrats, Eric!

I have a question, and I hope it’s taken in the correct spirit – what do you do with all of that carpmeat now? Aside from the odd “Iron Chef” episode where they whip up a batch of carp ice cream, I don’t know of anyone eating it.

Is there some whiz-bang carp recipe out there, or is this beast destined to be the basis for next year’s tomato garden? Just curious. -Bob

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

-Bob, I can't speak for any bowfishermen except the ones I was with. They give all the meat to a few local families that love the stuff. What they do with it or how they cook it I don't know and I don't really want to know, but at least someone is enjoying it. Captain said the guy he was going to give that fish to was going to flip out over it.

I have seen an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives where Guy Fieri visited an Oklahoma restaurant that's specialty was fried carp. I've never tried it, but I can tell you that grass carp smelled so bad fresh, I can't imagine it tastes great.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Thanks. Why do invasive species have to taste sooo bad? Everything ELSE in the world tastes like chicken... -Bob

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassinbick wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Thats Amazing, where was it?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

To Joe and Bob, The diet of the grass carp has a lot to do with the taste. When they are feeding mostly on water hyacinth, the smell of the uncleaned fish is not too bad and the properly cleaned meat is very good with very little to no fishy smell. The biggest trick is in the cleaning. To clean a big grass carp, I never open up the gut cavity. If it has been gut shot with an arrow, then I do not even keep it or clean it. When bow fishing for them I try to shoot them behind the gut cavity. To clean them, I first start by cutting the scales off the top half of the sides starting at the tail with an electric knife. The knife will cut between the scales and the skin leaving the skin on the fish. The scales will come off in long strips and look simular to a shed snake skin. Then I cut the tender loin section off the back of the fish by following the lateral line on the side and cutting down to the back bone and cutting in from the top of the fish following the back bone. This leaves the rest of the fish whole and ungutted. I then take the two back straps and cut the skin and absolutely every bit of dark meat off. If the tiniest bit of the dark meat is left on, the meat will have an very strong taste. The meat can then be fried and is very good. I like to marinade it, then grill it in tin foil and sereve it to people and let them guess what it is. Most people honestly think it is grilled pork because it has little to no fish taste. I do not waste the rest of the carcass because I put it to good use by burying it under one of my fruit trees to act as fertilizer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kenton wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

A few years ago we were fishing for largemouths when we ran across a pack of huge muskies. We hooked into several just before dark so we marked the spot on my GPS. While we have lots of experience with bass and pike none of us had ever caught a muskie. Over the next 3 days we landed 4 with 2 of them being over 50 inches. All were caught using bass tackle, Shimano 2500 reels and Ugly Stick Light rods. The pics are on my profile page...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ALJoe wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

First time I ever went redfishing I hooked up with a 28 pounder on the very first cast. Not a bad way to start and I guess that helps explain why I've been hooked ever since. First evening of my very first mule deer hunt I connected with a deer that most people only dream about. He was a thirty incher with fifteen scorable points. On public land too.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from benjaminwc wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Not exactly a beginners luck story but, it is good. Once upon a time when I was younger and in much better shape I was attending Ricks College, now BYUI, in Southeastern Idaho. Fall was a time of excitement, adventure, and the opportunity to date a whole new bunch of girls…when I wasn’t hunting or fishing. Sometimes though the two could overlap. I got to know girl from western Idaho and found out she liked to fly fish. Bonus. So I asked her out one day to go fly fishing on the south fork of the Snake. Unfortunately she was going fishing with her dad and brothers who were visiting….hmmm. So I went anyway and had a great day under a blue clear sky and the fish were doing a great job of munching on the hopper fly I was tossing ‘em. Bout a month later I asked if she wanted to go fishing again. She said yes. The night before we were to go I called to reconfirm with her. This is how it went; “Oh I’m sorry I thought you were another Ben when I said yes, and so I am going out with that other Ben. I’m sorry.” Double hmmmmmmm. Maybe another time I ask, she said that would be fun. Yes the fishing was great. No kidding it was just dang good. October arrives. I am beginning to form a hypothesis. Hypotheses need testing. My dad and I are going elk hunting. A polite call, a polite excuse. And 20 minutes off the pavement, my pop and I shoot two rag horns. Eureka! Later in the semester after Thanksgiving a friend of mine wants to try a section of the Teton River. While talking about it, I make a call. He asks what am I doing, I say asking a girl out on a date, he has a look of utter betrayal. I say no, no, it’s alright, you’ll see. Once again a polite call, a polite excuse. Blah, blah, blah. It was grotesque Joe. They were just stacked in this hole, Browns, Rainbows, Brookes. I B.S. you not. We were using lures, sorry Kirk, and we probably snagged more fish then actually “caught”. We had the time of our lives that afternoon. Fast forward three years. I am now at USU. I’m sitting in class with another friend, and I notice a familiar face. Hmmmmmm. A mischievous grin grows across my face. I reintroduce myself, idle chit-chat, a polite invitation, a polite excuse. Victory! A pretty good day on the river. Not spectacular, but another crisp fall day under a million miles of blue sky, and fish that just won’t leave my hopper pattern alone.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FOX wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

For years now i have been helping out at a youth field day but last years took the cake as a boy of only 6 or 8 caught one of the two, two and a half foot long grass carp i was later to learn that it was his first time fishing. i did however have to lean in and say to the boy who's smile now wrapped around his head to remember this day because that is the fish of a life time. That is true beginners luck but it couldn't have happened to a better kid.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 31 weeks ago

Joe, Please click on my profile to see some old 1980's pictures I dug up of me cleaning a carp. They show how to cut the scales off and removing the tenderloin.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidbrandt08 wrote 41 weeks 1 day ago

heres my beginners luck story...About a month ago i was trolling for some walleye with rapalas with two of my friends, after about 4 hrs of fishing we looked at the gas tank and were down to about 1/2 gallon of gas so we decided to start working our way back to the boat launch, while the other two guys were switching to spinnerbaits to do a little bass fishing on the last quarter mile ride back to the boat launch, I said screw that and kept the rapala on... I made my first cast toward some cattails and the second my lure hit the water something major hit the bait, when i set the hook all i could see was about a 4 foot (northern pike looking) shape turn sideways, so after about 10 mins of fighting this massive fish i hear the boat motor quit and my friend starts cussing up a storm (we had been using the motor to keep us from getting stuck in the cattails that the fish was caught in) after about another 5 mins of fighting the fish (using a oar to steer the boat)we landed a 41 1/2" muskie (biggest fish of my life!)caught on a med/lite walleye rod with 15 lb test and on a 6" rapala (of course i bought it the day before and the rapala was destroyed). and last bad news of the story the lake had a 42" muskie slot so it had to be released, but adlease i got some pictures

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment