Fish and Boats and Storms

Tom and I went fishing on the Tomoka River the other day. It started out under a cloud when we forgot to check if the plug was in – it wasn’t – but turned good fairly quickly with a few nice fish and a pleasant breeze that made fishing easy. I caught a small snook and a nice redfish; Tom got a nice bass and a few smaller ones plus a micro snook. We kept the redfish simply because it had literally swallowed my zara spook lure. Luckily it was within the 18-27” slot limit (we think) so it was a legal catch. Turns out it was the hardest fish to clean I’ve ever encountered. The fish is covered with large scales that are like armer plating. It took almost an hour to do the deed; about 45 minutes to fillet it and 15 minutes to retrieve the lure. The carcass is now residing in the garden where I suspect it will remain almost intact for the next 50 years.

Tom's Pontoon Boat
Tom’s Pontoon Boat

Tom came up to the lake the evening before the trip mentioned above and brought the latest addition to his fleet – an inflatable pontoon boat. He got it at a “can’t pass it up” closeout price at Costco and wanted to do the initial testing at the lake. We launched it and away he went – using a combination of flipper power and oars. The boat can support an electric motor and battery but this was a man powered voyage to test how well it handled and fished. According to Tom, it’s going to take a little getting used to but was great to fish from. I’ll probably give it a try one of these days but I’m pretty much a poke boat kind of guy. Oh, by the way, Tom had a small gator chase his lure so I guess we’ll be on gator watch duty until the local belt and wallet maker takes care of the problem. The neighbors across the lake in the trailer home also spotted it by their dock so it’s for sure living here.
Tom's Pontoon

I experienced the most thrilling storm of my life on Thursday. About 2PM I went down to the dock with a new book and the XM radio, leaving Nancy with her afternoon TV shows. It looked like a light rain in the offing so I took the umbrella down with me. About 30 minutes into it, the rain did come. Nothing special just a light sprinkling. Which got harder and harder; which then brought on some serious lightning striking several times within hundreds of feet from me; which then brought hail; which then brought very strong linear winds shifting direction 180 degrees several times within a few minutes; and finally bringing the feared and dreaded “train sound”. I wasn’t sure that being out on the dock was the best place to be, all things considered. I was getting wetter and wetter as the rain came down almost horizontally. Which is the bigger worry – trees blowing down onto the dock? Lightning striking the dock? or a tornado carrying me off to OZ? It crossed my mind that maybe the best move would be to lash myself to one of the dock pilings to keep from being blown out to sea! It lasted about 30 minutes before it let up enough for me to make a run for the house. We got only 1.5” of rain, had only a few downed limbs and lost electricity for almost 4 hours. Turns out a small tornado crossed the main road about a half mile from us and tore down several power poles. That must have been the train I heard. I counted 10 power company trucks with large booms extended on a half mile stretch of US 17 putting up new poles and restringing power lines.

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