In the early 60's as a kid I helped feed the family fishing. My brother and I would trek 2 miles to the canals and creeks that fed the upper bay and crab till we got tired or could not carry any more.
If all I was catching was catfish, I would still drag them home along Memorial Hwy for the attention and then bury them in the rose garden.
jimbo 1763 stated
Time measured by the changing of the tide rather than by the clock.
Fall and Spring after a cold front I would be on the causway before sun up marking a spot on the first little bridge to fish for Speckled Trout. Using the current to float the live shrimp out to the fish. In the late 60's it was nothing to catch 40 to 100 trout averaging 2 pounds each.
After the tide and wind pushed the water real low, I would hit the mud flats and dig blood worms for the incoming tide and school reds.
Then comes the chore of cleaning the fish. I always had enough to carry a couple of fillets to the house of the girl I was (currently) interested in. Their mothers loved me and made the girls be nice to me. I could fish but lacked social skills.
A short nap and back to the same bridge as the incoming tide was half in. 90% boredome and 10% confusion. If I had shrimp left from the morning, I would use them first. Too many Sheephead, bait robbers and such working the bottom to put the blood worms out. When a school of Reds came through the bridge, it was hall them in as quick as the bait hit the water. Throw the fish as far up the bank as I could and if any bait was left, cast it into the water. Reeling in another Red and kicking the flopping fish back up the bank. Everyone fishing that side of the bridge would be catching reds. The problem is they left much too soon. 2, 3 maybe 4 minutes and it was quiet. Then I would gather the fish and put them on a stringer. I might have 6 fish where another had 2.
The mothers prefered Trout Fillets over Reds. It was all good to me.
I learned to hand tie cast nets. Monofillament netting was introduced and I made a huge (12 1/2') pannel net. Hand tieing the top 18" and the bottom 6" with 40 pound line and using commercially made pannels for the body. I could throw a 8-9 foot net quite well but didnt know how to handel such a large net. The local Cuban fisherman were interested in the newly imerging Mono nets. One old man in particular befriended me while fishing the bridge so I took the net to him as asked him to show me how it was thrown. I knew the net opened perfectly flat (no bubbles or lumps). Basicly, he doubled the loop of net in the left hand and threw it just like normal only instead of holding the lead line in his teeth, he draped the line over his left shoulder. I was the Cat's Meow that day.
I hated seeing a cold front come through on a friday night. Saturday morning would find the first little bridge on the causway covered up with rookies. Line tangeling, deep sea fishing rigs, loud, obnixious people that lacked a fishing code of ethics. The Cuban fisherman would be gone by 9 am so no one would see they had caught fish at that location. Most of the best fishing was already past.
One way of getting the best spot was to use chest waders and geting in the water before sun up (no lines in the water yet). It is cold standing in 60 degree water even with insulated waders on. On this particular Saturday, I had caught about 40 trout. I actually ran out of shrimp by 9 am. The Sun was rising and the reflection off the water was warming my soul. I stood at the edge of the current, my baitless hook dangling beneeth the float drifting in the current 60 yards from shore.
The 'tourist' fishermen were arriving, excited at the prospect of hauling in trout and rushing around trying to get a good location where there were none. As soon as someone got tired of untangeling their line, they would pack up and another hack would jump into the place on the bridge. I heard one tourist complaining about me having the best spot. An oldtimer Cuban told him to be at that spot when the sun comes up and you can have it too.
I stood in that spot for 20 minutes soaking up the sun watching the circus. With all the lines in the water and no common understanding of what to do with a fish on, it was pure madness. With 12 lines 200 feet out and one gets a fish on, 4 or 5 lines would get tangled before the fish got close to the bridge. Some of the tourist would even try to float their line out as the fish got close to the bridge. That was another issue. After getting a fish on, one should work their way to the side of the bridge and work clear of the lines. I guess they were afraid of loosing their spot on the bridge. Either lifting or droping your line and reeling in or letting out to move clear of the line with the fish on was common courtesy. I seldome fished the Cold Fronts on the weekend.
I drew quite the croud when leaving as the stringer with 40 some odd fish was exposed. More than the pride I felt then was the knowledge of helping feed the family. Simplier times they were.
Last edited by Leoslocks; April 1st, 2005 at 01:08 PM.
When I visit my bro in Tampa he always takes me fishin. He’s a pretty hard core fishing kind of guy.
Last time there we went “shallow” fishing back in the middle on nowhere all around mango trees. Used one of those flat bottom aluminum boats where the captains chair is elevated six feet up so he can look for fish. (reds & snooks)
The highlight moment – three aluminum boats full of guys in the water with a thunderstorm overhead. Right before the lightning cracks overhead, the nylon fishing line hisses pretty loud. Twas a hair raising experience.
I won't say I am scared of lightning. Maybe just a healthy respect. My Dad and I got caught in a storm in the creeks-no place to go, and you are the highest point around for miles. Took the outriggers down, left the radio antenna up. We had a stainless steel wheel on the boat-I took a jolt through the wheel when lightning struck the water a couple of hundred yards from the boat and grounded out. Scared the fool out of me. No place to go, just tough it out. Had another beer-what else was there to do?
So many times we were out there in the rain/thunderstorms. Even the shallow bays seemed like oceans with the waves. Sometimes wondering if we'd make it out alive. I know what yall mean for sure.
In aluminum flatboats is the surely the scariest. Figure the boat would melt or whatever if hit by lightening. And the ones who won't sit down and refuse to stop casting and all when it's lightening gets me a bit miffed. It's like man, your the lightening rod, please sit down and let this weather pass, please.
Rain so hard at times you can't see anything. Drive the boat and get zapped with rain that feels like rocks hitting you.