Tuesday, June 25, 2013
League Assignment- Summer Vacation!
This week's topic from the League of Extraordinary Bloggers is,
When I think about summer vacation, the first thing that pops into my head is fishing. I used to spend an obscene amount of time out on the Chesapeake Bay. I first started fishing with a small Snoopy rod and reel when I was four years old. As the years went on, my love for fishing continued to grow. If it was the weekend, and my parents didn't have anything going on, we were going fishing. The downside to that was having to rely on them to be able to go out on the water. My folks were pretty hard workers, so any chance to earn some extra money sometimes trumped the desire to go boating. That all changed when I was 14, and my dad bought a boat for me off one of our neighbors. It wasn't much, just a 16 foot wooden scow. I used an old 4hp engine which pushed it at a blistering 5 knots. I'm sure that made my parents happy, since it was too slow for me to actually do anything stupid. But, it was a boat, and it allowed me to go fishing when I wanted to go fishing. That was the great thing about living on the water. I could just keep my boat tied up on the beach, rather than having to trailer it to a ramp. I could wake up, grab a cooler and my gear, and head out for the day. Most of the time I could catch enough to fill my cooler, but I usually ended up tossing the majority of them back. I might have loved to fish, but I sure didn't like cleaning them. As I got older, summer was less about the vacation, and more about making as much money as I could in those 3 short months. Thankfully, I managed to find a job on a charter boat that allowed me to combine my love for my hobby with the ability to earn money while doing it. It was grueling work, but I met a lot of people working on there, and had tons of fun while I was at it.
I actually managed to find a few pictures from some of my fishing excursions, and I figured I would share them on here.
This one was taken by the pond near my mom's house. It was stocked with largemouth bass, bluegills, and catfish, so there was always something biting. My friends and I would spend most of the day out there on the dock, just casting away. The bass in this picture is actually one of the biggers ones I remember catching out of there. I just noticed I was wearing my "No Fear" hat. Geez, remember when that was a thing?
"Me holding up a shark. About 2.5-3' June '99" That's what is written on the back of the photo at least. I may have been a bit generous in my estimation of the shark's length, but I do remember my arm was starting to get tired from holding him up while my friend tried to work the camera. It looks a bit bloody because I had started to clean it when someone said I should get a picture of it. I actually remember catching this little guy rather well. We had been fishing for a while, and got tired of catching the small stuff. We decided to cut up a couple of fish, hooked them on our lines, then tossed them over. Then we decided to go for a swim while we waited for a bite. My friends and I were swimming around the boat when we heard the drag on one of the reels start screaming. We clambored back into the boat, and I ended up wrestling that shark on board. About that time, we figured it was probably best not to go swimming while we had our bait in the water. It looks like I was wearing that same "No Fear" hat here too. I must have loved that thing.
This is a shot of me while I was working on a charter boat, the Miss Jennifer. This shot was taken in the summer of '03, and was during one of our all day charters. These charters were always my least favorite trips. It was a busload of 30-40 people, and every single one of them brought a cooler. It's hard enough to get around on a boat with that many people, let alone when the deck is covered in Igloos. Something else that I could never wrap my head around was their sheer ineptitude when it came to fishing. These were folks that had been fishing longer than I'd been alive, and they couldn't figure out how to hold their own fishing poles. There's nothing sadder than watching a man use a spinning reel upside down. They also loved to use bloodworms. There are few things in life I hate more than bloodworms. For one, they were messy as hell. Bloodworms were full of, you guessed it, blood. So, cut one open, and it has a tendency to leak blood everywhere. They also came in small plastic containers filled with dirt balls. By the end of the day, the boat's deck look like a muddy slaughterhouse. The other great thing about bloodworms, is that they bite. Think of the creature from Alien, and you would be pretty close. I had a few latch on to me over the years, and most of the times they had to be pulled off rather forcefully, because they weren't going to let go on their own. The worst thing about these charters were the lousy tips. Like the servers in a restaurant, the mates made most of their money through tips. Our normal days consisted of two 4 hour trips, with up to 40 people per trip. Most days, the other mate and I were easily able to clear a hundred dollars each. There were even a few days that I made quite a bit over two hundred. These all day charters though, we were lucky to make thirty or forty dollars each. Thankfully, our boss would pay us pretty well for these days, since he knew we worked our asses off the entire time.
That's a picture of my boss holding a black drum. That one probably weighed fifty pounds or more. Drum fishing was one of my favorite times to work on the boat. We only took 6 people, and they actually had to be competent fishermen. Drum are actually pretty tough to catch, so if you're not paying attention, you're likely to end up with an empty hook.
This last photo is what the drum look like after I've finished filetting them. Most people used a garden hoe to scale the fish, then they cut out the meat. I just bypassed all of that by skinning the fish then cutting the filets out.
So there you have it. When I think of summer, I think of salt water, fishing poles,and enjoying a relaxing day on the water.
What are my fellow bloggers thinking about?
Lee wants to visit the land of Godzilla, anime, and a Universal Studios trapped in time, while Linz wants to visit Alabama for a private Showbizz.
Miss M only enjoys summer vacations on her terms.
Yellina wishes it was summer where she lives.