Last week Wifey wanted to go fishing before we had to become full time babysitters. So I checked the tide and solunar tables for the coming week and determined that the up coming Wednesday and Thursday evenings were supposed to be some of the best fishing opportunities for the month of June.
But she wanted to go on Thursday morning instead, so we got up at 5:30 am to catch the 7:30 am high tide at Cedar Key. The 35 mile drive and a stop to get ice for the cooler and another to get live shrimp as bait put us there just about right. We were mildly surprised at how few people were on the pier already. I had no sooner baited her line and threw it out, when she started things off with a real nice size top sail catfish.
She followed that up with a very nice Whiting.
Then I made a very good catch, a medium sized stingray:
Fascinating creatures that are supposed to taste like scallops. I sure hope so. Luckily a nearby fisherman had a pier landing net to help me get this big boy.
Then we took turns catching more catfish. Lynn caught the big ones, and I caught the little guys.
We saw all kinds of fish being caught, including small sharks, a lemon and bonnet head. One guy even caught an eel. We saw Porpoises playing nearby and I even saw a 3-4 feet wide stingray cruising just below the surface.
Wifey had limited out on catfish and was starting to throw them back when she complained that her wrists were hurting from reeling in all of the fish. Her carpel tunnel syndrome was acting up. Then there was a lull in the fish catching. Finally she said you know I haven't caught anything since I said my wrists started hurting about a half an hour before. I asked if she wanted to leave, but she wanted to stay a while longer, we still had plenty of bait left. (Wifey don't leave until the bait is gone when she is catching fish.) Shortly there after she got a bite, when she set the hook she said she thought she had a snag. She kept pulling and tugging on the line. All of a sudden the line started buzzing off the reel. It hadn't done that before. I took the reel from her, to save her wrists after she battled what ever it was for a few minutes. It was big, I figured it was probably that big stingray I saw earlier. She was using a light-medium weight freshwater pole with a Zebco 33 reel loaded with Spider-wire 12 pound test line. I didn't thing I stood a chance against this monster. It's a long way from the top of the pier to the water below and my rescuer with the net had left already. When I finally got the fish near the pier and saw that it wasn't a ray, I shouted " Anybody got a net ?" Luckily a guy not too far away had one and came to my rescue, for the second time that day. After waiting about half an hour for the fish to tire we finally managed to get it in the net and on the pier. Something I wouldn't have been able to do by myself. I have to get me one of those nets.
Wifey had caught a large black drum....
It was the biggest fish I had ever fought to the end. Earlier in the day we saw one that another person had caught, it was a little bigger than this one and the largest fish I had ever seem caught on the pier. I have only fished there 3 times before.
They do get bigger, this guy was 35 inches long. I can't guess at it's weight, but if you ask me he weighed a ton. My arms and back are still sore from the long fight. Trying to finesse this monster in on a pole, reel and line designed to catch fish less than half this size.
Black Drum are supposed to be very good eating in the smaller 16-27 inch size range. Above that size the meat takes on more of a chicken like texture so I am told. Also the bigger drum play host to a type of tapeworm that only sharks have in the adult stage. The eggs hatch in the muddy bottom and the juvenile worms are ingested while these big fish are eating clam, oysters and crustaceans. Once inside the fish they migrate to the tail section and grow into what is referred to as spaghetti worms. Once I managed to cut through the very hard, tough scales while trying to fillet this beast I found him loaded with them from the pelvic fin to the tail. So I made my cuts well ahead of them and still managed to get 2 large fillets about 6 pounds each.
Well I was hoping to catch enough for a fish fry so I could try the stingray that my son-in-law Jimmy had caught last week. I think we now have enough for that, 12 pounds of black drum fillets + 5 pounds of stingray fillets + 5-6 pounds of catfish fillets and 1 pound of whiting. Not too shabby for a days catch.
So never take your wife fishing.........unless you are prepared to be shown up.