Wanna be a guide? I would love to have been able to squeeze you on my rig
this morning, helping me swat green heads off of 5 yr old, 5 yr old, 7 yr old,
dad and granddad. Absolutely super nice folks and I feel really, really bad because I just couldn't give them what they wanted. It's hard to entertain 3 kids AND make a successful day of catching fish, especially under tough conditions. Yes it can happen, but it wasn't happening this morning. I pulled together an entertaining morning with the kids, which included all kinds of marine life pulled up in a cast net, marine biology lessons and a lot of hands on experience int he live well, but I couldn't turn this into a successful fishing day for the dads.
As we're starting out
in the harbor tossing a cast net the kids are all into it, looking for flips,
dad is all over them, sit down, be quiet, don't shout, calm down..... I make the tactical error of telling dad, "Don't worry about them,
let 'em be kids, they all have life jackets on, what could go wrong??" nuthin, till one of the little buggers
somehow gets under your arm and twisted and tangled by the multitude of buckles hanging off of the
life jacket.......caught up in a cast net
just launched with enough speed and trajectory to still open the net,
despite a five year old attached to it in three locations on it's torso and one
in his right shoe lace.
After bait and child was retrieved, we charge out
under slick calm conditions.......conditions conducive for catching tarpon and
sight casting giant red drum......two of my two favorite things to do......NOT
of which would be teaching 2 grown men
how to fish AND keeping 3 midgets out of my live well now turned into the Maritime Minnow Chamber of Torture. Six
hands, occasionally a foot and one very beat up dip net traumatizing, maybe 30 menhaden, a couple pinfish, small spots, a shrimp and one clawless crab that was getting the worst of it.
I pull up to the first spot, hook up a 3 inch live
menhaden on a Carolina rig and toss it behind the boat, stick the rod in the
rod holder, then baited another one. I
cast that one out and handed it to the customer. Picked up the first rod from the rod holder and was
to explain to the customer how to work the bait back to the boat, when I felt
that a flounder had already gulped down my menhaden. I raised the rod, it bent over and I handed
it to the loudest kid who enthusiastically reeled it to the net, a nice 16
incher.......I shit you not.......that was the last decent bite we had all
Next spot, nuthin, then nuthin, then no bait, catch
more bait, charge off across the river to Turnigan Bay, land of the green head
flies.....and you know what we caught?
Nuthin. Plenty of baby pinfish
and baby bluefish and that probably would have been fine if I just had some little
baby hooks. That would have been perfect for the kids.....and it's what I should have done......but it wasn't going to work for the dads who wanted some more of those keeper flounder.
To rub coarsely ground sea salt into my open wounds left by the phantom tarpon I have been chasing under gale conditions........ the radio is burning up from Tom Cat, Mobile East Marine and The Big Dipper talking about their double header tarpons and expressing their frustration about getting wiped out by 40 pound drum
busting on the surface.
The only thing
that I am getting wiped out by is green head flies. Hot, still, no wind and the only thing that I've got biting are pinfish and green heads. Sunburn was setting in and it wasn't going to get better. Four hours was all I could take and I
brought them back to the dock. The kids had a great time, dads.....not so much.
Again, super nice folks and the kids were great, the part about throwing one of them in the drink with the cast net was funny, but he never got wet.
Drum Rants to follow, give me a day or two to catch up, but it sounds like we need to have some more conversation on these dumb drum tournaments and some drum fishing etiquette.