Hammering Auburn Boys in the Tortugas

Florida PLAYS with Auburn

So I get invited to go fish with my good buddy Mark on his 34' Sea Vee. The boat is immaculate, rigged out with every bell and whistle that Sea Vee has on their option list. Usually Mark brings his daughter but since he invited two lads from the wonderful state of Alabama, he thought that might not be a good idea. He's heard that people from that state think that incest is just a good way of getting people to come to family reunions.

The weather forecast was beautiful (if you like Tropical Depressions). Mark assured me that it would all blow over by the time we left the windy city. Mark is a contractor with a minor in weatherman 101. Heck, his prediction couldn't be worse than the people on TV right?

They pick me up from the turnpike, my wife was not too happy when she found out that she had to drop me off at 1:30am but what is a little missed sleep among those that love each other so much. lol

In the truck I was greeted by Mark, two guys that I already knew a two new guys. They were straight from the sticks of Alabama. Seems one of them the day before the trip had a little mishap with a manhole cover. He and the manhole cover were fighting and the manhole cover bit off his middle finger, or at least half of it.

Now I must say, this walking can of chewing tobacco was tough because after getting out of surgery, he boarded a plane. He said he wasn't going to miss this trip for all the beer in NASCAR, and sure enough, he didn't. His new name would be "Nubby". The other southern boy (Nick) was a recent graduate from Auburn University and he sure was proud of it, why he was an alumni of the University of Auburns Bass Fishing Team! HOW DEE!!!! This kid was darn sure not short of self esteem even though he was short in height. While Nubby was the shy quiet one, Nick was just the opposite. He immediately started making fun of all the Florida colleges saying that the best looking women all went to Auburn. He then told me that he'd been dating this hottie (Roxie) for two years and was even thinking of popping the question to her. I asked to see a pic of this little southern bell and he being the modern day redneck just forwarded it to me via email.

Yep, she was definitely an Auburn hottie. He said she use to be an Auburn cheerleader and that she was a "flyer", that's the one they throw up in the air. I think they threw her up and let her hit the ground face first but who am I to judge. I'm sure she has a great personality. I asked Nubby about his girlfriend and he said they'd just broke up, that she'd found another man. He told me that he had some sexy pics of her on his I phone and since she was no longer with him that he'd share her pics with the world just to get even with her. Bernice was her name. She played rollerball back in the 60's. I could see a tear in Nubby's eye when he handed me his phone. Love stinks but don't worry cowboy, there's another gal waiting for you just outside the trailer park.

Anyways, we were barely in Key Largo when the rain started. I'm thinking to myself "What am I doing here"? I brought my foul weather gear but it was looking like Noah was going to be floating by any minute. As we pulled into Key West, it of course was still dark. Marks firefighter buddies were also stupid enough to disregard the weather. They pulled in right behind us. The trash talking began. What is it that makes friends want to out do each other when they go fishing?

Luckily for us, my friend Mike was gone on vacation so I stole all of his live bait out of his pen- he would probably think that one of the other guides stole it(he he). We idled out the pitch black channel. The rain was moving North which was fine with me as we were going to be heading due West. We both ran down to the Marqueses where the pelicans were having a field day on the pilchards. We break out the cast net and in two throws we were stuffed.

After getting all the small baits, we still wanted to add some big pinfish so we anchored up around the corner and put the chum bag out. In short order we had the little monsters behind the boat. Nubbie managed to catch a fish that in 35 years of fishing Key West I'd never seen caught….. a catfish. What is it with southern people and catfish?

I was going to give him a "high five" but it would've been more like a "high four and a half". The firefighters were anxious to get fishing so they said they were
going to take off. Having 3 engines they didn't want to wait on us anyways so we said "Fine, we'll see you at the fort".

After loading up with bait, we too took off at the blazing speed of 36 mph. The boat was loaded down to say the least. When we arrived south of the fort we were being tossed around a bit. Rick opted for not putting on his sea sick patch and soon paid the price. He gave mother ocean back some liquid a number of times but he was a sport about it. We made drift after drift on a deep ledge and to be honest, the bite was not on. We picked at them and caught one here, and caught one there but other than the wind pushing us, there was no current.

Rick caught a horse eyed jack on a metal jig, this was after I lost two metal jigs due to a bad guide on the rod…..grrrrrrr.

At the end of the day we ran back into the fort to set up camp. The other guys had already set up their tent. We let Nubby take the first shower because he needed extra time because of his finger. After 10 minutes I walk out to the boat only to find that Nubby was wearing cowboy boots and shorts. Not since the Village People have I seen anything like it. And worse of all.. he wasn't even embarrassed. I think he thought this was Broke Back Island.

After we got cleaned up we put the steaks on the grill.

It was about this time that Nick started bragging about all the fish he'd caught in his life. Where he'd been, yadda yadda yadda. I asked him "How could you have been to so many places only being 23 years old?" He said "Well, through my personal experience, I saw a need for a product so I wrote to this giant company and told them how they could make a better product that would be perfect for smaller people just like me". I then asked "What was the product?" He pulled out his wallet and sure enough he was right, this produce was perfect for guys like him. He said he gets a monthly check! His new name would be Needle **** Nick.

We all went to bed early except Needle **** Nick, he wanted to catch a tarpon off the dock which he did. He also caught a resident jewfish. The rain found us about 1am but it wasn't bad. 5 hours later we all got up because Mark was making coffee and biscuits. We all loaded back into the boat and prepared to find some moving water. It was much calmer so we could bounce spots much easier. We stopped at one spot and had a little flying fish land in our boat.

While fishing, I think it must be noted that the Raymarine E120 series electronics worked quite well…….. I'm sorry, I can't lie. THEY SUCK! I have never seen electronics that lock up, shut off, beep, and make you shut down your battery switches just to go fishing. It's like they had a mind of their own and that mind was on crack. The "F" word came out of Mark's mouth every 10 minutes. Mark (like I) is spoiled because he had Furuno products on our previous boats. This boat came with this junk probably because someone read a brochure at West Marine saying that it was the latest and greatest. It is true, if you use the plotter you will be late and if you use the radar, you will find the greatest variances in reality. I think I'd become a flats fisherman if I had to use that stuff every day.

Luckily for us, the fish started biting, we started catching grouper, red snapper, muttons and even a late season tuna.

We limited out on grouper, then red snapper. Mark wanted to make some smoked fish so we stopped by a wreck and let the Alabama boys see how tough they were. They opted for the heavy tackle and in short order, we limited out on those too.

By the end of the day we ended up having a pretty good box of bottom fish. We were limited out on red snapper and grouper.

We decided to take advantage of the calm seas and run on back. We could've stayed but we had plenty of fish to clean. While on the drive back, I had to listen to Needle **** Nick claim fame to all the best looking college girls so I did a little search and found that the Fla schools seem to take the crown for the hottest women. Here's how they rank nationally. Sorry Nick, move to Florida and then you can claim the hottest babes.

Don't feel bad, while your girls aren't that good looking, you still have football.

Another fun trip was had by all.

Till next time,



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