Every so often, you just need to hang the “gone fishing” sign on the front door and get the line wet. This time, brought my 90-year old Dad down for some mid-summer angling.
Did three half-days on the water, and probably the best 3-day cycle if you’re going to come down this way and toss the lines in.
First day, out to the flats off of Boca Grande Key. “Shark Week” motivated us to test our skills: man vs. shark. This is pretty interesting fishing. Light line, wire leader, 30 lb. test, with big chunks of Bonita on the hooks. In the clear, shallow water we could spot them off in the distance.
The challenge was getting the bite. We had the chum working and other strategies to get the scent out to them. They just weren’t too interested or were smart enough to just “cherry-pick” the chum and avoid the hooks, then…wham!
A beautiful, 6 ft. lemon shark hit my line hard and it was “off to the races”. Because of the light tackle, you can’t “muscle” these guys in. He just ran. When I could, I’d just nudge him in towards us. Took a while, got him next to the boat…and then release.
Second day, off-shore about 15 miles in the Atlantic going for Mahi. Water was flat as a quiet mountain lake, and while gorgeous, we just couldn’t find the fish. Did everything, but some days just flow that way. You just have to have the right mindset: figure we got the slow day out of the way and better ones coming. That's just the way fishing, and life, works.
Third day, the reefs. About 5 miles out, light lines and great action!
The chum block raised the small fish, but we had a couple of barracuda creating some problems. We had one beautiful yellow tail up to the side when a barracuda just showed from the deep and hammered it. Seriously, two feet from the boat and stole it. We had to change strategies (and lines) for a few minutes and clear them out. The day brought a beautiful gag group, mutton snapper and countless others released.
But the magic was seeing the old salt, rod in hand, thoroughly enjoy himself. At 90, he’s slowed down a bit, but hung right in. That was priceless.