Living in Florida it was bound to happen sooner or later. In my case it took a mere 18 months before I finally went fishing. I haven’t fished since childhood when I’d go out on the lake with my dad and grandpa, and I’ve never done it in saltwater.
Thankfully, my fellow fisherman was experienced and knew Perico Bayou well. He worked two poles effortlessly while I contented myself by dropping a line near the pilings. We both caught a few undersized fish, most notably a couple Sheepsheads and a couple Red Drum.
I knew how to identify Sheepshead from their black and white stripes and Red Drum from the distinctive black spot near their tail. What I didn’t know until this past weekend was how gorgeous their tails could be. That bright splash of teal – wow!
I was relieved that we were using circle hooks, which are designed to catch fish in the corner of the mouth, instead of the J-hooks I used in my childhood (which have an increased chance of gut hooking).
We weren’t the only anglers out that morning; at one point there were nine Ospreys soaring and diving for fish while a Willet worked the muddy shoreline gobbling up Fiddler Crabs and worms.
Our “catch of the day” was a rather cantankerous Blue Crab. It was easy to pull the crustacean up because it refused to let go of the shrimp we were using for bait. Luckily for the crab, we both thought it too beautiful to eat (even though it was big enough to keep).
The cool thing is as a Florida resident I can fish from land (or docks/piers) for free (though I do have to register first with the FWC: Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission). If I step on a boat I’ll need a different license and there are also other special permits required for lobstering or snook fishing.
Even though we didn’t manage to catch dinner, I had a great time. As they say around here, there’s no such thing as a bad day fishing!