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?