The Butterfly Effect

Sean Kippinger June 20, 2011

Every fisherman knows that bananas are bad luck. While this superstition realistically has no influence on the outcome of your day, a majority of those who hit the salty seas won’t allow bananas on board. It’s also common knowledge that renaming a pre-owned boat is bad luck, but this isn’t a likely a source of anguish. Regardless, anglers are probably the most superstitious group of all. If you’re not yet a believer in bad luck than let me tell you this. If you ever cross paths with a relatively experienced angler with a tall stature, know-it-all attitude and dark brown hair…run!

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I haven’t had many bad luck experiences in my life and it wasn’t too long ago that I didn’t even believe in luck. That all changed when I met Drew. It was a humid summer morning and my friend Will asked if he could bring a buddy. I agreed and scheduled to meet at the ramp early the next morning. When I went to greet Drew with a firm handshake, he was in the midst of devouring a banana. “Rich in potassium, a banana is the best way to start any fishing day!” Drew jokingly remarked.

I couldn’t believe his words, but nevertheless we hit the water and had an amazing day catching slammer dolphin. My friend had mentioned that Drew was bad luck, but after a great day I brushed it off. In fact, I was so impressed by his skills that a few weeks later the three of us hooked up again. We were all supposed to meet at the same ramp, although this time I received a last minute call from Will telling me he couldn’t make it. Drew and I would fish alone.

Thinking Drew was capable of driving a truck, I asked him to back down the ramp so I could back the boat off the trailer. This was my first mistake. Whether it was the first showing of his so called bad luck, carelessness or combination of both, Drew backed in too far and almost flooded my truck. Luckily, disaster was averted and before we knew it we were headed out the inlet.

We started drifting with live baits and the topic of superstition somehow came up. I told him I was indifferent, but Drew’s stance on the subject was crystal clear with every situation happening for a reason. He calls it the butterfly effect, but I was about to learn that it was more like the Drew effect. Little did I know I was about to battle his hex instead of trophy billfish. I wasn’t too aware of the gravity of the situation until Drew informed me of his current track record. To put things in perspective he had been swordfishing 23 times without landing a single broadbill. Sailfish? Dozens of trips without one release. And when asked about these less than stellar trips, Drew chalked them up to improper alignment of the sun, moon and stars.

During our conversations I saw boats all around us hook up, but all I could think about was Drew’s comment, “Billfish aren’t my bread and butter, but I’ve been reading the latest magazines and have a secret rig I’ve been wanting to try.”

After many fishless hours in the hot summer sun, Drew’s poor attitude was now shining bright. While pacing in frustration he tripped over the above deck livewell and broke a crucial fitting. Minutes later, our precious offerings were flipping for their lives on the bottom of an empty baitwell. About to lose my cool I stuck my arm in the well and grabbed one of the remaining live baits. Handing it to Drew I commented, “Here’s your chance hot shot.”

Knowing that bad luck comes in threes, I wasn’t expecting much. I didn’t care to see what Drew’s secret technique was so I fixed me eyes on the remaining live baits swimming in our spread. Drew deployed his bait and within minutes was hooked up. The greyhounding billfish took off without a proper ID. Drew gained line and fought the fish like a professional. Twenty minutes later an estimated 100-pound juvenile blue marlin was boatside. He was frantically cheering like a schoolgirl. “If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all,” Drew chuckled.

He’s never been on my boat since.

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