Fish Tale (With Dolphins)

On our last day in Florida during Spring Break, we met up with a guide, Captain Cam just before the break of dawn. Cam was taking us out for a half day in shore fishing excursion. We felt lucky as we booked the event the day before - this would be our last "touristy" opportunity as my parents are selling their Florida home and this will most likely be our last visit to the area.

We got in the speedboat and Cam stated "we're going over there to get bait", gesturing towards Sanibel Island. In my naivety, I thought there was some bait shop "over there". You know, worms that are kept on ice, worms that you buy.

In reality, "over there" was the pylons of the Sanibel bridge and getting bait meant casting for it with a net, the bait being little fishes / minnows. Several boats were already out by the bridge, starting their day the same way - casting for bait.

Today's Adventure #florida #fishing #sanibel

The process of casting nets was fascinating to watch - the swirl of the net, the sheen glistening off the fish scales, minnows twisting. All against backdrop of the rising sun.
Cast Out

There were visitors, waiting for a morsel to come their way
Waiting for a Morsel

Bait in hand (really, in a reservoir towards the back of the boat), we traveled into the mist of the bay. The fog enveloped us, the rising sun all but gone. It felt cold, grey and silently eerie. We had been in this waterway before - years ago, when visiting the Edison-Ford winter estates - the Caloosahatchee River.

Through the Fog

We stopped at The mangroves along Shell Island. Cam baited and cast the lines. Brian got the first bite, almost immediately, but lost the fish just as fast. The waters were full of Yellow Jackfish, a medium sized fish, not willing to give up the fight. Brian and Scott managed to reel their catches in, but it took me several tries before I got the reel technique down. These guys were strong and challenging (for me, I'm more or less the spectator on this excursion). We kept two of the Jackfish, releasing the other 6 or so.

First Catch of Day #florida #fishing #mysonpickedthathashtag

Yeah, I Caught One - it's Me And Jack.  #fishing #florida #feelsslimy
Yeah, my fish feels slimy!

The sun started to peek out and Cam took us out between Sanibel and St James. His boat tops 70mph, so we held on to our hats!

We were now fishing for trout with lures. They had to be at least 15" to keep, so the smaller ones were released. On occasion, a fish would swallow the rubber lure and wouldn't survive the extraction - we watched long necked water fowl scoop up the dead fish and gulp it down its skinny neck. Other birds swooped from the sky, taking lunch into its talons. Nature in action.

En route to our third location, Cam spotted a dolphin swimming along side the boat. "Let's see if I can get him to jump the boat's wake" - and the playful dolphin did just that! We just stood there, amazed. I got out my camera and started shooting. That dolphin jumped the wake 4-5 times. That experience "was not on the tour brochure", and certainly a special bonus.
Playing Along 1

playing Along 2

playing Along 3
Overall, we brought home 4 nicely sized trout and the 2 Jackfish. Cam filleted the Jackfish and simply gutted the trout. We grilled up half the Jackfish for lunch (tasted like Mahi-Mahi) and my mother pan fried two trout the next morning. They froze the remaining fish and enjoyed them the following week when my sisters came to visit.

The experience was completely unexpected and a great way to end our trip. I've recently read where happiness is found more in experiences vs physical things and this day certainly proves that out.

Jeanne  – (April 17, 2015 at 7:20 AM)  

your photos are absolutely awesome. Love that shot of you with the slimy fish, and how fun that this dolphin enjoyed playing and that you had the camera ready!

Nicki  – (April 17, 2015 at 7:46 AM)  

I hung on every word, mentally visualizing the course of events and sensing a greater appreciation for each image as it helped forward the course of your day. You are absolutely right about how life experiences are what we deeply treasure - sometimes a material item plays a cameo in the retelling of a story - rarely is it THE story.

Awesome experience.

Amy at love made my home  – (April 17, 2015 at 1:56 PM)  

How wonderful!!!! I love your face in the picture of you holding your fish!!! So glad you had such a good time!! xx

Barb  – (April 17, 2015 at 9:43 PM)  

Shirley, I love the expression on your face! My sons like to fish - me, not so much. However, your boat excursion looks fabulous esp with the bonus dolphin sighting. The photo of casting the net is wonderful!

Unknown  – (April 19, 2015 at 12:29 PM)  

Sounds like a great trip! We are also making an effort to experience more adventures as a family --especially since my daughter will be off to college in just a few years.

Anita Johnson  – (April 19, 2015 at 10:39 PM)  

Shirley, what a great trip! I love those dolphin shots!

Unknown  – (April 23, 2015 at 6:37 PM)  

Wow! What a way to spend your last visit to that area. I would love to that close to a dolphin. I bet it was amazing.

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