Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. Slate Drakes
2. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Summer Stones)
3. Needle Stoneflies
4. Mahogany Duns
5. Little Yellow Quills
Most available - Other types of food:
6. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
7. Inch Worms
Fishing Tales - An Even Better Marlin Fishing/Newspaper Story
Although it has nothing to do with fly fishing Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I
received a lot of comments and email about last week's marlin fishing/newspaper story.
So, I thought it appropriate to top that story with an even better marlin/newspaper story.
I met Mr. Tom O'Connell in 1982, when I volunteered to be an observer for an IBL or
International Billfish League, tournament held in Destin, Florida. The IBL tournaments
were the first ever tag and release marlin tournaments with big money prizes. I think the
first place prize was $100,000.00 but there were other prizes and of course, a Calcuta was
also involved. An observer was placed on each boat to witness the action and certify that
the rules were followed and the fish were actually caught, tagged and released. I drew
Tom's boat, a 54 foot Bertram named the Renegade. I don't remember what was caught
during that two day tournament but I do remember the very first conversation I had with
To make a long story short, his company, which specialized in high risk insurance, had to
pay off on a big bass contest held in Texas they had insured for a million bucks. A few
weeks after the guy won the big prize, word got out that he had the big bass staked out
and it was subsequently proven that he had cheated. The problem was, during the time it
took for that to be proven, the guy managed to do away with the prize money. He spent
time in jail but Tom's company was never able to get their money back.
It wasn't that was such a big deal to Tom. I just reminded him of it by telling him that I had
fished professional bass tournaments for five years prior to starting my syndicated TV
series on saltwater fishing that was running at that time. I had to explain the difference in a
big bass contest and B.A.S.S., professional bass tournaments. As it turned out, the time I
spent with him trolling the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico during the next two days
paid off well for me.
I cannot count the number of times I was invited to fish on the Renegade and in many
different locations including a few foreign countries. Sometimes Tom was on the trip,
sometimes I was with other guest, and a few times he just let me use his boat captain and
three man crew. When someone allows you to burn about a thousand bucks a day of fuel
using their million dollar boat and crew, rental vehicles, and other amenities, I think you
should refer to them as a good friend. He was very good to me and gave me the
opportunity to do things that I would otherwise, never been able to do. There wasn't any
use to try to pay for anything. He would have considered it an insult. I was always treated
like a king, not only on the boat, but during the entire trip.
If anyone happened to spot me along with Tom and his crew, they would have had a
difficult time figuring out which one of the group was footing the bill. He often helped my
cameraman carry the heavy TV equipment. That written, I'll assure you he wasn't exactly
impressed with my syndicated TV saltwater fishing show, because he didn't want to be
seen on TV. He did enjoy seeing others fishing on his boat.
The only thing Tom ever got upset at me about was eating too many of his popsicles.
That's a short fishing tale itself. Tom owned two condos in Cozumel with a door between
them. Although one of the condos was completely full of refrigerators and deep freezers
that were kelp full of food and normally, plenty of popsicles, we ran out. According to Tom,
I had eaten them all. I did feel sorry for him about that. He had to send his Falcon 20 jet,
pilot and copilot, from Cozumel to Dallas,Texas, and back to Cozumel, just to get more
popsicles. You may think I'm joking but I am not. Your probably also thinking they have
popsicles in Mexico and they did. The reason for all the freezers and refrigerators was
Tom wouldn't eat or drink anything from Mexico.
And now, the my second newspaper/fishing story in a row.
Back in 1986 and 1987, large commercial banks in the state of Texas were failing and
closing every few days. According to what I can find on the web, between 1987 and
1990,seven of the ten largest commercial banks in Texas failed. During that time, I was
producing a promotional video for the Cayman Island's Million Dollar Month. That
consisted of four different marlin tournaments held during the month of June that year. I
had talked Tom into sending the Renegade down to the Cayman Islands to fish them.
Everything was going good during the month long trip except the Texas oil business
was causing problems for Tom. He wasn't directly involved in the oil business but his huge
insurance company had most of their money in one of the large Texas banks that was
being affected by the bad oil business taking place at the time.
Tom liked to say that he worked only three days a year. He had to visit the people at
Lloyd's of London to confirm his re-insurance. Other than that, his work consist of making
a few calls from the boat, or from one of his many homes, or from wherever he may be.
We were trolling offshore the Cayman Islands when he kelp getting calls about the bank
situation in Texas. This had been going on for a few days but on that particular day his
office insisted that he come to Dallas to close their main bank account. None of the
officers in his company has the authority to do that. Each of them had limits on their
banking authority. He was told that the bank may close any day and that if he didn't come
and close their company accounts, they stood a chance of losing a lot of money.
He was very upset about it. Not upset that the bank accounts had to be closed, but upset
that he had to leave the Caymans and go to Texas to do that. Of course, that's not much
of a time consuming trip when you have your own Falcon 20 jet and a pilot and co-pilot on
standby always ready to go. Tom was back fishing with us two days later. I was left to do
the fishing. I wasn't upset about it. I had plenty of popcycles to keep cool in case I needed
to go outside of the air conditioned saloon and fight a big fish.
Oh yea, the newspaper part.
Tom was back from Dallas and we were pulling away from the dock for another day of
fishing. As we were running offshore, he was reading a newspaper that his secretary had
sent him via FedX. When he finished, he handed it to me and walked outside on the deck.
On the headlines of the front page of the Dallas newspaper was an article about another
large Texas bank closing. According to the article, the bank closed because its largest
customer, Tom's Insurance company, closed their accounts. Tom had flown to Dallas,
closed his accounts and sent his company funds to a bank in New Jersey. I never heard
him mention anything about it that entire day, and I never asked him anything about it. I
knew that wouldn't be a smart move on my part. He wanted to talk about the fishing and
that's what we did for the rest of the day.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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