“Hey, I need another pin. They’re here. I just lost my bait,” Sam whispered in the 22-foot skiff.
A hushed but audible, “I got you,” replied Alex, who stopped rigging the second rod, reached into the live well, snatched a pinfish and carried it to the bow. The baitfish was carefully transferred from one cut-up pair of hands to another, given a nice piercing through the nose with a 4/0 circle hook, and pitched under the dock to hopefully become what the two teenagers referred to as “snook candy.”
Alex and Sam couldn’t remember a time when they weren’t best friends. They rode bikes and swung on the swings at the playground when they were kids looking for a thrill in their stuffy waterfront community of Emerson Estates on Florida’s west coast. After school, they’d cast frozen shrimp from seawalls or docks, pulling up pinfish, catfish, lizardfish and juvenile mangrove snapper. The fight between a jack-crevalle and a sheepshead was a thrill for them. They went to the same elementary, secondary and high schools together. Their classmates knew that they loved fishing.