After some lily-livered, pickle-picking, pink-eyed, son of a bob-tailed hyena low-lifes stole all my fishing gear and tools, I, like many insured Americans, was forced to pursue---and I do mean pursue---recovery for same through my insurance carrier of 30-plus years.
The IC (Intensive-I-Couldnt-Care-Less) Ward, also known as my insurance carrier, in their infinite wisdom assigned my claim to the first snot-nosed kindergarten-level adjuster who could pass the state insurance adjusters exam. (It must have been an open book test.)
Im sure youve been there before, but please let me rant a bit.
The items stolen totaled about $7000. The claim was first adjusted to a recovery value of $359 because I didnt know how to be dishonest or, if you will, "pad the claims list."
Further, my Insurance Adjuster, who I will simply call "IA" (which can also stand for Incompetent Accountant) wasnt sure what he was adjusting. After some inquiries through a maze of claim numbers, team numbers, and a list of people the "Americas Got Talent" show-dog winners couldnt jump over, I was told that a new IA was assigned to my claim number. Not assigned to me, the person who has paid the bill without fail for the last 30-plus years, but assigned rather to this claim number, which now has superseded me in the hierarchy of importance.
The new IA quipped, "So, this is sporting equipment and tools? We can do a little better than that!"
I felt like I was talking to a used appliance salesman. I didnt know all was negotiable. I wasnt aware that whoever mentioned price first (me) lost, that stolen business items were figured one way and stolen personal items another, that where it was stolen mattered or that, if it was---God forbid---attached to my truck, well that was another claim number and a different team!
I began thinking, Now I know where potential mass murderers come from.
At this point, I started to wonder how I was going to replace all the rods, reels, terminal tackle, etc. that I need in order to continue to operate as a fishing guide---and also replace all the tools I had acquired over the years---for $359.
Further, my new IA said the difficulty for him was deciding which items will be designated "replacement items" and which items were to be "prorated."
"They all need to be replaced," I said.
"Well, thats the goal isnt it?" he replied laughing. "We can assist you in replacing these items if you wish, for we have suppliers and contacts that might save you money once payment is issued."
I replied, "You dont even know what most of these items are based on the bazillion calls and questions youve made to me so far about the items, so how, for the love of God, are you going to help me shop for them?"
"Replacement value items, you see, are paid only after you send me a receipt for each item, which we then prorate based on the total percent of items we are paying for," he said. "Do you fish for fun sir?"
"Define fun, please," I said.
"Well, do you do it for recreation?" he asked.
Ah, the light came on. Would my recovery rate be more if it was business, or would it be less? Lord, they had me playing their game!
"I rarely get to fish," I said (the truth). "I am a guide and, as most people know, we pretty much bait hooks, net fish, and clean them."
"Well, did you ever have fun fishing with the items that were stolen?" he asked.
This was causing my blood to boil.
"Sir, for the last 30 years, I have paid my insurance bill faithfully. I have fixed items over the years myself that I could have claimed. The amount of claims I have had over the past 10 years is zero," I said tersely.
"Have I ever fished for fun with the equipment that was stolen? Im sure I have and if I havent then I should have!"
"Thats all very nice of you," he said. "But it doesnt help on this particular claim. I will call you in a few days with the new calculated payment amount. I need to make you aware for reasons of security this phone message may have been recorded."
Three weeks later, I got a call that said my claim was awaiting information that I had provided IA No. 1, but had not gotten to IA No. 2, for they were not on the same team. Further, IA No. 2 had been replaced with IA No. 3 and I was requested to bring him up to speed on the progress of my claim number.
Luckily, my wife had faxed all the data to the IC office---copies they could not find, for it seems the claims office and my IC were 1500 miles apart. So, for three hours I unloaded on my IC agent, who got me on a four-way phone conference with another new IA, a team leader, a fire specialist, and the person who was actually going to process my claims check. After a strenuous round of negotiations with all four of them, the dollar amount went from 5 percent to 41 percent of my original claim.
For a brief moment, I felt like I had accomplished the impossible---until I realized I was getting less than half of what I needed to replace what was stolen.
It seemed to me that, had I been dishonest, I would have gotten more by padding my stolen items list, faking the age of the items, and fibbing about where the items had been stolen. The process seems to encourage a person to be less than honest, rewards them for being dishonest, and it appears to be an accepted practice. The truth is, stuff gets stolen. Is it caused by hard times, or just bad people, or both? I can only ponder.
Four months later, I received a check from my insurance company for some of my losses and, trying to be optimistic, I told myself at least I could replace some of the items. The next envelope was our bill. It seems my rates will be going up, due in part to my recent claims.
I could have secured my equipment better, and I could have paid more attention to the details in my insurance policy (things I will focus on in the future), but is it just me, or is there something wrong with this picture? Its hard to tell who the worse thieves here are.
Lock up the turkey and have a great Thanksgiving.
• • •
After looking at my records the past 7 years, I noticed fewer fish were caught during November, but their quality and size was much better. By now, the water temperatures have dropped a good 10 degrees and the hard northers that have hit play havoc with the water levels. Shell reefs and sand with patches of black mud close to deep-water egresses are the formula for some good bent pole action.
Copano Bay - Some nice trout frequent the Italian Bend shoreline during warmer days. Electric grape soft plastics are best here using varying speed retrieves. The west shoreline just north of Copano Reef is good for reds using cut mullet on a fish finder rig, during high tide. Sheep head action is good close to the causeway pilings using small hooks and cut squid.
Aransas Bay - Black drum numbers are good on Deadmans Reef using a light Carolina rig and peeled shrimp. The deep-water shell piles across from Nine Mile Point and close to the ICW are good for trout using New Penny Jerk Shad and free lined shrimp. Good numbers of gaff top over the dark mud off of Hamiltons Reef using cut eel and squid.
St Charles Bay - Black drum are at the mouth of Cavasso Creek, use peeled shrimp on a light Carolina rig. Catch some reds at the mouth of Twins Creek using finger mullet and cut menhaden. Patience is needed here to put keepers in the box. Wade fishing the west shoreline just past Cavasso Creek is producing some nice trout using soft plastics in morning glory and pearl/red colors.
Carlos Bay - On colder days Carlos Trench and the deeper shell close by is a good place for trout and reds using Texas Red Killer in Who Dat color. Slow your retrieve down to a crawl and set the hook with the slightest tap. Use a stronger leader, as this is sharp shell country - 17lb to 25lb.
Mesquite Bay - Wade fish the San Jose shoreline close to Cedar Bayou for some keeper reds and trout. In this area where you find the trout, the reds will not be too far away. Cocahoe minnows in glow / chartreuse or as close as you can get is the ticket. Through mid-month, Braves Cove is good for flounder using jigs with white grubs tipped with small pieces of menhaden.
Ayers Bay - Mid Bay shell reef is good for gaff top using live shrimp under a popping cork. Black drum action is good on the shoreline of rattlesnake island using fresh dead or frozen shrimp. #2 hooks or smaller work best on a light fish finder rig.
THE BANK BITE
The south end of the LBJ causeway on the west side is a good wade for reds. This is a soft bottom area in places so proceed slowly. A lot of fish work the salt grass edges on high tide with mud minnows and live shrimp the baits of choice, either free lined or under a silent cork. Look for the deeper holes as well as trout. Stay in these deep-water havens ambushing bait as the tide brings it close.
Heres Wishing You Tight Lines Bent Poles and Plenty of Bait!
Contact Capt. Mac Gable at Mac Attack Guide Service,512-809-2681, 361-790-9601