They were polite, excited and ready to get the official Catch Your Limit Pontoon Boat on the move. It wasn’t until we were motoring down the St. Marks River on our 6 or 7 mile trek to the Gulf that we learned neither of the girls had ever been on a boat, much less fished, before. This was either going to be a really great or really bad day … there would be no in-between.
The closer we got to the Gulf, the harder the wind was blowing. It was coming out of the Southwest at about 15 to 20 knots. Kyle and I would probably not have gone out ourselves, but since all the other boats carrying kids were darting here and there heading to their favorite fishing holes, we plowed ahead.
It occurred to us that since neither girl had been boating or fishing we would just tell them this was a perfect day. They would just think this is what it’s always like. And, the ploy worked. The first thing they wanted to do was “captain the boat through the waves.” Once they got the hang of staying between the red and green buoys, they wanted to add speed to their new skill sets.
When we made it to the flats where we were going to do a little exploratory casting we gave the girls some basics on how to fish. One, don’t cast the rods and reels out of the boat, just the lure and line. Next, don’t hook anyone, especially Kyle and me. And last, when you get a fish on, land it at all cost … especially the keepers.
Well, to our surprise, Aylissa and Diamond not only mastered casting (with a little help from their new friends because they were casting into a pretty stiff wind), but also mastered catching. Fish were flying all around the boat and they were somehow netting their share and landing them. We threw away the small trout but managed to keep six speckled trout, one mackerel and one nice blue. The girls named the keepers. One of the trout was named Bob. Most of the fish that were thrown back to their mama’s had to be touched or held by the girls. Remember, they had never caught, much less touched a live fish.
When it was time to go back to shore, the big challenge was who was going to captain the boat first. Each girl got their turn at the wheel and throttle and the boat was filled with smiles, talk about the catch of the day and who caught the biggest fish.
We said our goodbyes and Kyle and I headed back to civilization. But the pictures in our minds of the Alyissa, Diamond, Bob and the other fish were indescribable other than to say, who needs a camera. We have pictures to remember for a lifetime and so do Alyissa and Diamond.
><(("> Tom Laughon
Tom is affectionately known as BIG ><(("> at Catch Your Limit
Catch Your Limit
Management Guides & Fish Cleaning Services
><(("> Camps in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia
To learn more, visit www.catchyourlimit.com.