Sunday Fishtackular: Here’s to fine wines and tight lines

The Sunset Years of a Fisherman. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo by Carlene Jarboe

The Sunset Years of a Fisherman. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo by Carlene Jarboe

 Wine and Bait Sunset Cruises

   A woman who loves to fish is a rare gift from God.  Such a woman deserves to be honored and cherished.   And, she rates a bigger diamond in that engagement setting.
   My wife is not such a woman.  She used to enthusiastically fish with me.  She would even work as second mate on the night snapper fishing party boat that I captained.  Then, we got married.  Soon, very soon after establishing what has turned out to be a very long relationship, she stopped fishing with me.  When I asked her why she wasn’t going to join me on the first night fishing party boat trip that I ran after our honeymoon, her reply was like a gaff to the heart: “Well, we’re married now.”
   Fishtackular column headerThat’s what it is like to be a boated fish: in the cooler, on ice, done.
   Over the years, I have tried with zero success to re-introduce the joy of fishing that I thought she had once experienced.  Also, her company on board with minimal fishing effort on her part allows me to bring home twice as many fish as my lonely self is allowed.  She doesn’t even need a fishing license.  Florida residents over 65 years of age fish free.
  

Available in eBook, paperback and now in Audible. click to listen to free 5 minute sample.

Available in eBook, paperback and now in Audible. click to listen to free 5 minute sample.

This week, I came up with another scheme to get my dear partner for life back to her pre-nuptial roots.  On a breezy afternoon, I suggested we go out behind the reef line where the water would be calm, catch a few fish, and enjoy the sunset on the ride home.

   “But the wind is really blowing.  Won’t it be rough out?”  She observed.
   “No, look at the docks.  The tide is down.  The reef will be blocking the waves.  I’ll stay on the patches behind the reef line.”  I shrewdly replied.
   So off we went, in mid-afternoon, on a fishing till sunset cruise.
   The ride out at half throttle was pretty nice as the old 20 foot long Shamrock beats into a 1-2 foot chop just fine.  “See, it’s not too bad.”  I observed.
   A glare was her only reply as she tried to sit in a low spot in the boat while spray jumped over the windshield.
   The waves progressively built up and I eased the throttle to trolling speed.  Even behind the reef line, 4-5′ waves were rolling through in the reef passes.  And, the water was churned into milk making sight fishing impossible.
   Instead of anchoring, I chose to drift toward shore and jig over the sand, grass, and rocky bottom.  After fifteen minutes of not catching fish and a not so happy wife observing that I had not caught a fish, I decided to take advantage of the benefit of a following sea.
   After the old 302 inboard gas engine started and sputtered for a bit, the antique Ford 8 banger found a sweet spot in the trough and we glided home far before the hour of sunset.
   I stopped upwind of an old exposed concrete barge wreck a short distance from the channel home.  In the 1 foot chop, I eased the anchor in, let out a mile of scope, flipped the chum bag over and settled for the evening.  I was not going to let my wife be deprived of the sunset portion of that expedition.
   Yes, we may now be in the tropics.  But, no, I don’t want to be in hot water.
   The ground fish chum enticed a huge horde of hungry but well schooled fish that were very competent at removing my bait from the hook.  Still, I caught more than my share of Blue Runners, Bermuda Chubs, grunts, small snappers, Ballyhoo, and a few saltwater stickleback fish called Leatherjacket Jacks.
   The sun went down in a blaze of glory.  My wife toasted with her nearly empty goblet of wine.  I had a bucket of fish for bait, future chum, and pelican food.  Actually, life doesn’t get any better.
   This past evening, I suggested we bypass the reef trip (Why invite rejection?) and take the short version wine and bait sunset cruise to the old barge.
   The sea was nearly flat.  There was not even enough wind to hold the anchor line taught.  We were in for a lovely evening.  She pulled out a glass and poured her wine.  I baited the hook and cast my line.
   The sunset was magnificent!  The sky was lit all around the horizon with a multitude of colors and cloud formations.  It could have been the best sunset in the history of the world.  As we marveled at the beauty, New York City was preparing for two feet (or more) of snow.  Not only was my wife happy, she is also presently enthusiastic about helping me finish our big electric powered, handicapped accessible catamaran to share the joy of wine and bait sunset cruises with our friends and handicapped heroes.
   Needless to say, I brought home a happy wife AND a bucket of bait, future chum, and pelican food.
   The secret of staying married for a long time is to live with your mistake.  Hopefully, it will be the best mistake you ever make. 
Here’s to fine wines and tight lines in the sunset.
Larry Jarboe – bass21292@yahoo.com
  • Join our boat club! Full-service marina.