Snarled by Randy Rowley 7/4/19 ©


On a hot and muggy morning in late June, Ryan (my son) and I launched at the Marker 37 Marina in Corpus Christi and headed over to the Packery Channel’s south jetty.  We found a spot devoid of jetty fishermen, turned on my Minn Kota Terrova Riptide’s anchor lock, and started to offer live shrimp, cut bait, and artificial lures.

We caught a few croakers and perch but no game fish.  We soon grew tired of losing our shrimp for no tasty rewards and headed to the large hole just west of the 361 bridge, where the water drops from around seven to 34 feet.  I positioned the boat at an equal distance between the shore fishermen, put on my Riptide’s anchor lock, and started to fish.

We fished for about half an hour and again caught croakers and perch but mostly lost shrimp.  We were just about to try another spot when a couple of bay boats pulled about 25 yards in front of us and started to fish.  A fisherman in the first boat almost immediately had a fish on, and a fisherman in the second boat quickly followed suit.  They both soon landed keeper-sized black drums.

We spent the next 30 minutes watching them catch drum after drum.  They didn’t stay at one spot for long and weaved around each other in what looked like a drunken dance while we continued to catch non-game fish.

Eventually, the crew in one of the boats either grew tired of only catching black drum or ran out of bait and started to head north.   As they neared us, we exchanged pleasantries, and I asked the captain what they were catching them on.  He replied that they were using live shrimp on jigheads and suggested moving my boat closer to the bridge.

Following his advice, I moved forward about 25 yards.  I had never fished a shrimp on a jig head before and wasn’t sure how to go about baiting the hook.  After trying a couple of riggings, I settled on pushing the H&H Lure Double-Eye 1/4 oz. jighead’s hook in below the shrimp’s brain, curling it with the natural curve of its body and then exiting near the tail.  Ryan baited his shrimp the same way, and we resumed fishing.

In short order, Ryan said, “Here we go!” as line started stripping off his reel.  I reeled in my shrimp as fast as I could and then got the landing net.  Ryan fought the fish in the middle of the boat, but it made a run for the stern when it saw the boat.  Ryan had a double hook rig with cut baits on it and a live perch on another rig that the fish promptly got his line wrapped around.  That turned out to be a blessing as the extra lines hindered its ability to make runs.

It finally came to the top, and I succeed in netting it.  It was a 24” black drum – Ryan’s biggest bay fish to date.  We took a couple of pictures and put the drum in my boat’s fish box.

I resumed fishing while Ryan worked on sorting out his tangled lines.  Instead of letting the jighead sit, I slowly rolled it back to my boat.

Soon I felt the pull of a game fish and reeled in a 15-inch long black drum (an inch beyond the minimal length).  After putting the drum in the fish box, I rebaited with a fresh shrimp and resumed fishing.

In a matter of seconds, I had a big hit and a fish on.  I knew it was a big fish, so I set the hook twice while calling for Ryan to get the net.  I got the fish up to the surface at my boat’s bow, but as soon as he saw my boat, he dove back down.  I got a good look at him and saw that it was a black drum equal to Ryan’s fish, or better.

Four more times, I got him up and at mid-boat where Ryan waited with the net.  But each time the fish saw the boat, he would make another run.  Ryan tried to net him a couple of times, but the drum wouldn’t stay still long enough to allow him to do it.  The drag on my Lew’s Laser Speed Spool reel just wasn’t powerful enough to wear him out.

After I brought him up the fifth time, he again made another run.  This time the hook came out and came right back at me.  The drum’s lip was probably torn to the point that the hook slipped out.

Sighing at losing probably the biggest bay fish that I’d ever hooked and seen, I rebaited with a fresh shrimp and resumed fishing.

In a matter of seconds, I had another hit and fish on.  At first, I thought it was another 15 incher, but it made a run when it saw the boat.  I knew that it was another big fish and excitedly called for the net.  At first, it fought like the previous fish that I had on.  Each time it would see the boat, it would run.  But it was smaller, and I more easily managed it.

Ryan netted the fish on his second try, but the drum slipped out as he brought the net out of the water.  Ryan quickly netted it again and got it into the boat.  It ended up being a 21 incher and was the second-longest bay fish that I had caught to date.

After taking a couple of pictures we put the drum in the fish box.  I quickly rebaited with a fresh shrimp and cast to the starboard side of my boat’s bow.  But my jighead came to an abrupt stop in midair only after flying about 20 feet.  Ryan had rebaited his double rig with cut bait and put it in one of the vertical rod holders on my boat’s center console.  Unfortunately, my jighead’s hook caught on his line, resulting in one of the worst backlashes of my life.

A backlash happens when the lure slows down or stops in flight after casting, but the spool does not – resulting in a tangled mess of line at the reel.  It’s also known as a ‘bird’s nest,’ ‘over-run,’ and ‘snarl.’  A baitcasting reel’s propensity to backlash is what usually discourages people the most from using one.

I spent a few seconds trying to pick the backlash out but quickly realized that it would take a long time.  Fortunately, I had three other rods with me.  I switched the jighead to another one of my rods and resumed fishing.  Unfortunately, the bite was over.  We tried for a few more minutes, but as we needed to clean the fish and then join the rest of the family at the beach, we decided to call it a day.

Later that night, I resumed work on my reel.  I got some of the backlash out but soon hit a roadblock and couldn’t pull out any more line.  I then cut the line in around four places and resumed working on it.  But each time, I ran into the same problem.  Finally, after cutting out more than half of the line, I realized that I would have to cut the remainder out and respool the reel with new line.

In Mark 9:43-47, Jesus said to his disciples, “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.  And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.  And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out.  It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”

Tragically, some Christians have mistakenly applied Jesus’ words literally and have mutilated their bodies in their battles with sin.  The problem with such a literal translation is that mutilating one’s body does not control sin as it is a matter of the heart and mind rather than a limb or organ.  If I dismember most of my body, I can still sin in my heart and mind.

Jesus didn’t demand self-mutilation; instead, he as strongly as possible addressed the disciples’ erroneous thinking that going to heaven was the result of good works and not related to sacrifice.

Paul encouraged us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the devil’s schemes (see Ephesians 6:11), and James encouraged us to resist the devil, and he will flee from us (see James 4:7).  But sometimes, like that snarl in my baitcasting reel, our best choice is to cut out what is causing the problem.

That might mean cutting out an attitude, activity, or even a relationship.  The author of Hebrews wrote, “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1b).  We must cut out and offer to God whatever is in our life that continues to snarl us.

The snarl

My shrimp rigged on my jighead



A better way to rig a shrimp on a jighead

Categories : Devotionals

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

NOAA Weather

Austin, Texas

Last Updated on Jan 22 2022, 5:53 am CST

Current Conditions: Fair


Temp: 20°F

Wind: North at 4mph

Humidity: 85%

Dewpoint: 16.0°F

Your 5-Day Forecast at a Glance

Bible Verse of the Day

But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You.


 January 2022