A Fishy Valentine
This evening I received a call from a fellow fisherman in Maryland who told me that the Yellow Perch are starting to run. He also told me that the temperature was 15 degrees and the wind had been blowing sixty miles an hour.
Maybe, I might miss the perch run this year.
The weather in the Florida Keys has been pleasant and breezy and our refrigerator in Key Largo is full of fresh fish fillets. This week, while deep drifting for large porgies, I caught four Atlantic Sharpnose Sharks. These are common small sharks about 3 feet long that are not among the protected shark species. I kept three of these sharks and ripped their entrails out with a sharp knife prior to bringing each one aboard to be packed immediately in ice. The challenge is to grab the little shark by the tail and hang on.
Sharks must be gutted soon after capture. Otherwise, urea from the non-functioning excretory system will permeate the meat. Also, marinating the fillets in beer keeps the shark meat moist and especially tasty.
I’d much rather eat a shark than have one eat me.
Earlier this week, I fished with a 74 year old master fisherman from New Jersey named Jim Cochran. We trolled, deep drifted, fished live baits, and ended up behind the reef fishing the coral patches. In a day’s time, we caught Blackfin Tuna, Bonito, Dolphin Fish, tilefish, porgies, Hog Snapper, and plenty of really big grunts.
The catch for the day tallied nearly a hundred fish. Likely, in a month or two you can easily put more poundage of catfish in your cooler during the pre-spawn Mid-Atlantic catfish bite but it is hard to beat the variety of fish in Florida and warm weather in winter.
During that day with Jim, my depth recorder decided to go haywire. Still, knowing that the deep water lobster traps had been dropped in 200 feet of water just beyond the face of the second drop-off allowed me to position reasonably well. Also, shore ranges work when the GPS and fish recorder won’t.
Finally, reading the water by interpreting the colors on the bottom in relatively shallow water can put a savvy fisherman on fish despite lack of electronic wizardry.
I think that I’ve been able to fix that depth recorder but it will take another trip to the Gulf Stream to make sure. Regardless of whether the electronics are working well or not, the fishing is still good in South Florida.
Stay warm. The Yellow Perch will be arriving soon.
The weather is here. I wish you were wonderful!
Larry Jarboe – firstname.lastname@example.org
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