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Volume XVII, Issue 10 - March 5 - March 11, 2009
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My Second-Favorite Wedding

On my favorite, I got hooked; on my second, the fish did

Temperatures on the Chesapeake were in the low 30s, and the wind was out of the Northeast, gusting to 35 knots. I, however, was standing in the bow of an 18-foot flats boat in my bare feet and shorts, preparing to cast a small white streamer to the edge of a bank of mangroves.

We had already caught and released spotted seatrout, lady fish and barracuda, and we had lost a nice redfish. All because of a wedding.

Not mine; that was almost 30 years ago. This one was for my wife’s cousin, and it had taken us to Sarasota, Florida. Understand that I’m not an eager fan of matrimonial events. The accompanying gatherings with endless polite conversation are difficult. My social repertoire is extremely limited, and I lack the talent for small talk.

This wedding celebration, however, was different. Cousin Kirsten was from New York City and a dancer. She had been a Radio City Music Hall Rockette before encountering her Mr. Right, Jason, a charming and successful attorney.

Those gathered to celebrate the occasion were not only the numerous family, but also many of Kirsten’s friends including dancers, actors, directors, producers and writers. It was a fascinating atmosphere, and for once the fascinated included me.

At one opulent gathering overlooking Sarasota Bay, while walking about with yet another beverage in my hand, I noticed small white boats scattered in the distance. I also noted that they had guides poised on stern poling platforms and anglers tensed in the bows. My recently acclimated social self evaporated.

In a split second, I had reverted to fanatical fisherman. My brother-in-law Pete, also a devoted angler, was nearby. I eased over and asked in a low voice, “Do you see those guys out there?”

“Yeah,” he answered. “I was in Tampa on business last week and we went out one afternoon and caught jacks, flounder and a few trout.”

Two hours later I was Googling Sarasota light tackle guides on the Internet.

Back to Fishing

The next morning, and safely before the wedding ceremony was to begin, Pete and I were dressed in baggy khaki shorts, sandals and short-sleeved shirts. We loitered at the New Pass Bait Shop on the southern tip of Longboat Key awaiting Capt. John Dixon (saltwater and his flats skiff to take us out into Sarasota Bay.

A fine day it was. With the city’s skyline in the near distance and surrounded by a lovely shoreline, the waters were crystal clear and clean. The varieties of fish swimming the inlets, lagoons and coves were truly impressive.

There were snook, spotted seatrout, redfish, flounder, barracuda, jack crevalle, pompano, lady fish and tarpon. While we didn’t get all of the fish on that list, we did hook up with a pretty fair share.

Later that evening, after Kirsten and Jason had pronounced their vows and kissed to an enthusiastic standing ovation, I looked at my dressed-up self in the mirror. I had a sunburned face, my fingers were scarred and still bleeding from getting careless with a toothy fish and my shoulders ached from four hours of intense fly fishing.

I was content. As we dined under giant banyan trees at a gourmet wedding dinner, I allowed it was the best wedding I had ever attended (except, of course, for my own).

Fish Are Biting

The yellow perch run is coming on slow but steady. A few fish are showing at Black Walnut, Tuckahoe, Wye Mills, Hillsboro and Greensboro. The recent bitter weather may have many of them huddling in the deeper holes, but they are poised to bust out.

Spoiler Alert

The Atlantis Pumping Station dumped 8,000 gallons of raw sewage into Deep Water Creek on the Magothy River last week due to a blockage in the main sewage line. This appears to be a continuing problem. The constant sewage spills plus possible fertilizer runoff from the Bay Hills Golf Course could be prime suspects in the virtually constant mahogany tides that plague the creek during most of summer. It’s worth looking into by those who evaluate the health of the Magothy.

© COPYRIGHT 2009 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.