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Coming August 26th – SCOF 52 Ascofalypse Now

The Back Page With Paul Puckett and Mike Benson

Anyone who has ever booked a charter or showed up to the dock to fish with someone they don’t know, knows “The Look.” It varies in different situations, environments, and fishing scenarios, but you know the look you wanna see in each one, and you know when you see it. If you book a guide in the Keys you’ve never seen or heard of (I know, rare in the Instagram age), you don’t want to show up to a spotless boat, with a dude decked out in brand new gear, texting on his phone… that’s the wrong look. You want to see a clean, organized, but obviously worn skiff. The guy stretching leader material behind the helm with a Marlboro dangling from his lip should have practical clothes on, but the pants should be slightly frayed on the hip on the side he poles, his hands and his plier sheath should be the same hue of brown, and roughly the same texture when you shake them. That’s “The Look.” When you book a snapper fishing trip in the Gulf; sure the go-fast boat and guy with gold chains and too-tight-fitting sun shirt might be able to find a few fish, but the old pocket sporty belching a little too much diesel smoke is second only to the mate in the pit, rocking an un-ironic mullet, chiefing black and mild’s from a Costco-size box. That guy kills stuff, maybe at an inappropriate scale. But if you booked a snapper killing trip and want to bring home the meat, that’s “The Look.”

The look can’t be bought in a store or imitated. It can only be earned. And one day while walking down the dock to climb in your beat-up but clean and organized floating vessel, maybe you’ll catch a glance of yourself in the water, and with happy realization, see that somewhere along the line, you, too, have developed “The Look.”