We headed over to mom and dad’s for Easter. The octogenarian wanted to see his grandson catch of few of his pet snappers off the dock. According to dad, they were not biting too well due to the large cuda hanging around the dock. The fish would hit and then head for the mangroves. At the slightest bit of tension, they would drop the bait. Wait too long and they had your line wrapped up around the mangrove roots like Christmas tree lights…around and around.
Jake did get two nice sized snappers before they shut down completely. One was 19”! The one in the picture was closer to 15”. Later the cuda ate my bait and zipped across the canal at lightning speed. First right, then left, as he cart wheeled through the air, only to throw the hook in under 10 seconds. Fun for my old man to watch I am sure. While it’s hard to watch him climb up and down the stairs to the dock with his now skinny legs I say to myself hey, he is 83 at least he can still fish unlike many others who can’t for one reason or another including Jose who, so tragically died this week. Which leads me to my next story from today……
As you may have noticed, today was a gorgeous day. What made it even more gorgeous was it was the first “official day” of my vacation. I had to go fishing just thinking about Jose my dad and how every day is so special. We need to remember that and take advantage of every fishing day that we can. So I got some pilchards and headed out in search of dinner. My nostalgic trip was quickly interrupted by that awful sound that an engine makes when it is starving for fuel. Then it died. The tank was nearly full. However, instinctively, I lifted the hatch to see if there was any fuel in the ball. That’s when I noticed the plastic nozzle in the ball had broken completely off and now my fuel line was disconnected from my engine! Unbelievable! A cheap plastic nozzle broke off inside the fuel line hose is about to ruin my day. But wait, I have seen those Cialis commercials where the guy buys the water for his overheating car. The guy on the sailboat uses the life vest strap to fix the sail. Hey, why can’t I be that guy? Well without the undesirable symptoms! Confidently, with no game plan whatsoever, I took things apart. First I cut off the hose from the broken piece and then I pulled out the valve piece from inside the ball. Now wouldn’t this be sweet, I thought, if the hose fit right into the ball without the stem? I jammed the hose in the ball and secured it with a hose clamp. Unbelievable, it not only fit, but was as tight as any man in any Cialis commercial could hope for! I pumped the ball a bunch of times, but was not feeling any gas moving to the engine. (This part is real not a Cialis set-up joke).
I decided to try and crank the engine and use the fuel pump to suck the fuel. . (This part is also real not a Cialis set-up joke). How it worked I will never know, but it did. To my amazement, it did not leak a drop of fuel! I ran it and kept checking for leaks. Nothing. So I figure that’s cool I am that guy…without the symptoms of course. Now what would really be cool is to catch some fish. Was that in the cards or was this a disaster trip just waiting to happen? Cialis man blows himself up being an idiot and not coming home despite broken fuel line! Nice headline.
Hours and hours of all kinds of fishing go by and nothing. Not only was I not catching anything, but nobody was catching anything either. I had to listen as drift boat captains complained they were so bored they wanted to go home! Poor poor fellas! It’s such an awful job floating around in a big boat fishing all day in beautiful weather. Idiots! They should try doing my job. Which is why I am fishing, because I needed a vacation! And what do I do on my vacation? Float around in a smaller boat fishing all day in beautiful weather. Only I am loving it!
But God, where are those freaking fish? I was a good boy and gave half my snook to the rest of my family for Easter. You know the ones who say I never give them any snook. So don’t I deserve something besides a remora that ate several of my prized pilchards?
Finally my prayers are answered. A dolly swims by as I was jigging and ate the vertical jig. As I was fighting it, a second one swam by. I decided that since I was the “Cialis man” I could flip the first one into the boat. That did not work out too well. The loose and flying fish missed the deck on the splashdown. Bummer! The second one failed to hit anything I threw at him. However, right about the time I was voting that this was a disaster trip from hell, the last live bait on the boat got smoked! The reel was screaming as the fish headed towards Bimini. I figured, ok this is it. This is the big one. The thirty plus pounder. It ain’t no schoolie. However, quickly into the fight, I realized that this aint no dolphin neither. It was staying down and dirty. The circles and thumping tail spelled t-u-n-a. Now I was hoping beyond hope that my bad luck was about to change. Dear Lord let this be a blackfin. But as you already know, I have broken down already, lost a nice fish at the boat too. So, it’s not looking so good so far. As the fish slowly rose from the depths, I could see that it was not that silvery blue color. My hopes were kept alive longer and longer (insert Cialis joke here). That hope soon turned to panic, as I could clearly see the fish was foul hooked, just above the eye. Unlike the dolphin disaster, I vowed to be patient and not horse this potential sushi platter in so fast. So slowly, ever so slowly, I raised the circling tuna trying to keep the pressure even so the hook would not pull. It was also apparent that this fish was not a tiny tuna either. This was a nice 15 plus pounder. Being a mostly a snook fisherman, I don’t have my gaff as handy as I should. But then again, grabbing a fish with my bare hands is part of the challenge right? Sort of Manny Puig like. With one hand on the leader I used the other to grab the fish’s tail. This time there was no splashdown! Except when I threw him in the live well to bleed him out. So from now on call me Cialis man (without the symptoms!).