I am glad to say I am going to make it. If you are wondering what on earth that means, then the answer is right outside your door. Trees are finally blooming, a warm breeze wraps around me like a warm blanket and I feel 100 percent better – well maybe 70 percent is a more accurate percentage. This past winter nearly took me down.
Try writing an outdoor column weekly while it’s so cold and dreary it’s hard to step outside morning, noon and night. But with this current warm blast of air, I am well on the road to recovery. It’s as if I have been given massive doses of vitamin B-12. I won’t say I feel awesome. Maybe 6 on a scale of 10 best describes my current mental status.
With that said, on Valentine’s Day I finally got out on the water! It was one of the first warm days we have had in quite some time. I hadn’t intended it to be a real fishing day but more of a shakedown cruise on my boat the “Marsh Monkey.” After months of sitting idle, I wasn’t sure if the old gal would start, but on the first turn of the key she fired right up. Like the old Alka-Seltzer jingle “Oh what a relief it is” says it all.
On this first outing I wasn’t alone. Also inspired by blue skies and warm air, Will “Catfish” Thompson was also just a-itching to go along. Fishing reports had been spotty, but what the heck, we decided to give sheepshead fishing a go. This is where it gets funny, because his and my day couldn’t have started more differently.
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Preparing for our adventure I went to the gas station to fuel up the boat, and while there, decided to buy one $2 scratch-off lottery ticket, something I rarely, if ever, do. I won $50! Meanwhile, Catfish was deluged with problems at work that needed solving.
When we left the dock, I wore a smile while he sported a scowl. That should have been the first sign that mojo was going to be the word of the day.
Arriving at a tried and true sheepshead spot, down went our baits. Within minutes I hooked a monster sheepshead that there was no stopping, and I lost it. Then shortly afterward I landed one pushing 10 pounds, along with two big black drum. Only a foot or two away from me, Catfish didn’t get a single bite. He was bummed lamenting that he had “lost his mojo.”
Then it happened. Because we had not brought ice, I grabbed my sheepshead by the tail so I dip it in the water and keep it fresh. It had been in the boat for a good hour, but as soon as he felt the water it resurrected and with one mighty flip of the tail was out of my grasp and disappeared into the depths.
Catfish was ecstatic, saying he knew that would happen. I didn’t let up on me for a good five minutes, when I glanced beside the boat and there was my sheepshead. Not saying a word, I grabbed the landing net, scooped him up and plopped it on the deck. That was it for poor Catfish. He totally became unglued about my good mojo and his dismal mojo. That told me it was time to head in.
Two hours after getting in Catfish called. In that space of time, he still hadn’t made it home. He had left my boat’s live well full of bait and had to turn around to get it out so I didn’t find a stinky surprise, then left his credit card at Chick-fil-A and again had to turn around and on and on he went about losing his mojo. Usually I read to fall asleep, but that night I laughed myself to sleep.