Gone Fishin'!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gone Fishin'!

Last time I caught a fish on a line, it was early during the Korean War ('50 or '51), using a bamboo pole under Rogers Bridge with bait slightly smaller than the hapless little snapper it took.

Although I had some success poking around reefs with a spear gun and a sea lance during my two year sojourn windjamming in the West Indies, I just have never had any luck with bait'n'tackle.

Then came yesterday... and then, in the words of host Steve Ramsay, I was "an animal!"

We were in the Gulf about 20 miles from Marathon Key, on the 32-foot good ship "Babs," and given my abysmal showing with tackle over the last seven decades, I was just along for the ride in the sun and salt air.

Retained for the day was Captain Pablo, as much for his nautical skills as his personal GPS numbers1... plus his eyesight was nothing short of incredible!

We were zipping by a crab trap marker at 35-plus knots when he dropped back the throttles, expertly spun the boat around, and told Steve that there was a "Tripletail" hanging around the bobbing marker.

I had no idea even what to look for, but Steve grabbed a rod, baited a hook, cast near the marker, and within 10-15 seconds had a strike, landing an odd-looking four pounder.

(M'gawd! I was clearly out of my depths! These guys had it down to a science which was way beyond my comprehension! But it was too far to swim home!)

However, half-a-hour later we were anchored in 19 feet of water at one of Captain Pablo's secret spots in the middle of the Gulf, and I was in a struggle with a fish which turned out to be a 50-plus pound Tarpon... which, of course, we weren't permitted to keep!

But I was off my almost 60-year schnide, and would have been more than satisfied with just that one score.

But that was not to be... more than just the sun was smiling on the S.S. "Babs" yesterday!

We couldn't bait the hooks fast enough!

By the end of the afternoon, we had taken one or more of the following: Spotted Sea Trout, Cobia, Tarpon, Tripletail, Red Grouper, Goliath Grouper, Nurse Shark, Bull Shark and, purportedly, a Browntip Shark.

(There was also a good-sized ray of some sort, reddish in hue, whose entire "fighting" strategy was to become dead weight!)

This was my first "keeper" of the day, starting with "the labor:"

Cobia on the hook.

...and culminating with the fruit of that labor!

Cobia landed!

And as great as the day's experience had been, the pièces de résistance came that evening when we repaired to a local restaurant, and dined on our day's catch!

Not the "catch of the day!" Our catch of the day!

Actually, for me it was the catch of a lifetime!

  1. The satellite-guided locations of fish-rich spots are one of the most valued, and jealously-guarded, commodities in this part of the world!


1. Hampton West said...

I think these pictures are fake - after all we all know the moon landing was really done at a movie studio in Arizona with Stanley Kubrick doing all the special effects that went into 2001. Speir-Gun didn't catch a thing - it's all a hoax!!!

Yup! Ya got me!

Envy, thy name is HW!
– Dean

2. Tugboat Bertha said...

Wow, what a great travel report this is and the pictures are amazing! You are a pescatore now just like my dad and his best pal.

Madame is too kind!

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