The bird, gull species unknown, put up an aerial fight for a few minutes just above the waves, but ever the sportsman, my prize was treated as a catch-and-release bird. Only I, in an effort to catch something that swims, could catch something that flies.
That was the low point in a guy’s weekend filled with high points on Anna Maria Island. This is the third go-round with the three D’s and a Bob (all mentioned below). With any luck it won’t be the last.
Ellen and Reid read all about it last week:
October 9, 2012
Ellen/Reid: It was really a great few days in Florida with the boys (Dave H., Dave D. and Bob F.). Fun golf, a nice beach, great weather, good time on the water and equally good food and drink at every turn. You can’t ask for much more. It was quite gracious of Dave Dahlquist’s mother-in-law to loan us her 3 BR condo on Anna Maria Island. We could, and did, lounge during cocktail hour with an elevated fourth floor view of the water and the island beyond. That was nice. Our first morning I must’ve waded in the surf for nearly two hours watching the fish and other aquatic and bird life. Stepped on a ray but it didn’t sting me although if this were the Olympics I might have won the high jump going away.
With Dave’s help we steered clear of most of the tourist stuff. We did have our share of dives (Rod & Reel Restaurant) plus some nicer spots, but the R&R had some of the best fish & chips I’ve ever had. It’s out on a pier and while the décor isn’t much, the rest of it was great. Pretty much the whole environment rotates around the beach life, and we had breakfast on the beach, other dinners close to the beach, etc.
The golf was great but what really stuck out for me was the fishing. We charted a boat with a guy named Cap’n Josh for a half day’s excursion. He’s about your age Reid and he really knew his stuff. After he tossed out his net and hauled in a couple of hundred bait fish, we set off for an artificial reef made of demolished bridge pilings that was about a mile and a half straight off shore from our condo. We dropped the bait straight down to the reef, about 25 feet, and in moments you’d get nibbles from grouper, ‘grunts’ and snappers. Snapper was what he was really after, and our largest was only about 2 lbs.
What was really fun was watching the sharks and the big cobia pick off the bait fish. Josh would toss some bait behind the stationary boat, and the big boys would come in to feed. I had a tough time hauling anything in but when Josh fished he had something on every try. A cobia came through and Josh immediately hooked him. He handed the rod to me, and the first thing that struck me was how strong the fish was. It was incredible. He stripped off line and before I could get my bearings, he tore for the reef and the line was shredded. I guess that’s one of the tastier fish around, and there it was, I lost him. Dave D. had hold of a reef shark, and that was something. Since we had light tackle and weren’t using steel leaders, there wasn’t much chance that we’d land it, but it was still fun to see while the fight lasted. As for the unfortunate seagull, it snapped up my bait as soon as it hit the water, and he flew off about 25 yards. It put up a better fight than some of the fish, but Josh had seen all this before and got the bird off my line in short order. I like to be on the water rather than in it. This was a highlight, and Reid, we need to give it a shot somewhere.
The plane ride home was something else. Lightning struck our 757, and fried some electrical component that had to be flown in on the next flight from Atlanta. So that shoved the takeoff back a few hours, and then when we pushed off again, the part malfunctioned. Back to the gate we came. A lot of passengers bailed at that point but I wanted to move on in the event a seat might not be available in the morning. We waited another couple of hours for another plane and finally got to Atlanta just after midnight. Since my morning flight was at 7, I opted to stay in the terminal for the night. A so-so choice at best. I only had my golf clothes on since I came straight from the course, and it was cold in the terminal. I tried to stay warm as best I could by covering my legs with newspapers. About 3 a.m. I went for a walk to stay active and came across a couple of Delta Airlines blankets. That made sleeping a little easier, but it was the incessant security announcements that really kept me awake. I’m not cut out for sleeping on chairs in airports anymore. Those days are behind me, and good riddance. Travel just isn’t what it used to be.