Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fishing with Father

My mom, dad, and grandmother came for a visit this past weekend. Mom, Sis, and the nephews were here the weekend before over the holiday, but Daddy couldn't come because he had to work.

It's been at least 2 years since Daddy and I had been out fishing and crabbing, so I had planned for the two of us to do so on Saturday. And so we did. It was a lovely morning, overcast and not too hot. We left the house around 7, I think, stopped by the Gate station for some coffee for us and ice for the coolers. We caught Tal coming in for a Diet Mountain Dew before departing for the wilds of Tuckfroy and I got to say a proper goodbye to him! (He was just stirring as Daddy and I were getting ready and leaving.)

I had decided to try a new fishing spot this time. My old favorite had been the Moon River pier on the way out to Skidaway Island. It's a nice, peaceful place - if you can tune out the cars whizzing by behind you on the bridge crossing the river (the piers run alongside the bridge as you can see in the picture below). I didn't have much luck the last time I was out there with my friend/co-worker Rosie, as you can see:

Yeah, that's a striped bass I believe. Too small to keep, but it got stuck in my crab net and died so I decided to keep it and use it for bait to hopefully catch a bigger fish. No such luck.

Anyway, since I had such rotten luck there I thought maybe we'd try a different location. I decided on the Lazaretto Creek fishing pier because it was right across from where they launch shrimp boats and dolphin tours, so I figured if the fish and crab weren't biting at least we'd have some entertainment. Little did I know WE would be providing some entertainment as well!

Here's the pier:
It's a bit of a hike from the parking area to the end of the pier, but the view is awesome. There are several big advantages this place has over the Moon River:

1) As you can see, the bridge is far enough away that the traffic passing over isn't as loud.

2) It has porta-potties!!! (they did install a porta-potty at the Moon River once upon a time. One fishing trip it was there and new and beautiful. Yes, I did use it. The next trip, I found nothing but a big puddle of melted green plastic where it once stood. Some butthead came along and burned it down. And stole the Moon River sign.) The Lazaretto potties are back near the parking area, so you DO have to hike a bit and hope you make it after 4 hours and a liter strawberry-flavored fizzy water. I almost didn't. And then when you get inside, it's like a big stinky sauna. By the time I got the pants to the ankles I was sweating so bad that I nearly slid off the potty seat (didn't help that the porta-potty was leaning forward slightly). TMI, I know, but I was sitting there giggling the whole time trying to do my business without sliding out the front door!

3) Dolphins are shrimp boat groupies. Pelicans, seagulls, and sea turtles are, too. I only saw one dolphin when we were out on the Moon River. And a few seagulls. At Lazaretto, we saw pods of dolphins following the boats passing by. A lady on a passing party barge was standing on the edge of the boat feeding them some bait fish, they were jumping up out of the water to get them. It was like being at Sea World! And the pelicans and seagulls....let's just say we could have filmed a sequel to "The Birds".

4) It's closer to the ocean, and I was hoping the bigger crabs would be, too.

So Daddy and I get there about 8:15-ish, after making a stop at a convenience store to go potty (not knowing whether or not there would be facilities, ya know). We drag all our equipment down to the end of the pier and get all set up, and get the nets and lines in the water, and wait for the first bite. Daddy spent the majority of the time trying to untangle fishing reels and replacing my hook/sinker setups a couple of times when they got hung up and lost to the briny deep.

It was fun even though we didn't catch much. I got 2 blue crabs and a stone crab, caught a small sting ray and a couple of those ugly dang dogfish. Daddy got a couple of croakers, an eel, and more of those ugly dogfish.

When I caught the sting ray, the guys around me were telling me to hold the line away from me so the tail wouldn't get me. I got it up on the pier, and one of guys grabbed a knife and cut its tail off then looks at me and says, "You want to keep it." I take a look at the now-tailless ray bleeding all over the pier at my feet and said, "I don't think so." So he kicks it and it's tail off the pier. I felt sorry for the little fella, swimming around out there with no tail - if it didn't bleed to death.

When he caught that eel, I was squealing like a tweeny girl at a Jonas Brothers concert! "Kill it, kill it! Hit it in the head with something.......but don't lose it, I want to use it as crab bait!" And he's going, "Hit it with what? I don't have anything to hit it with!" So he starts flinging it around like a whip, beating it on the deck while I'm running around squealing again and ducking. Finally, one of the guys out there fishing (after he picked himself up off the dock after falling out laughing at us...) came over with a towel and held the eel while Daddy took the hook out of its mouth. Then the guy took off with my eel saying something about it tasting like chicken. I was miffed because he took my crab bait, but Daddy said just let him have it if he wants to eat it. (GROSS!)

We finally had to pack it in, as it was getting late and Mama and Grandmother were waiting for us to get back so we could go out for supper. Good times, but now I'm peeling like a snake and have a monster fever blister from all that fun in the sun. Note to self: never buy that Target brand Sport Sunscreen again!

3 high-fives:

Talmadge Gleck said...

It was all you could do to hold onto your pole when you got that bite. Wow.

That's some awesome dining you've got there; I look forward to helping you scale and filet it.

Kate/Susan said...

I feel slightly sorry for the tragedies that befell the ray and the eel, but I'm laughing my ass off... And I love the picture of you and your prize catch. Well done! You've caught more than I ever have in a short and inillustrious career :-)

Seraphim9 said...

You guys will have to come down sometime during the summer so I can take you out there. If nothing more to sit there on the pier and watch the wildlife. It's just the coolest thing to see a wild dolphin pop up or a pelican fly by. Or a shrimp boat owner curse out another for parking in his boat in his spot.