Terry and I and our friends Jesse and Jennifer spent yesterday out on the pontoon boat fishing, and I can say without a doubt that it was the best day I’ve ever had on the water. So much fun! It was the kind of day I pictured when I bought the boat.
Because I still haven’t mastered backing up, once we got down to the launch, I got in the boat, and Jesse backed it into the water, then parked the truck, and he and the ladies got on board. It was windy, the temperature was probably around 70 degrees at most, with scattered cloud cover early on that cleared away to bright sunshine.
We went downriver a mile or two and dropped anchor, baited up with live shrimp, and all four of us cast our lines out. We quickly discovered that with the current and the wind, we had to be careful or our lines would get tangled with each other, but once we sorted that out, the fun began.
Jesse got the first fish, which got off the hook just as he was lifting it into the boat, and just a moment or two later, I got a strike, and whatever it was put up a heck of a fight before it broke the line.
I tied on a new leader and hook, put fresh bait on, and within just a couple of minutes, I had another strong strike, and this time I managed to bring in a nice-sized catfish. Did you know catfish poop? I guess it makes sense, right? Everything does. But this catfish immediately started pooping everywhere as it wiggled and jerked around, flinging literal crap all over the boat. Seriously! I didn’t know catfish could hold that much you know what! We actually had to stop and clean the boat up after we got it off the hook and back in the water. Really, there was that much.
Jesse got a couple more catfish which seemed to be the only thing biting, until I latched onto a bluefish that put up an impressive fight. They have some very sharp teeth, and Jesse thinks that might have been what I had the first time around that broke or bit through my line.
We realized that even though my 20 foot Bennington saltwater fishing boat can easily carry six or seven passengers, it is not really suited for more than four anglers. It has two fishing chairs fore and two more aft (that’s front and back for you landlubbers), and an L-shaped lounge seat. I guess if it wasn’t too windy, we might be able to squeeze in another fisherman or two in the middle, but it would be tight.
It was Terry’s turn to catch something, so first, she caught this little catfish.
Then Jennifer caught a very nice catfish that gave her a battle to get it on board.
Then it was Terry’s turn again. This was probably the biggest fish of the day.
I also caught one little croaker that wasn’t much bigger than the finger mullet we were using for bait along with the shrimp. We were out about five hours and went through four dozen shrimp and a block of frozen finger mullet before we ran out of bait.
It was a perfect day, and all four of us agreed it was one of the best days ever. Besides the fishing, we saw a lot of dolphins, several manatees, and lots of pelicans and osprey, who were also busy fishing. But unlike us, they weren’t doing the catch and release thing, they were fishing for dinner.
There were a lot of other boats out, including this big catamaran that passed us, and a sailboat right behind it.
When we got back to the dock, Jesse and the ladies got off and they held the lines while Jesse backed the trailer down the ramp, then I backed the boat off a few feet to get lined up and drove onto the trailer the very first time. I felt pretty good about that. Back at home, I lined up my faithful crew for a picture to commemorate the day.
Then I flushed the motor and washed the boat and trailer down with fresh water before we went inside to sample the smoked salmon and smoked amberjack that we bought at Port Orange Seafood the other day, along with the fish dip. It was all excellent, the perfect snack to round out the perfect day on the water! Even if I did get a lot of sun!
Congratulations Marcy Krauss, winner of our drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.
We had 38 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.
Thought For The Day – Why is “phonics” not spelled the way it sounds?