Being from Florida, The Fishing Capital of the World, you would assume I was born with a rod in my hand. That is far from the truth. Aside from holidays at the family lake house catching Crappie and Bream with a cane pole, no one in my circle went fishing. It was never high on my list of to-dos, until one day my buddy convinced me to go with him.

When I got the rundown of the day, I thought my friend was crazy! He wanted me to wake up at 5 A.M. on my day off. Of course my initial thought was, “The fish will still be there at 9 or 10”. . Even after all my rebuttal, my friend insisted we head out at 5 AM. He told me, “Suck it up—see you in the morning” and the rest is history.

Armed with rod, popping cork, and big shrimp, I was ready. My first cast only went about 10 yards. I reeled it in and tried it again. After a couple of more casts, a few more shrimp, the cork disappeared! I instantly heard that unmistakable “zing” of the line being pulled off the spool. Lift up, reel down … lift up, reel down” I hear from behind me. With all the grace of a rookie angler I managed to get my first Red Drum in the boat.

Tomorrow is Day 1277…