In the mid-1970s, Dennis Dudley was visiting his then-brother-in-law Russell Twiford at his Nags Head cottage when a unique fishing rod and reel caught his eye.
It was about 9 feet long and hanging on the wall like a show piece. Dudley said Twiford told him it was found in a commercial fishing vessel’s net. “I was admiring it and he said, ‘Why don’t you take it home?’” Dudley recalled.
The reel was a Fin-Nor 4, a Miami-based company, and very high-end for the 1970s. It was engraved with the name Ralph E. Vodicka. The rod was a 9-foot spinning rod.
“I have lots of fishing equipment and nothing with my name engraved on it,” Dudley said. It must have been a special piece, and he figured the owner would want it back.
And so the search began. But it would be almost 50 years before Dudley returned the gear to its rightful owner.
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