Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Katrina and now Ophelia have given me, like all of you I’m sure, pause to consider our degree of preparedness. It’s certainly not within the realm of reasonableness that we would suffer a storm surge but a week or so of really hard rain could raise the lake level to a point of worry. So I decided to survey our stocks and see exactly where we are. Now I say “our stocks” but since Nancy and I would prepare in such different fashions, I actually took stock of her readiness kit and mine. Collectively of course they are ours. In summary, we are in good shape, so don’t worry about us.

For my part, I have an emergency tackle box, into which I have jammed only those absolutely, sure fire tackle items that would guarantee my ability to catch fish no matter. It’s ready for both fresh and salt water even though I have trouble visualizing snook or redfish here on the property, There is adequate booze for a fairly extended party, maybe a dozen or so close friends for a week. It is heavily biased towards scotch and maybe I need to diversify that on my next trip to civilization. So I’m ready.

Nancy is in equally good shape. Her stuff is mostly in the shed but includes about six 5 gallon containers of bleach; about the same amount of liquid Tide, dishwasher soap, and furniture polish. Enough paper towels to sop up acres of wetlands; and enough paper plates and napkins to support the party referenced above. Same with mixer for the booze – looooooong on soda. She has enough quilting fabric that we could sew together a tent to cover all of Pierson. We’re also well stocked on essential food, if you count chocolate syrup, smoked oysters, and Progresso soup, mostly clam chowder. And if we really needed more we could sell some of the toilet paper at $5/roll and buy those things we’re missing, like a generator along with a couple hundred gallons of gas to run it.

We’re in good shape entertainment wise also. There are boxes and boxes and boxes of books packed from Utah that have never been opened. Could operate a small lending library for the neighbors I guess.

Medicine – oh, yeah. Bulk aspirin, vitamins, ibuprofen, excedrin; gallons of listerine. And untold small pill bottles with dates back to the 60’s so we could deal with almost anything that could come along.

So all in all, we are completely on top of it and ready to help out all of you who stock such things as water, batteries and MRE’s.

surf fishing trip

Went surf fishing yesterday. It’s the first time in about 40 years. I felt like I had been transported back except with great new tackle. Same clear, blue, warm, salty ocean; same nice rolling surf, not too big, not too small. Sunny but broken clouds so it wasn’t baking hot. Bait fish in the surf and billions of sand fleas in the sand at the edge.

Nancy had a bridge game in Ormond and asked if I’d drive her over. George said he’d like to go to so we took off. Tides were wrong but who cares – I needed to try the new tackle and this seemed like a way to conserve gas – combine a fishing and bridge trip. We headed for a beach about halfway between Flagler and Ormond, right off Highbridge Road. I had scouted it out before and liked the trough running just offshore.

I wanted to fling lures and jigs; George preferred shrimp. The first thing I noticed was what I thought were sandflea signs right at the edge of the surf. That was my primary bait when I was a kid but I had some question that what I was seeing were really sand fleas. I am used to a colony of fleas here and there, maybe separated by a hundred feet or so. This looked to me like continuous fleas as far as the eye could see. I bent over and dug up a handful and sure enough, came up with several fleas including some really large, juicy egg laden ones. Wow. But I was determined to toss my jig into the surf. I did that for about 1/2 hour and caught nothing while George scored 3 nice whiting. Enough of the lures and back to the classic hooks, sinkers, and sand fleas. I right away caught a pompano – the treasure of the surf. Way too small, but fun. In the next couple of hours I caught maybe half a dozen pompano and a couple of keeper size whiting. Lots and lots of bites and action. George caught a few more whiting. Oh, and he caught a 3-4′ black tip shark. What a beauty!!!!!! Not those normal nasty sandpaper back surf sharks, you know the sand sharks, nurse sharks, bull sharks. This was a super shiny, slick skinned, amber gold color shark with that prominent black tip on the dorsal fin. It took him about 10 minutes to land. Mouthful of nasty looking teeth. Unhooked him without incident and sent him back to ponder his misfortune.

Another neat thing was that offshore, way offshore maybe 1000 yds, there was a school of gigantic tuna – the 500 pound kind of tuna – jumping clear out of the water and knocking other fish way high in the air. The fish they were feeding on would have been way too big to catch. The school came moving in and probably got within 300 yds of shore so it was quite a sight. Pelicans diving in, no doubt picking up the tuna leavings.

We had the place to ourselves until about an hour before we were planning to leave. At that point a family came down and parked their collective selves quite close to us and dove into the surf. Miles and miles of empty beach but they chose to swim within 100′ of us. I’m thinking – “should I tell them about the sharks”? Nah, they picked the spot. “Should I throw a handful of shrimp out there among them to chum?” Nah, that would be kind of mean. Then the mother runs up to the car and comes down with her own surf fishing rod. Is nothing sacred??? If she hadn’t been wearing (just barely) a fine bikini, I would have been really pissed but ………………. She brought me right back to 2005 from my 3 hours in 1960. In 1960 women did not surf fish; in 1960 women did not wear bikinis; in 1960 women weren’t built like that!

I did read in the paper today that the surf is loaded with fish and the blues should start soon.