Written by Bob Maehrlein
Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:17
Every weekend for many years now, Patricia Allan has eased her boat, Mr. Fish II, down the launch ramp and into the briny water at the dock in Sewaren, NJ.Â In that respect, this past Saturday morning was no different than any other, but it would soon turn out to be a day many anglers dream of.Â It would also be one that would bring back a flood of great memories.
Patricia's love of fishing started at a very young age.Â Her father, Robert Allan, was an avid fisherman and shared his passion for fishing with the family.Â Recalled Patricia, As far back as I can remember I have fished with my dad - my entire family actually, four brothers and sisters, and Mom, who might have been the best fisherman of us all.
She recounted how some of her earliest memories were of her dad taking the whole family to fish all the way at the end of the Long Branch Pier, until a major fire and subsequent storms took it down for good.Â With the pier gone the family's outings moved to the Sandy Hook surf.Â That is, until Mr. Allan decided they needed a boat.Â And just like that, the Allan family became boaters.
Patricia spent many days on that boat with her dad throughout the years.Â He taught me everything I know about fishing and boating.Â I go out every weekend launching at the Sewaren Dock, sometimes by myself, and the men there cannot believe how well I handle the boat; launching, docking, trailerin it all by myself.Â I owe all of that to my Dad.
Sadly, Patricia lost her dad just a few years ago, at the age of 79.Â She thinks of him often when she's out on the water.Â Just a few weeks ago, when she caught a four pound fluke, she gazed up and saw an upside down rainbow that looked just like a boat in the sky.Â It immediately reminded Patricia of her dad.Â I thought there he is, my Dad on his boat fishing right along with me. she said.
This Saturday, after securing a pint of killies for bait and splashing the center console in the water, Patricia began motoring out to one of her favorite fishing spots.Â As she arrived there she checked her tackle.Â She used a straight simple rig, the way her father showed her.Â It consisted of a three way swivel, two ounce weight and a long leader with a 2/0 gold hook on the end.
She baited up and began fishing the incoming tide.Â It was not long before she felt a tremendous tug on the line.Â I got a hit and, at first, I thought it was a bluefish since it ran a little.Â Then the pole twisted and I thought for sure it was a skate.Â But when I saw the weight and what was floating in the water, my knees knocked, I got a pit in my stomach and looked around for someone forgetting I was alone.Â So, I took my time, pole in one hand, net in the other and next thing I knew it was in the boat and I couldn't believe it!
What Patricia couldn't believe was the size of the fluke she had just landed.Â It was possibly a ten pound fish and definitely the largest she had ever caught.Â Her thoughts immediately went back to her father.Â I started to get teary eyed wishing that my Dad was with me right at this moment.Â I called my mom and we hooted and hollered for a moment or two, and then, she added with a smile, I had to get back to fishing, of course.
And she did just that, staying out a good deal longer and having a fabulous time catching many more fish that day.Â
When Patricia got back to the dock, she showed her friends the trophy flounder.Â Astounded at the size of it, they encouraged her to weigh it in at the local restaurant.Â The official weight on the digital scale was 10.2 pounds - a true doormat fluke and enough to win her a free dinner as well.
Enjoy the dinner Patricia.Â I?m sure your dad would have been very proud!