The Daily Press

Sun Pirates

- By William Crisp Special to the Daily Press

It is true that, variety is the spice of life…not in all things, depending on which, this truth could vary. For me its activities and locations. Travelling is nice. Getting my fill of snowy woods through hunting season, it was time for a change up. I do not get tired of nice weather so; off we went to the Florida Keys to escape the late winter weather of Pennsylvan­ia. Once there, it was to enjoy the standard activities which I do not deviate from much, like playing on and in the water. We're just a couple Sun Pirates trying to steal a couple weeks of freezing from old man winter. The highlights of our trip were to dive and fish the lovely Gulf of Mexico. As it turned out both trips were very successful. If you have been following along with my fishing tribulatio­ns you would know that I have been carrying a fishing jinx. It is safe to say that after a great spring and early summer I had been, inexplicab­ly, shut out like sunlight from a coffin. There are only two ways to break a curse or jinx, one is to make a major sacrifice and the other is to sacrifice your liver to the rum gods of the tropics. My liver does not complain like other options so, to the tropics we went.

The diving was spectacula­r, we experience­d playing with all kinds of sea life on the reefs. I keep trying to convince my wife that I “saved” her by chasing off a six-foot bull shark but she insists that I only blocked her view and was trying to touch it because, I can be a bit rambunctio­us. I cannot quote her because she did not use the word rambunctio­us. Granted, I considered grabbing the shark but then thought of the mother trying to put a toddler (I like to consider that, at least, maybe it was not hers) on the back of a bull elk in Benezette and reconsider­ed which side of the common-sense fence I wanted to be on.

As for the fishing out on the Gulf there was not even a slow start.

The jinx must have missed the boat and stayed on shore because right away, we were reeling in nice fish of all species. Starting from very good the fishing only improved throughout the day. The highlight of my day, was reeling in an eight foot bull shark after a thirty minute fight. In the course of the struggle the big fish pulled down a crab pot buoy and pulled the twenty-foot boat over a mile off station. The shark was big enough that the jinx was glad it was not in the boat. I can wax on about the joys of fishing here on northern waters but what does not happen here is watching a school of thirty-inch fish on average go crazy to compete for a simple jig on every cast! Can you imagine through a jig and watching twenty pike, ten musky, and forty walleye appear near the surface going crazy for your cast? I cannot either. It is nice but it just does not happen, here… even in dreams. If, for some reason, I hated perfect eighty-degree days and sunshine I would have to visit gain, just for that experience, alone.

Another thing that does not seem possible north but would be nice if we could try was playing music and cooking outdoors…. through the winter. I appreciate the smell of wood stoves and fire places don't get me wrong but pinchos de pollo, barbeque and flamenco are a bit more enjoyable than dark and shoveling in my humble opinion. I know, I know we got hoodies and blue jeans. I tried to brag about that over fresh crab and key lime pie, believe me. I am not sure I won the debate, may have to go back, and try again, maybe while back on a boat I could convince them…

Anyway, I still love my northern hardwoods and am now starting to prepare for the start of the walleye run, next month which will salve my need for sun. Until then I'm back, shoveling snow. See you along the stream.

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