Backcast Do It Once, Do It Right
IF HIS LUCK DOESN’T CHANGE, SHE MAY NEVER FISH AGAIN. It takes a whole village to raise a child, someone once said, but one fisherman can feed an entire village.
Missy Alwais recently shared the story of her first — and only — fishing trip, which occurred off the coast of Belize about 15 years ago while on vacation with her boyfriend, Jeremy Robinson.
Quick background: Missy grew up a competitive swimmer in San Antonio, the child of a New York dad and Arubaborn mother, neither of whom were the least bit “outdoorsy” to her recollection. Jeremy was raised in suburban Illinois; he wasn’t born into saltwater fishing but discovered his passion for it, in adulthood, after moving to Houston.
The two flew south that summer to rest, relax and recharge alongside the clear Caribbean Sea. A mutual goal, but their definitions varied slightly. Jeremy wanted to be on the water. Missy wanted to be in the water.
So they agreed to split their day on a local charter boat; Missy (ladies first) would snorkel over a coral reef, and Jeremy, during the back half of the day, would fish.
After Missy got her fill of swapping stares with reef fish and turtles, Jeremy settled into the fighting chair as the boat trolled a snaking path down a sharp current change.
Late in the afternoon, the skipper headed toward port. Missy had memories. Jeremy had dinner — a fat dorado that easily would feed the two of them.
Restaurant staff encouraged Jeremy to pass the prep and cooking time by fishing from a nearby pier, and even loaned him tackle and bait. Missy tagged along, because they were (and still are) giddy in love.
Jeremy baited a rod and handed it to his sweetheart in hopes she’d catch her first fish. And before he could hang meat from that second hook, Missy announced that she had a fish.
“I put the end of the pole in my belly button to steady it,” she recalled. “It was really fighting, but I wound it in.”
While Jeremy unhooked that small snapper, Missy held his freshly baited rod — and hooked a second fish. Jeremy hustled to rebait the empty hook and make a cast, then helped his first-time-fishing girlfriend — who handed off her “pole” and grabbed the newly baited one. Her second fish was a grouper, not exceptional but large enough to catch the attention of some women on shore.
The women walked out and asked to keep the grouper. Sure.
“I’ve never fished before,” Missy offered without prompting. “This is fun.”
In exchange for the grouper and any other fish landed, the local women said they would happily bait hooks — for Missy but not for Jeremy, since he already knew how to fish.
Missy let another bait fall, and another nice grouper snapped it up. And then came a fish neither she nor Jeremy could identify but was dropped into the basket with the rest by their new friends.
Jeremy made contributions to the basket as well, but Missy made more. She’d never fished a day in her life, the story went on … and on and on, in Jeremy’s head. She’d catch one, and he’d catch one. She’d get two, and he’d get … oops, that one got away. She’d catch a few more, and he’d catch one.
Since then, the successful couple has revisited Caribbean resorts many times. They even own a coastal home in Galveston now and weekend there often. To this day, however, Missy hasn’t fished again. I asked why. “I can’t yet,” she said with a smile. “It’s still Jeremy’s turn.”