I was invited to go Red Fish fishing (red fishing?) with a few friends of mine last weekend, and I have to admit, it was less than impressive. Not blaming them, mind you. It turns out that I’m cursed. It seems that every time I try to go onto the water, the weather is less than pleasant.
This time, we were to kayak out to their favorite secret fishing spot and take advantage of the “Big Drum Run” that we were told had just started. I was pretty pumped – I have never caught a salt water fish before. Notice that’s in the present tense. Because it is still an accurate statement.
So this is how it happened:
It was really windy when we got out of the truck, but we expected it to warm up, so we weren’t too concerned about it. As we were unloading the kayaks, I saw this little guy on the boat ramp!
This is a Lightning Whelk, a marine gastropod (snail) similar to a conch. But, you can tell the difference between a Lightning Whelk and other shells because these open to the left! (There’s your fun fact for the day). So not only was it cool for me to find one of these after I learned what they were, but I have NEVER seen one with a snail still inside before! They have always been taken over by hermit crabs by the time I see them!
So I put the little guy right back where I found him (and then realized maybe I should have moved him somewhere else, because not only was he on a boat ramp, but there were also seagulls everywhere, so he might have become someone’s lunch. Oops. Oh well, he put himself there, not me.)
I may have mentioned before that wind is awful. It is frustrating, it is unending, and the only thing you can successfully do in the wind is fly a kite. It was windy last weekend. So windy, we had to plan ahead for the wind, and paddle way out to the east of the island so that the wind would basically push us onshore when we got there. Of course, since I had never been there before, I was merely following behind the group. I thought we were going to get off the kayaks about where we got close to the island, but instead had to paddle around the corner. Into the wind. I paddled as hard as I could, and still didn’t move! I don’t know how I got past that corner. However, when we finally landed and pulled our kayaks on shore, we got ready to catch some fish.
While we were pulling the kayaks up on shore, I saw another Lightning Whelk shell (this one was empty) and a different species of snail-shell, right next to each other. The teacher in me was so excited, and I ran to one of my friends to show them the difference. She was not as impressed as I was hoping for. No one ever is.
I ran up and down the beach collecting shells, because this is an island that no one ever goes to, so there we great shells (in-tact) for the taking! I also got a ton of bird pictures because the pelicans were fishing right near us. And you know what else was fishing near us, freakin’ dolphins! But I wasn’t able to get a picture of them 😦 Bwoop.
I told them they had a lot to teach me about salt water fishing, and they said, “all you’re going to be doing in catching!”
After a while, my friend’s dad got a fish on his line, and we all got really excited because he said that it’s like a light switch – once one bites, they all start biting. Well, after a while of fighting with this fish, he thought maybe the fish got off the line, and it was just hung up on the underwater ledge, because he didn’t feel any movement for a while. Then suddenly, he felt the fish move again, but he was sure it had jammed itself up under the ledge. His solution was to run back down the beach and get his kayak, and paddle out with his pole so the fish couldn’t pull against the ledge anymore. He gave the pole to my friend’s husband and ran down the beach. As soon as he arrived at his kayak, the husband felt the fish release, and he reeled it in like it was nothing!
You can even see her dad in the far left of the picture, pulling his kayak on shore when is fish has already been reeled in. Oops!
He’s next words: “You still can’t claim this one as your fish.” I love it.
And he was the ONLY ONE WHO CAUGHT ANYTHING. Ok, well that’s not true. My friend caught this:
It was a dead eel – not sure which species of eel, because when I tried to GTS, nothing really looked like this guy. He looks pretty vicious, though!
Throughout the morning, the wind got worse and worse, and I swear the temperature dropped. My friend’s dad turned into McGyver and propped my kayak up on its side to make a wind break.
After that was created, I didn’t want to get out into the wind again! I tried, but couldn’t hack it. My friend’s dad kept catching things, but he threw them back because they were small, or they were sting rays *love*
He showed me how to restrain them so you don’t worry about getting barbed or hurting them, and how to get the hook out of their mouth. Then he let me pet it! The first one he caught was a male, and the second was a female, and it was so neat to be able to see the differences! (I’m not going to explain the differences to you – that’s what Moms are for). I swear one day, when I’m rich and famous, I will have an aquarium in the floor of my house full of sting rays. This will happen.
After a little more fishing, we were finally all ready to head home, with one fish and the knowledge that there is a working heater in the truck. Because I understand that nothing outdoors is going to go perfectly well, and I understand that I am, in fact, cursed on the water, I look at it this way: next time I go, (unless there is a freak hurricane) the fishing WILL BE BETTER, NO MATTER WHAT! So I’m looking forward to the next trip!