Okay, I'm sure my loyal followers have mumbled the question, "So, who is this 'my friend' and 'Gator's roommate' she speaks of?" Well, this is Chuck. Chuck is a Freshwater Conch, moved here in 1995, and fishing is his passion! He invited me on a 2 day fishing trip aboard Yankee Capts. Of course, I said, "YES!"
But, to prepare for this weekend trip, I had to learn a few things, because I have not been fishing before... not like this. This is SERIOUS fishing, not a cane pole with a bobber thrown in the pond on our back 40 pasture.
In the canal behind Chuck's home, I was given a lesson on how to cast, and what to do when I get a hit. I practiced a few times, but discovered quickly I would probably need a shorter rod. Chuck rummaged through his large collection of rods, and found one just my size. I was told I might have a problem... if I snag something that weighs more than me. In that case, I yell, "CHUCK!" and he will come help me. Did I really feel that would be a problem? Haha, No.
Friday evening, we arrived at the marina, found our bunks, stored our stuff, and received our tags. I was #38. I was given a ring of tags and told to tear one off and it would be stapled to the gill of each fish I catch. This fish would then be carried back and placed in a big box and iced down. When we get back to the dock, the fish would then be pulled and each person would identify their fish by number. Good system and it works very efficiently.
We left the dock at 10:00 pm, on the dot. Every trip that Chuck takes on Yankee Capts, he gives an optional mini fishing lesson. Upon leaving the dock, many gathered on the back deck for this 25 minute lesson, and then a Q & A session. I wanted to catch fish, but more importantly, I didn't want to disappoint or embarrass Chuck with my ignorance of the sport. So, I listened intently.
Being new to the boat, new to fishing, and afraid I would do something stupid... I took the fishing rod with knees quivering. As I stood there at the bow, with line in the water, I went over and over everything Chuck had told me to expect and how to react. Within minutes, I got a nibble and immediately thought "HOW COOL IS THIS!!!" With Chuck standing to my right, watching, the fish takes off with the bait, and I look up at him, as if to ask, "NOW?"
Chuck was so helpful, patient, excited, and proud of his student. I was proud of me too. On this trip I learned just how fragile the male ego is, and I think I fractured a few with my beginner's luck. Some may not want me back on the boat! These guys just need to exercise good listening skills, put the advice into practice, and they too can catch more, and bigger fish.
My final count was 7 mutton snapper and two sharks. Of course the sharks were cut loose and don't really count. But, I like to count them too, because I worked hard to get them to the surface. I have the sore muscles and bruises to prove it. And, as I sit here writing this, my mind begins to wander; dreaming of that bigger fish at the end of my line... someday.
|Chuck is catching us some fresh bait.|
|This is the upper deck with all the personal chests.|
|Fish being tagged on table/fish box.|
|There were a lot of sharks taking our bait.|
|Chuck's cousin, Stan fishing at sunrise.|
|Chuck and Jay.|
|Joe runs the galley, and makes a mean breakfast!|
|Getting the fish ready to be unloaded as soon as we get to the dock.|