Disclaimer: Once again I have to tell the US Government that this is not a blog, it is merely a
slightly skewed opinion as to the happenings of a fishing trip where I happened to be on the boat.
Some things may or may not have been exaggerated, underestimated, enhanced, photoshopped,
added, subtracted and quite possibly, completely BS'd.
Hammering the Yankee's
I don't normally fish these types of people but one of my old customers called me and begged me to find it in my heart to let these poor saps from Indiana on the boat. Despite living in Democrat USA, Denny is a devout Republican so I figured I'd let his buddies step aboard. I'd just returned from Thailand where I've been working undercover for the US Government trying to infiltrate an international orchid smuggling ring. Those little guys are dangerous but that's a whole other story in itself and since I'm classified Top Secret, I can't tell you about it anyways or I'd be prosecuted for treason.
Now I'm not saying that Denny and his crew are cheap B U T…. they flew into Punta Gorda airport because it was $12 cheaper than Miami. They stayed at a hotel the night before the trip located in Homestead that never had an anglo sleep in it until their arrival. Denny said "Waste not, want not".
Since I'm no longer guiding, I don't have to be nice to anyone (not that I ever was) so I figured I'd really lay into them. Why not? What are they going to do, not tip me? Badmouth me on the internet? Not refer me out to their democrat friends?
They were to meet me at the boat at 8am sharp. Well, here in the state of Florida 8am means 8am. Obviously in Indiana 8am means sometime before 10. Finally, up pulls a mini van loaded with guys that were the epitome of the word "tourist". One of them even had a Bass Pro Shops hat on. He was bound and determined that even though he'd never even seen salt water before, he was going to show me that he could hang with me….. silly Yankee.
There was five of them in all. Their skin was as white as the snow. A couple of their wives were competing in a body building contest in Key West so they figured they'd go fishing for a couple of days before the contest. Tim's wife was the current heavyweight champion of Anderson Indiana. She works part time as a bouncer at Denny's Bowling Center.
The other member of the group, D Wells wife was also competing in the "over 50" division. She too works at the bowling alley cleaning ash trays.
We found out later that she was disqualified for using steroids. Too bad, I think she would have placed even without them.
Denny started unloading enough gear to outfit a small army. We were only going for one night but Cabela's had a spring sale and Denny knew one of the employees at the big mega store; he convinced the kid to ring him up a giant duffel bag which was stuffed with another giant duffel bag. Denny bribed him by giving him a coupon for a free bowling shoe rental at the Bowl a Rama that he owns in Anderson. BTW, Denny's last name is Shapirobergsteinabromowitzrubinfeldt. After the luggage was forklifted into the boat, he started unloading his tackle. Now I wouldn't have minded if he'd brought some decent stuff but he started handing me rods that had plastic reels that had line on them back when Nixon was president. This stuff was junk back then and it only went down hill from then. I simply refused to put it on the boat. In fact, I pointed him out the dumpster where it would be safe against theft from the homeless people. Maybe I offended him? He did bring a Daiwa spinning reel loaded with some nasty glow in the dark line that I made him strip off.
The forecast was for 45% chance of rain on the first day and 55% chance of rain on the second day. I had already begged Denny NOT to come down and fish in August because it was the worst month of the year to go fishing but he said "It's the only time these guys can get off". I found out later that a couple of these guys were retired. (The truth of the matter is that Denny had to use up his frequent flyer miles or he'd lose them). We idled out the channel and instead of 45%ing on us, it 100%ed on us. It actually felt pretty nice as there wasn't much of a breeze. It only rained long enough to put steam in the air and soon we were rocketing past the Marqueses. In one hours time we were within sight of the fort. It was now after 11 and we hadn't even started fishing yet. My plan was to catch groupers and muttons the first day and then go run way up in the gulf on the second day looking for fish that Denny could catch on his silly little fly rods. The other guys wouldn't know the difference between a kingfish and a ladyfish so it didn't really matter.
I stopped the boat and everyone gave me one of those dumb looks like "What do we do now captain"? I hand out the rods and instruct each of them on how to jig for groupers. I was too lazy to get any live bait because we wouldn't need it anyways, not for groupers at least. In short order even these corn huskers were catching groupers (shows just how stupid grouper really are). Heck, we were catching two groupers on one jig.
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I was given some metal jigs by a guy on the Fla. Sportsman website (Wellcraft) to try so I thought it only fair that I drop them down to meet up with my future dinner and sure enough they worked well.
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In all honesty, it was one of those days that anything you put down would get eaten. The only problem was that it was hot, real hot. We caught our limit of groupers and some muttons as well.
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Usually when I fish Gilligan's they get stuck on the bottom a lot but since they were bouncing jigs, I think they only lost about a half a dozen rigs, between all 5 of them. One of the groupers got munched on by a shark and the two young cornfedders double teamed the shark. About 30 minutes the 200 lb beast was laying on its' side next to the boat. I lied to them and said it was a white shark and they of course believed me.
This excited them both as this was something that they'd only seen on Discovery Channels Shark Week. I can't imagine how excited they'll be if they ever lost their virginity but that surely won't happen anytime soon.
We caught grouper after grouper along with some muttons as well.
The fishing was actually pretty good, especially considering that it was 92 degrees out. Where was all this rain they promised us? Could NOAA be wrong? No way, they've never been wrong in the past. We did see a little water spout in the distance and one of them asked "Where's the cellar"? I guess that's a legitimate question when you live in Cornville, USA.
One of the Yankies was D Wells. He was a retired union autoworker, he told me that his idol was Jimmy Carter because he was such a great leader. I understand that there is a place for some unions but if you employ a monkey and that monkey isn't working, fire the monkey. Unions on the other hand promote the monkey…… kind of like the Democratic party did. Anyways, his job on the assembly line was to take a cigarette lighter out of a box and push it into the dash. He said that after doing this for 14 years he could do it in his sleep and that he was the best cigarette lighter pusher inner that they ever had. He doesn't know how that assembly line is going to function without him because it will probably take years to teach someone that skill. Tim, one of the other guys on the trip had hurt his back in his ballet class so he basically just watched… kind of like a fish voyeur.
Late in the day we decide to call it and go in and set up camp. Since it was Fri. there weren't too many other boats there. We set up camp and I gave everyone a tour of the fort with a little history lesson as well. Dr. Mudd would have been proud of me, telling all of his secrets.
With the fire going we cooked sausages and steaks and like always, we had way too much food for 6 people to eat so I went over and offered our extra's to another group of lady fishermen. They'd fished all day and the poor saps only caught one fish so I figured it would be nice to not only give them some food but offer them my P E R S O N A L help at learning the finer points of uh... fishing.There's something about being on an island that makes me feel generous. LOL
It was either donate it away or give it to the hermit crabs and lord knows, I'm sure there's a federal law against feeding a hermit crab in a National Park in the Fla Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Probably punishable by up to 5 years in prison (that's a shot at the Feds, they too read my stories). LOL
We broke out the liquor and commenced to honor the long time tradition of making rum bottles empty. I'd asked Denny to buy some coke as a mixer. I mean, what part of that sentence could he screw up? Well, he brought a coke all right; he brought a six pack of Diet/Caffeine Free/No Carbs/no flavor/no bubbles wanna be Coke. I don't know what kind of diet he was on but whatever it is, I'd rather be fat. At least I'll die with a smile on my face. Denny was getting ready for bed. He has a special pair of underwear that he wears that he swears are good luck…You be the judge.
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Sleeping under the stars sounds real nice but in reality… it sucks. It was hot and there wasn't a breath of wind. It's always nice to lay in your own sweat for hours at a time. I told Evan and Tyler the two guys in my tent, that if either of them snored that I was going to sleep naked… they didn't make a peep. Denny slept on the picnic table because it was free. Thank God that the morning finally came. I asked Denny what he brought for breakfast. He said "Donuts". There were two boxes on chocolate Entemmans donuts that were a week old. It was so hot that the donuts were literally melted together. I asked Denny "Why didn't you get the variety pack?". Denny, right on cue says "These were on sale 2 for 1, Waste not, want not". Note to Denny……. They were on sale because they were stale. Never buy stale donuts you cheap SOB!!! Didn't your mother teach you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?
After our hearty 1 course breakfast, we went looking for shrimpers up to the north. I could've seen more shrimp boats in the Sahara desert! There was no chatter on the radio much less an actual shrimp boat. Once again I assured Denny and the 4 Muskateers that the reason there were no shrimpers was due to their insistence of coming down in August. We once again decided to catch even more groupers and snappers so we ran out into some deeper water and did the same thing we had done the previous day. We were already limited out on groupers so we did the thing that I vowed never to do…. we "catch and released", at least the groupers, the muttons were introduced to our fish box.
After a while I pointed the boat towards a wreck back near Key West. I wanted these guys to know how hard a jewfish pulls. Arriving at the wreck we had it all to ourselves. I rigged up my jewfish rod and dropped a whole grouper over the side and expected it to get sucked in by one of the aquatic toads but after a couple drifts over the wreck, nothing ate it. On our last drift we finally had a visitor. The rod bent over double and Evan was pinned to the gunwale. After about 20 seconds, the fish got us into the wreck. I decided to anchor on the wreck which I rarely do. After having the bait on the bottom I noticed the rod tip started to bend over. I of course tell Evan to start reeling knowing the jewfish is going to try and get to the wreck but the fish didn't. After about 3 minutes Evan say's "I'm tapping out", which basically is saying "I'm giving up". WHAT A WUSS!
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Unlike his brother, Tyler had some testosterone in his body so he took over. In short order I could see the fish below the boat but there was something different, it was longer than any jewfish I'd ever seen. All of a sudden I realized what was on the other end…..a huge sawfish! I ordered the other guys on the boat to break out the video camera and start filming.
The swimming dinosaur made a couple of passes before I could finally grab it's bill. This sucker could do some damage for sure. it was about 12' long with a bill over 4'. We took lots of pictures and I untangled the leader from around it's bill. It was the first sawfish I've seen in 30 years. And yes, while known as a killer, I did release it. Even I wouldn't kill a sawfish….. anymore. LOL
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We continued fishing that wreck. Tyler accidentally dropped a pinfish overboard which was no big deal because the only thing that was eating them was little puppy sharks. Anyways, he notices that the pinny is swimming right next to the boat so he takes the dipnet and tries to catch it. Being coordinated as a fence pole he slips and goes face first into the water. Now remember, it's flat calm. He drops my rod and luckily I was there to save it from going down to Davie's locker. I wish we had the video going because his only excuse was "I almost had him". No wonder this guys still single.
One of them hooks up a bonito, he was setting the hook like he was a tournament bass fisherman. I tossed a jig out and hooked up a second one and handed the rod to Evan to fight. Of course they got tangled and Tyler lost his fish but that's to be expected with Yankee's.
We ran back to Key West where we unloaded the fish.
Denny and I filleted and released the carcasses while the other guys cleaned the boat and oohed and aahed over the tarpon at the cleaning table. Hearing the reputation of the Key West strip clubs, Tim made reservations for the front row at the famous 801 Club on Duval St., Evan and Tyler ended up meeting two locals and hooking up with these hotties.
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They already have another trip planned down here but this time they wouldn't forget their speedo's.
Not much to look at but they were a good group of guys, even if they are YANKEE'S.
Till Next Time,