The Broadband Wireless conference in Orlando ended and we spent a great (and wet) day at Seaworld.
On Thursday (Oct 13) we headed back to Tampa hoping to pick up our RV from the service department at LazyDays. Unfortunately, the warranty work wasn’t quite completed. “No problem!” says our long-time friend, Scott Welch, and pastor of Fresh Start Church in Clearwater. “I’ve got a condo on the beach that you guys can stay in til your RV is finished.”
OH MY GOODNESS!!!! We couldn’t have been blessed by a better gift. This place is wonderful. You can see the Gulf of Mexico from the deck of this third floor condo, and the sand is only 30 yards from the door. Indian Rocks Beach is just south of Clearwater, FL, and 25 miles from downtown Tampa. If you are looking for a vacation spot near the beach, this is a great value and I hope you will consider giving Scott a call.
What a great detour this has been and the fishing has been great as well.
On the first morning, the boys and I jumped on a party fishing boat for a 1/2 day fishing trip. Ben caught the ONLY keeper of our group (a red snapper) and both boys caught a number of small sea bass. I’d like to say that the reason I caught nothing was because I was helping them so much. But there’s no excuse for being skunked!
Sidenote: The deck hand cleaned our fish and handed us a plastic bag. We were excited to get home and grill it. But one thing lead to another and we just stopped for pizza. Somehow we left that bag of fish in our truck overnight…oh, my, what a terrible odor! And we didn’t get to enjoy to fresh fish! Grrrr.
We used the castnet to get some live bait (3″ and 4″ minnows). We got lots of bites and Ben caught one whiting and one yellow tail snapper. But, while our backs were turned, a heron walked up to our bucket and enjoyed the easy catch for a tasty dinner. The sunset was wonderful as we went in late (and the second day without fresh fish!).
Day #3 – The Shark Story
After church, we fished for three hours with nothing but a bite here and there. But for a true fisherman, that just ups the challenge! With three live minnows baited on a three-hook-rigging, Ben cast out with his brand new saltwater rod and reel and set his pole against his chair to chase away a few heron from the minnow bucket. He turned just in time to see his pole bend down and the joyful glee could not be mistaken. Ben had caught two ten-inch ladyfish on a single cast.
Ladyfish aren’t good to eat, but are great for bait. I put the shark-rigging (a steel line with a VERY large hook) on my line and used one of Ben’s ladyfish for bait. I cut the ladyfish several times on each side to cause it to bleed while in the water. For over an hour, I got nothing and Ben continued to catch ladyfish. However, the sunset was beautiful as the whole family enjoyed the painted sky.
With only 10 minutes left before going in, I hooked two ladyfish heads onto the large hook and cast the last cast of the night. Five minutes later, I had a nice tug on the line and felt like I was bringing in a nice sized catfish. It was dark by this time and as I pulled the fish up onto the sand Ben yelled, “It’s a SHARK!!!!” A 20-inch black-tip shark! What a blast!!!
Fifteen minutes after we pulled the shark out of the water, we were grilling shark fillet’s on the stove. That’s fresh!!! What a flavor!
Ben and I got up really early this morning and went out before sunrise. As soon as there was light, we caught minnows in our castnet and started fishing. WOW! Mackeral were biting. We caught two nice sized Mackeral (sorry for the fuzzy photo) and took them inside for a wonderful breakfast feast!