Back from the Beach

Great week at the beach. The fishing was awesome; the catching was lousy. We had persistent east winds from the time we got there until the Thursday before we came home. The strong winds created strong rip currents, big waves, and stirred up the sand for low visibility in the water. On thursday the winds slacked off and I managed to catch a few – some whiting and a couple of small sharks. Lots of sun and I was a crispy critter after the second day.

I’ve become friends with the guy who lives next door to the place we rent on the beach. He fishes so we spend a fair amount of time together on the beach. Up until last Nov., he had a great dog that was mostly German Shepherd. Roxie was really old but loved to run in the surf and was really a pleasure to watch. She died right before we came last Nov. and you could tell Mike was fairly broken up about it. Well this year I spotted a new dog on his porch. It was colored very similar to Roxie but more of a husky look to it. Turns out he got it as a rescue dog and couldn’t resist that it looked so much like Roxie. She’s only a year old so still a pup with all the energy that entails. On Thursday I was fishing low tide. There was a trough running parallel to the shore and then a sand bar on the other side of the trough. The trough was about 30′ wide and the outside sandbar, maybe 150′. At high tide the trough was not visible so the trick was to cast into it for the most action. At low tide you waded across the trough and onto the sandbar to cast to the deeper outside water. I was doing that and landed a bonnet shark that was about 30” long. Nothing remarkable about it at all. I unhooked it and put it in the trough. There was a runout a few hundred yards down the beach so I figured the shark would follow the current down to the runout and back to the deep sea. Instead, he decided to cut across the sandbar where the water was only an inch or two deep. Bad move. He made it about halfway when Skylar, the new dog, spotted it and bound across the trough onto the sandbar and nailed the shark. I wasn’t sure how that was going to go but it became obvious that the shark was no match for the dog. He would grab it and toss it in the air and eventually worked it back to the trough. I thought that would change the odds in the sharks favor but the dog leaped right in after it and grabbed it underwater. The trough was about 3′ deep and the dog was maybe 30” tall so he was having to swim from time to time. But in the end he managed to drag it up on the beach and finish it off. Bonnet sharks are bottom feeders so they’re not much concern for people and there has to be a jillion of them so I wasn’t broken up by the loss of the shark. In fact I was kind of impressed with how the dog handled herself. Mike said Roxie did the same thing and then ate the sharks. He said he would pass up any fish Mike caught except for the sharks. I found that to be interesting that both dogs operated the same with respect to sharks. Must be something instinctive.

Two new restaurants to report on. One is a little shack called the Taco Shack – a tiny place with a very limited Mexican menu and only outside eating on a couple of picnic tables or take out. Tom had alerted me to the quality of the fishg taco’s so we gave it a try. He was right – excellent. We ate there twice – first day we had shrimp taco’s and fish taco’s; next time I had nacho’s. Very fresh ingredients. On the way home we always stop at an Italian Deli in Palm Coast to pick up sausage and other deli goods. We asked the lady who runs it if she knew of a good place for breakfast. She steered us to Strathmore Bagels. It’s a big, Jewish New York Deli and restaurant – breakfast and lunch. Incredible bakery along with it. Nancy introduced me to something call Bialys (not sure of the spelling – sounds like bee al eese). Bialy’s are a very thin round roll about twice the size of an English muffin. I had never heard of them so stuck with the traditional bagel. Big mistake – the bagels were great but her’s was way better. What I like about them is the crust to bread ratio is very high so if you are more into the crust than the soft stuff – which I am – they are perfect.

One thing for sure, we eat good at the beach. The Flagler Fish Company was awesome as ever. We missed happy hour at Rossi’s though – too much else to do and we just ran out of time.

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