Made it out to the beach for one last kick at it the other day. I figured it would be over, but a couple hours into the ebb, a school came by. And then another. Finally I covered them well on few fly casts in a row until BANG. The beast went screaming out toward open ocean. I let it run. And run. Into the backing we go. Aaaaaaand run. Until I hear a little slipping sound. BLIP. I think, ''well damn, I guess it got off''. I go to reel in my line and there's a surprising lack of tension. I look down. Oh snap. There's nothing there! And I mean NOTHING. Turns out the place (that shall remain nameless) that originally spooled up the backing didn't bother to tie it on. Ouch. I relayed the information to the other anglers on the beach in the hopes that one of them might hook into the 150+ yards of line swimming around.
Luckily I had the ol' spinning rod with me and worked my way out with the tide, occasionally covering fish. At right about low slack a school passed right in front of me and again, whammo, I'm on! Once again, it went out, and out, and out, but this time I was able to eventually turn it. Ten minutes later I managed a wave-assisted landing and ended up with this beauty. It's probably the shiniest one I've managed to catch. Caught on a hammered brass croc.
Not a great angle - I'm guessing it was around 13-14 lbs. But I'm lousy at estimating.
Shortly thereafter I hear some shouting. ''Hey! Did someone lose some fly line?!''. YES! I shout and start half running through the water toward the dude. A young guy comes up to me with his hand out and my fly line coiled nicely around it. Whew! He had been out in a little belly boat when he hooked it - out in the ocean and far from ground zero. When he had grabbed on, there was significant tension. The fish was still on! He hand-over-handed it into the shore, then SNAP, my 15 lb tippet broke, and the fish swam away to live another day, this time without the drag of 150 yards of line.
All in all it was an eventful day, and a fitting end to my season for these fish.