May 19, 2014
I grew up with a great family; always loving, caring, protective and one that encouraged me to try my hardest. My dad loved the outdoors and passed his traits on to me, teaching me mostly everything he knew. Mom was always there to go along for the ride just to enjoy the scenery, get in on the action when it got exciting, and in general just enjoy the experience of being with the two men in her life. Since then, moving several states away has impeded this process from happening as often but on this past Mother's Day the thrill came alive again as my mother and I had a relaxing yet action packed weekend before she flew back home.
Friday we ventured into some new territory in the kayaks as we explored the mangroves and canals along the North Fork in St Lucie. The day was sunny, winds blowing to keep the air feeling cool, and a sense of relaxation from our busy schedules set in as we paddled under Spanish Moss, overhanging trees, and eventually past houses sitting on the canal banks. I had brought some easy casting DOA shrimp to skip under the docks in hopes of snook to put a bend in the rod for mom. One particular dock housed all the snook that we caught, catching one at each pass.
This was her day, so I tried to make it as relaxing as I could, packing a sandwich lunch, drinks, and also bringing a tow rope so she wouldn't have to do much paddling back against the wind. Although manatee signs were everywhere we didn't see much wildlife except for the occasional passing bird and a small turtle resting on an overhanging tree that was soaking up some sun. All in all I'm pretty sure she had a very relaxing Friday...which Saturday presented itself as quite the opposite; intense and thrilling.
Earlier in the week I had the opportunity of going offshore with my friend Jim on his 31' Edgewater with twin 300's, in search of where the mahi may be biting for Saturday's Ft Pierce Dolphin Frenzy tournament. We landed a pair of 15lbers and Saturday looked opportunistic. As we dropped the boat in the water on tournament day, Jim and his wife, Katie, a new friend Matt, and myself and my mother jumped in and off we were to get checked in and then head out the Ft Pierce Inlet.
I was extremely glad to have the larger boat, especially when the seas were calling for 3 foot and ended up being closer to 6-8 at times. It took us 2 hours to get to our location before we dropped a few rigged ballyhoo behind us to start our trolling. We ended up close to a Navy ship that must have been performing some training because we were warned by an overhead Navy bomber to turn our coordinates away from the ships ASAP; but thats where our trolling area was!
At 11 o'clock we had our first hit and it was a screamer. I sat in amazement as I saw mono being ripped out of our Penn International 30, almost half gone within seeming only seconds, quite different than the inshore fish I uaually target. As we bumped up the drag a bit the hook must have been in a soft spot and pulled out...such a bummer! Another good hit resulted in the same outcome about an hour later.
As the day grew smaller we reeled in a few small peanuts for the cooler and our hopes of getting a good one for the scales thinned. It wasn't until roughly 3:30pm that we had the hit we had been wanting. Check in time was at 5pm. And it took us 2 hours like I had mentioned to get out there. Matt's arms were burning as he reeled in the 20lb dolphin on the smaller TLD, eventually getting it in the boat at 4pm. We weren't quite sure if we could make it in on time as we were out 12-15 miles but we gave it our best shot on the setting seas, which were now about the projected 3 foot. The twin 300's came in handy because we pulled up to the weigh in area at exactly 5pm and felt like champions as we held up our catch in front of the crowd.
So in counter of the relaxing Friday, Saturday had my mother soaking wet from head to toe, sunburnt in spots, but a glad smile nonetheless to have fished in our first offshore tournament together, spending much time with me and enjoying every bit of it.
I hope you found your day/weekend special with your mom! Make each memory count. Keep each tight line exciting.