Saturday, April 8, 2017

Getting Back To Bokeelia

It's been way too long. The whole southwest Florida area seemed to have troubles with Red Tide, but we finally got to the point where we had to find out firsthand if that would still be a problem for Pam with her allergy issues. And we were glad we did. We happened to arrive on a low wind day and got our kayak in the water as soon as possible.

First thing to note about this gas mileage ever! We got 29.5 miles a gallon in the turbo Veloster, pulling a Yakima kayak trailer. The car was filled to the brim with our stuff. I was driving using the Eco-minder program, but I believe the main difference was that I removed the roof racks and brought an inflatable paddleboard instead. The practical difference was that back in the old days when I drove a truck pulling a boat, was that I'd have to stop 3/4 of the way and fill up the 20 gallon tank where on this trip, I still had half a tank of gas in a 13 gallon car when we pulled up at our destination. It is amazing how much better it makes you feel to save that much.

The water was a light green and about as clear as it gets. Lots of boats out and when you are in a kayak, you worry about the driving skills of the people behind the wheels of those boats. We decided that on our first trip, we'd head to the oyster bar and see if fishing boats were all over it. It turned out that only one boat pulled up, engine roaring, right where we stealthily paddled up to seek the elusive redfish.

Pam saw that the fishing guide had a boat full of eager clients, and he immediately started chumming. She decided that we should get right up next to their boat to take advantage of the chummed water, something I would never suggest, but in this case, it worked. Fortunately, I had brought along our best heavy duty rods, because my line started singing and for the next 10 minutes I had a great fight from the redfish in the photo above. It is a miracle that we even have a photograph, as Pam struggled to find the phone and figure out how to work the camera while I worried about the fish slipping out of my grasp. We had a fantastic audience mere feet away....watching the pro guy with a tuna tower boat, and his paying customers watching a couple of old folks in a kayak catch the fish they were after. I caught two more fish before I heard the roar of the tuna tower boat, heading off to find somewhere else...Pam requested that I remind everyone that I was merely the pole that caught the fish...SHE put us on the fish, SHE took the photograph.

The best news is that we are still happily married after that a tandem kayak. I was on such a high from the redfish catch. My son had just texted me hours before, saying I'd better start producing some proof that I still knew how to fish...and I made very sure that photo was on it's way to him before we got back to the house.

I was in such a good mood going back, that I barely noticed that the tide had started running strongly in the opposite direction. The one hour trip to the oyster bar turned into a two hour trip back home...and the whole way was punctuated by my wife's insistence that I was "pussy-paddling". She requested a rear-view mirror so she can keep an eye on how hard I'm working behind her.

Sitting behind her, sometimes, it's kind of hard to make out what she is saying. That seems to work well for us....

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