Chad Love: How Field & Stream Ruined My Life

By now many of you know I recently smuggled a loaded New Jersey horseshoe crab past the eyes of the … Continued

By now many of you know I recently smuggled a loaded New Jersey horseshoe crab past the eyes of the TSA and on to an airplane. But several of you asked what I – a lifelong landlocked Oklahoma boy – was doing in New Jersey in the first place.

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Two reasons. One, I had a strong hunch about the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa. Two, I’ve never (as in never, ever) caught a saltwater fish. I didn’t find Jimmy, but oh boy did I find saltwater fishing. If you haven’t yet seen it, do yourself a favor and go over to Joe Cermele and John Merwin’s Honest Angler blog and watch Joe’s latest “Hook Shots” video. It is simply epic.

Which brings up a couple problems. Big problems. You see, most addicts, whatever their addiction, start out with the small stuff, the so-called “gateway” activities. They break themselves in gently before graduating to the hard-core mind-blowing stuff. Like most of you I’m addicted to fishing, and I would have been quite happy breaking into the salt by sitting on a dock with a bobber and catching tourist fish. But thanks to Joe and the guys at F&S I just got a big dose of saltwater fishing’s most highly-addictive narcotic.

Now I don’t know if blue marlin has a street name, but I do know that mankind has not yet invented the drug that can compare to the feeling of watching such a fish rip line off your reel as it leaps across the blue ocean horizon. That experience doesn’t merely etch itself into your memory, it sears itself, and in the process turns you into a quivering, haunted wreck of a man who only wants more, more.

Which brings up problem number two. According to Mapquest I live 633.64 miles away from the nearest saltwater, so how to feed this new-found addiction? You don’t. You just try to go cold turkey and forget about it. Break the habit. The pain, the longing, will eventually subside, right? Until, of course, you’re sitting around the boat afterward talking and Nate Matthews and Joe Cermele both say “hey, you should come up this spring when the big stripers are running!”

So thanks, guys. You’ve ruined my life. I hope you’re happy.