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Dusting the Bucket

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Over the past decade or so I’ve been on a “laisse faire” quest to achieve what’s known as a “Royal Grand Slam”, which is catching (and releasing) all 9 of the billfish species in the world.

It’s been more of, “…ah, I’ll get to it when I can.” And, has been one of those long-term "bucket list" adventures. I need two more species to get the slam. No race, no trophy or anything like that. Just one of those personal goals. But, I've sorta let it drift.

The current situation got me thinking, why did I push that off to the side? Life got in the way?...Not sure, but wonder if you've had something similar.

The notion of our own personal “bucket list” takes a back seat to meeting our responsibilities. I understand that in every way.

Maybe it’s time we pull out that “bucket list”, dust it off, figure out what it would really take to knock a few of them out. Seriously, pick something on that list that is do-able.

Time to put those dreams back up to the forefront.

While we’re hunkering down, take some "me" time to google background info and “what if” something on your “bucket list”.

It’s your one life.

If this “bug” has taught us anything it’s that life is precious and fragile, as is time.

I’ve been a bit fortunate to have some great friends that I’ve fished with over the years (Milt, Scott, Steve, Jim and Guy…here’s to you guys, and thank you).

So, I've started pulling together some rough information on what the heck I need to do to finish off catching (and releasing) the last couple billfish. (Black Marlin and Shortbill Spearfish)

What do you need to do to dust off your list?

Hey...you can do this!

It doesn't need to be the life changing, big move.

Break that big list into different sizes...the "Bucket", the "Pail", and the "Cup" lists. Maybe even rank them in importance and "do-ability". (One of mine was climbing Mt. Vinson down in Antartica...well, that's sliding down in importance.)

I'm not suggesting giving up on anything, but..put more of a "bulls eye" on what can be knocked-out near-term. Find a little quiet time, start to research and in your "notes" section on you phone/tablet/laptop...jot some"what it" notes on achieving it. 

Over the years, both in Key West and other spots, I've have experienced some stunning moments on the water. If you’ve got a few minutes, while we’re all experiencing the great indoors these days, maybe a few of these “shots” will resonate with you.

...ah, just starting with this to set the mood and get you motivated! You know, this could read..."Prepped and Knocking out my List"

This little incident blew-up in a heartbeat...we skedaddled out as fast as possible. A little prep is good...have a fast boat.

Love the jumpers, tough to snap the camera and catch the exact right moment.

ok...one more.

Getting an early start to fish behind the Shrimp boats....about 50 miles west of Key West.

There's an exchange with the crew for bags of chum they collected overnight. Shrimp boat crews can be out working the waters to 3 weeks at a time.

Then, we just drift behind the boats. It's been described as fishing in an aquarium. The action is non-stop, however, we are targeting black fin tuna. The sharks and bonita constantly make hitting that tuna quite the adventure.

Speaking of tuna, here's my 202 lb Blue Fin. Trust me, that was one heck of a long, hard fight. Beautiful sushi, and widely shared.

Striped Marlin on the Pacific side of the lower Baja Peninsula. This fella was back in the water in seconds.

...although, the sea lions had different thoughts about joining us on the boat.

Tournament fishing (bucket list thing) off La Paz. Interesting trip, but pretty intense. Top prize was $25,000 plus Calcutta's. Day 1 we were in 3rd place, Day 2 dropped like a brick to the bottom quartile, Day 3 fought our way up to the middle of the pack. 

Safety First...making sure the belt is appropriately secure. (been saving this one for just the right moment) ;-)

Getting the old guy (my dad) out fishing in Key West one last time.

...and the cold beer that followed at Schooner Wharf. 

Tarpon fishing off Fort Zach. Fun to have enough along to charter two boats.

Better yet, single day seaplane charter to fish, snorkel or explore the Tortugas. This is an excellent "bucket/pail" list item that is just do-able.

Here was the last fishing moment with my Dad. Galapagos. This one was a 400 lb. Blue Marlin.

Got recommendations if marlin fishing in the Galapagos is on your list...all of the people were simply outstanding.

Need to underscore, always encountered fun, good people. The mate looks pretty prepared to "assist" on this catch.

And the team you "set sail" with...incredible.

Remember...it's about the journey. Lots of days, no fish but still a great adventure!

There's an excitement to not really knowing what's on the other end of the line. Sometimes, just lean in and keep reeling. You never know...

And, somedays just going it alone is just fine...

 About that time to pull the lines in and head to happy hour...

The setting sun is just a reminder to rest up for next amazing day.

...but always, remember to celebrate the day and whatever life brought us.


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