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John's Journal... Entry 99, Day 1

Chandeleur -- "I'm Alone"

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Many hunters have found that the new Mossy Oak Apparel Treklite brand crosses over two seasons. Lightweight, comfortable and very breathable, this pants and shirt outfit works perfectly for bowhunting in the early fall. In the spring of the year, you can chase turkeys over hills and mountains and still stay cool and comfortable. Yet many hunters don't realize that Treklite also works great for fishing clothes. Roll-up sleeves with a button-down keeper, zip-off legs so that an angler can wear the pants as shorts and fast-drying material make the Treklite suit ideal for the saltwater angler. Mossy Oak Apparel's Treklite promises to help the angler stay cool, prevent sunburn and remain dry. This past week Mossy Oak Apparel field-tested Treklite off Mississippi's Gulf Coast. Read on to learn about the trip and to see Treklite in action.

Although Bill McGinnis of Jackson, Mississippi, turned the handle on his reel, he couldn't recover any line because an enormous fish had stripped all of the gears out of his reel. McGinnis twisted the spool with his hand every time the big fish took a break. But the monster relentlessly tugged on the line. Again and again, the fish dove for the bottom. Soon with no gears in the reel, the drag became totally useless. McGinnis's brute force fought against the fish's brute force with the rod acting as the fulcrum in the middle. Finally, the fish made a hard charge for the bottom. McGinnis held on to the reel and put his back into the rod, but the fish wouldn't give up its fight. When the huge saltwater rod snapped in the middle as though a matchstick, the fight still didn't end. McGinnis held on to the reel and asked Stephanie Mallory of Pelham, Alabama, to hand him a pair of gloves.

click to enlarge Once McGinnis had gloved both hands, he wrapped the 80-pound-test FireLine around one hand and began to pull. Then he took a second wrap with the other hand and pulled. Slowly and steadily, he worked the big fish to the surface -- hand-over-hand -- not the best way to land a monster from the deep, but in this situation the only way. Once again, the struggle appeared to fall in McGinnis's favor, but the big fish on the other end of the line didn't give up without a fight. The fish made one more Herculean run for the bottom. McGinnis lurched to the side of the boat and fought back with all his might. Finally, the inevitable happened. The 80-pound-test FireLine snapped, releasing both combatants from a war neither thought would turn so brutal.

Rig-hopping on the Triton boat and having an opportunity to catch numbers of saltwater fish made up only one part of the adventure on the charter boat "I'm Alone," based out of Pascagoula, Mississippi, and captained by Larry Hayden. Using the large chartreuse-colored jigs with long, curly tails, anglers cast the baits to the Sulphur Rigs straight out from the Chandeleur Islands in more than 200 feet of water. As the jigs fell, whatever fish lived under the rigs attacked. During the first half of the morning, fishermen caught amberjack weighing from 30- to 50-pounds each.

click to enlargeDenise Smith of Killer Bee Bait in Pascagoula, Stephanie Mallory and Dave Northcutt of Missouri, representing ReliefBand, fought the big jacks with the persistence that a bulldog holds on to a tennis ball when someone tries retrieve it from the dog. As soon as the jacks hit the bait, Captain Hayden would immediately reverse the two, 250-horsepower Mercury engines on the Triton boat and help the anglers pull the large AJs away from the rig. Once Hayden pulled the fish into open water, war would wage between each angler and his or her jack until the big fish finally rose to the surface.

The marketing and sales manager of Killer Bee Baits, Denise Smith of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, made her second trip with me this year. Smith never had fished before last year. During her first fishing trip to the Gulf of Mexico, that gremlin that often attacks many first timers known as seasickness started wrapping its arms around Smith. However, since I always carry a ReliefBand in my camera bag. I placed the device on Smith's wrist. In only a few short minutes, the mild electrical charge from the ReliefBand not only gave her relief from her nausea but also enabled her to enjoy fishing the rest of the trip. A year later, Smith, now an avid saltwater angler, still wouldn't get on the boat without her ReliefBand. She wanted to be prepared for a queasy stomach.

click to enlargeTo learn more about the ReliefBand call (888) 718-6900, or go to the company's website, www.reliefband.com. For information on chartering the "I'm Alone," write Captain Larry Hayden at P.O. Box 573, Pascagoula, MS 39568-0573; call him at work at (800) 647-7252 or at home at (228) 392-3290; or, visit the website at www.imalonecharters.com. For more information about fishing off Mississippi's Gulf Coast, call (800) WARMEST or go to the website www.visitmississippi.org.

You can learn more about Mossy Oak's Treklite clothes by going to the company's website at www.mossyoak.com.

TOMORROW: Hidden Treasures




Check back each day this week for more about Treklite's Visit To The Chandeleur Islands ...

Day 1 -Chandeleur -- "I'm Alone"
Day 2 -Hidden Treasures
Day 3 -Why Jacks Are Better
Day 4 -Good Food -- Good Fun
Day 5 -Fishing the Curlew Wreck

John's Journal