Wednesday, November 18, 2020

On the water

The only roving this Reluctant Rover has been doing is on the water. Since we sold our truck camper, we are now vagabonds without transport, and (at least for the moment) we are not planning to change that condition. However, we do go boating, as members of the JAX Boat Club. We try to boat/fish once or twice a week, weather and schedule permitting.

About a week ago, we went boating when the wind was blowing from the east. We have to boat in the San Pablo River before we get to the bay area where we fish the marshes. The water was choppy! It felt as though we were on a roller coaster, not my favorite theme-park ride. 

Jim said there is a saying that refers to fishing conditions: "East is least; west is best."  I guess the saying is true. We didn't even have a nibble that day.

The next time we went out, the wind was better, but the only thing we caught was a baby stingray. I caught it; Jim released it. Again, not a profitable time on the water, but at least it was pretty calm. That day, however, had a ha-ha moment: Jim was doing something with one of the lines when either the boat rolled a bit or he lost his balance. He quite gracefully rolled over the side of the boat for an unintended swim. The water was only about three feet deep. The hard part was getting back on the boat, since we were in a 16-footer that had no dive platform. Fortunately it was a warm day and the top half of him (clad in a fast-dry shirt) dried quickly. And even more fortunately, he did not have his phone in his pocket. His reading glasses floated out, but we were able to retrieve them.

Yesterday was a much better day--a beautiful autumn afternoon, with a calm wind that actually dissipated by the time we came in. On days like that, I don't mind taking a ride in a boat.

Jim caught two under-sized red fish yesterday.

We took more than a ride, however. We actually caught fish! Jim snagged two under-sized red fish (red drum). They have to be at least 18 inches to keep; these were about 13 inches. He also caught a 15 inch flounder, which I pan-fried for dinner. My only catch was a six-inch pin fish. Pin fish are often used as bait, although we have made meals on larger ones. We believe there is no such thing as a trash fish, only fish that are less tasty than others. Pin fish fall into that category. But six inches was just too small, so we let him go.

The flounder Jim caught was just enough for a tasty pan-fried dinner. 

The weather has been hit-or-miss for anglers. Those darn hurricanes that keep forming in the Atlantic have not directly threatened us, but they create nor' easters that churn up the water. Today, for instance, a small craft advisory kept all boats in harbor, with gusty winds of 30 mps blowing. When winds are predicted in the 15-20 mph range, boating is not fun and fishing is usually not good, either, even if no advisories are announced.

We have two boats reserved for next week when the weather is supposed to be good. Wish us luck. We plan to have roasted fish for Thanksgiving dinner, and dinner would taste better if it came off our tight lines. If we don't catch anything, though, the fish monger in Mayport will have some nice snapper or grouper for our Thursday dinner.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.

Until later.

Your Reluctant Rover

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