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Well, what can I say? I had a couple of drinks too many so I decided to stay in Cedar Key and fish. (As good a reason as any.)
Alas, 3:30 in the morning approached and I was tired of letting the catfish off my hook. I threw out the poles anyway and stuck them out the window of my vehicle, kicked the seat back and waited for the drag to sing. I would doze for a few and check the bait again later.
Mosquitoes weren’t helping; their bites kept me awake till the sun’s blinding light gave me no choice but to greet the day. With reddened and squinting eyes I retrieved my empty hooks.
The city was waking with people out on their morning treks, some to work, others jogging or biking and walking for exercise; and still others just to see whose car was parked where from the night before.
I was trying to ignore all this.
As a fisherperson, I was enthralled by the splashing of mackerel eating bait off the rocks near the Beachfront Motel, a place of meditation for me, but to no avail. I guess there was so much bait they weren’t interested in my pinfish floating near the surface.
Believe me, I tried for two hours before finally getting one to bite, only to find out my leader was wrapped around my line from throwing into the wind and having one of these toothy fellas taking my Cajun thunder out of sight.
I give up! I’ll go somewhere else and try for reds and trout. Something I’m more effective at since I fish mainly from the shore, and believe me, scores of reds and trout have been moving in! September promises to be a fulfilling month to catch a red to take home or a nice sized trout as well, but especially a hard-fighting red. In the last three trips reds have outnumbered trout three to one (although I did land a 27" trout that kind of equaled the difference).
Very few things can stop my tunnel vision when I set out to catch my dinner. However, on my way to the airport bridge, a van was parked hood up and a bewildered woman was looking under it.
Unloading my poles, my conscience kept beckoning me. I tried to ignore it by getting the rest of my gear together. Then my conscience tells me, “Help her and good things will come.”
That appealed to my catch-a-fish side and I acquiesced. I asked her if she was ok and she wasn’t sure. Believe me, it’s no fun being broken down 40 miles down Hwy 24. Luckily, a quick inspection of the motor compartment showed her a/c was not functioning correctly. The clutch was sticking, causing the motor to run poorly and a/c compressor to smoke. Well, a hot ride home is better than hitch-hiking, or worse, no ride at all.
So after a good luck and goodbye from each, we were each on our own way; she to her house and me to the bridge.
Now many people think the airport bridge is a catfish hole or stingray bed – and sometimes it is true I guess. But when my father was alive we would spend the day there. It was usually very productive. Even some friends of ours caught their first ever legal red there.
It’s not a secret spot (obviously). The secret is in the tackle – but most important – the bait used. I’m sorry I can’t tell you, and if you already know, keep it on the down-low.
On this Saturday I was anxious, so hyped-up that I didn’t change my shoes, too late once they are wet you might as well keep walkin’.
So I find a place to cast my poles and was rewarded with a double hook-up! An 8" snapper and a 14" trout! Although they weren’t legal size, their release into the water gave me more encouragement to keep trying. Try I did.
Few believe you will catch a fish every cast, but what started out as a red-eyed morning ended up as a red-skinned afternoon with lots of catching, albeit undersized reds and trout and a few broken lines. I did manage to take home a nice healthy 25" red.
So remember, be good and good will happen.
Happy fishing this fall!
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