Florida Sunrise

The Ties that Bind

Florida Sunrise
The sun rising over Boca Raton, Florida.

To clear the air I’ll first admit yes, I’m a rabid Springsteen fan and that reference was intentional. But I was in my motel room, replacing monofilament with braid on a casting reel, and tying to mono-to-braid knot to connect the backing of mono on the spool with braid and thinking about connections, and the strongest ones.

As fishermen we’re always looking for the knot, or connection, that will hold up under the most pressure. I like the mono-to-braid knot (which probably has a more scientific name), because it’s relatively easy, it’s quick to tie and hell I remember it.

Earlier today I met a couple, Gary and Murial, over a dinner at a local restaurant and they asked about my T-shirt and what I was up to and I explained the cause, my purpose and my love of fishing. It turned out Gary had had some troublesome moles removed and they knew others that had been affected by skin cancer.

And of course, they loved to fish. Ties that bind. They vacationed in the Keys and they offered me help if and when I was down that way and without thinking twice, handed me $20 for the campaign and bought me a cup of soup. I of course rushed out to my Jeep and found the right sized T-shirt to hand them as some consolation and thanks for their contribution.

They’d learned the hard way that the sun, especially for people down South who love the outdoors, can be a dangerous thing. In Gary I found a fellow fisherman that wanted to help with the cause.

The mono-to-braid knot is not unbreakable. Like any knot, it’s the weakest point between your reel and the lure in any given angling situation. It matters because it’s stronger than most any other knot, and it keeps things together, more often than not, when it needs to.

As anglers we don’t all agree on everything. You’ll find bait fishermen calling fly fishermen snobs, fly fishermen calling bait fishermen names, and a whole host of other internal disagreements within the sport that aren’t worth the space I’d take up talking about them.

But even if the ties that connect us as fishermen are not unbreakable, they’re the strongest thing about us, they’ll be the last thing to break. The knot that holds us together as anglers is the strongest one there is.

And in an odd way, having been affected by skin cancer is a bond that more of us share than we’d like to. Go ahead, walk in any public place down South and bring it up. You’ll hope you don’t find some soul that knows about it all too well, but that hope won’t last long.

But the great thing about the mono-to-braid knot is it gives you some confidence that no matter what you run into on the water, whether it’s a fish, stump or alligator, you firmly believe that it’ll hold up under whatever pressure is exerted upon it.

Which, coincidentally, is one of the many great things about being a fisherman.

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