Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Blast From the Past!
Look out world! Here comes three 18 year old small town South Georgia boys to do a little fishing. I bet you can't tell which three!! I'll give you a little hint. Me and my two buds Blake and Allen are in the front of the boat showing off what we thought were impressive "come hither ladies" bods. This picture was taken in June of 1991 in Panama City where the three of us were enjoying our Senior Trip after High School Graduation.
I found this picture and was reminded of our little fishing trip as I was going through some old high school stuff the other day. My classmates and I are in the middle of planning our 20 year high school reunion and I have had quite a few laughs remembering some of the good times that I shared with some great friends. Classmates are posting old pictures over on our class Facebook site and everyone seems to be getting into the spirit of the upcoming reunion. One of the girls posted a picture of a bunch of them on their Senior cruise, so I thought I would offer this picture of this little afternoon cruise aboard the SW Anderson fishing charter boat! It was part of a fleet for the Captain Anderson's restaurant. I think we were supposed to go out and catch the "catch of the day"! It didn't work.
The crew included myself, Allen, Blake and Lee. We left for Panama City for a week of play and spent most of our time playing volleyball on the beach, chasing other young co-eds, drinking beer, or going to the dog tracks. We kept seeing a plane fly over carrying one of those signs that said "Fishing Charters Available". We had nothing else to do, so we decided to give it a shot. Allen, Blake, and I should have stayed back on the beach with Lee, but you live and you learn.
We set sail with all of these people that you see in the picture with high hopes. The pictures shown in the lobby of the ticket office and the restaurant promised a boatload of fish ranging from big to bigger. None of us had ever been on a charter fishing boat before so we really didn't know what to expect. Most of our fishing had been confined to larger farm ponds, a small lake or the river. As we were sailing on our little journey, I noticed that the ocean provided a little more bumpy ride than the Ocmulgee River, and one of my partners had started to change colors. Blake was not coping very well with the seas and did not do so well at all when they came by with the chum bucket full of squid that would serve as our bait for the day. As they were dipping out a full scoop of squid and placing it on the rail next to where we would be fishing that afternoon, Blake decided that his stomach had seen enough. He was last seen laying on the floor of the boat sucking up air conditioning in the captain's quarters.
Allen and I got ready to fish as the large boat came to rest above some structure that had been placed on the ocean floor for fishing purposes. We were instructed to simply bait our hooks and drop our lines straight down to the bottom. This seemed kind of like boring fishing to us, but we did what we were told and dropped our bait just waiting for the massive grouper or flounder to take our line. Now remember that I mentioned that the seas were a little ruff. Now imagine 30 folks standing next to each other with lines in the water. This was not a good combination. We spent the better part of our day catching each other. Lines would get tangled at the drop of a hat and the only fish that were being caught were little fish not much bigger than the bait. The captain kept telling us to keep our lines straight in front of us. He was either very high or very stupid! This trip was turning into a bust!
Allen had just about had enough. This wasn't fishing. He kept telling me that he wanted to cast his bait out further than the other lines so that he wouldn't keep getting tangled up. The only problem with that is that we had been given strict orders from the captain not to throw our baits. Well the day was coming to a close and it was quite obvious that this particular boat would not make the picture wall back at the landing. Allen said the heck with it. He baited his hook, drew back, and let it fly. He was immediately reprimanded by the captain and told to bring his bait in. As he was reeling he set the hook and told me he had something. Of course I thought he was joking until I saw his line zip across the 30 other lines in the water leaving a tangled mess in it's wake. Fish on!!! Allen fought the mighty fish for a while as we were waiting to see what he had hung. Was it grouper, flounder, dolphin, a shark?? The possibilities were endless.
Allen had caught the biggest fish on the boat! We made it back to shore with our prize. I hope no one ordered the catch of the day that night at Captain Anderson's restaurant, for Allen caught a 15 pound Bonita fish.
Something tells me they don't taste quite like grouper!!