Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Catching the "Big One"!

Fishing in the Gulf - one of life's amazing pleasures! This is especially true when you catch the the most fish of the day, and the biggest fish of the day! Right?? Maybe not!! Read about my adventure!

Up before dawn  -  snacks and lunch packed  -  lots of water 
 -  sunscreen  - 
fishing hat  -  fishing shirt, SPF 50  -  Handy-Wipes  -  ready to go

It was great to finally be going on a fishing day-trip again! It had been a while - several years, in fact - since my last fishing trip. Illness and a major re-occurrence of TMJ had prevented me from going along on the fishing trips in the Gulf, and I had missed it!

I had decided that this day was going to be different! My brother Larry and sister-in-law Carolyn were visiting, and they love to go fishing! My health had improved, and it had been 5 weeks since my last migraine, so I thought it would be okay for me to go along. My husband Charlie checked the weather, and a calm day was forecast, with winds less that 10 mph. That decided it - I would go fishing again!

It was still dark when we carefully got into the boat, and that blackness always gives me an eerie feeling as we start across that great expanse of water. Fortunately, we have a GPS and Depth Finder in our boat, and Charlie seems to have a built-in GPS, so I knew he would get us where we needed to be.

As we were going out across the Vermilion Bay, the sky had a pinkish hue. Of course that poem about the weather went through my mind:

Red sky at night, sailors' delight.
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning! 

The water was rougher and more choppy than we thought it would be for the predicted winds, but those who fish these waters know the wind and waves can change in an instant! The spray in our faces felt very cold as the boat dipped up and down, and I pulled my hood tightly around my face and snuggled under my much-appreciated blanket. Carolyn did likewise. It was great fun!

My husband, Charlie, at the wheel!

Finally, in the east, there was a glimmer of bright light, almost like firelight! 

The fiery light grew... 

                           ...and grew ...

                                                ...and grew...

...until a beautiful new day was born!

Sunrise on the Gulf!

Now it was time to get busy and start fishing!

Charlie helped me get my reel ready, and I was ready to go! Almost instantly, I felt a "tug" on the line, and I had caught a Redfish! There were murmurs of comments such as, "You're supposed to let the company catch one first", etc. I told them it had been a long time since I had been fishing, so it was my turn! We measured it, and it was past the legal length, so it was a "keeper"!

Again, my line was cast, and before Charlie got his reel ready, I had caught another Redfish! Everyone was really moaning at this point, but I was feeling pretty good! Charlie said it was my fault that he hadn't caught any fish yet, and I guess he was right! He is used to catching more than anyone else on these fishing trips, so I guess this was tough for him, but really, I was feeling great!

Overall, it was a great fishing day. Total, we caught 11 Redfish that were "Keepers". I caught 5 Redfish, but one was too small and had to be thrown back in. Larry caught 2 Redfish, Carolyn caught 3, and Charlie caught 2. Charlie said he didn't catch as many Redfish as usual because he was the guide for the day! There was also Carolyn's Sting Ray, Larry's Shark, and some assorted Cat Fish, crabs, etc.

Larry and his Shark

Carolyn's Sting Ray

Of course, the highlight of my day was catching the 

"Big One"!

When I had the "Big One" on my line, I thought it was gigantic, but fish can be feisty and really put up a fight, making them feel extremely heavy on the line.

I felt a big "tug" in my neck and left shoulder, but I didn't care! Charlie offered to bring it in for me, but that wasn't going to happen! I had never caught a really big fish in my whole life, and this was amazing! No! I've got this! As I reeled the fish in, the pole bent until I was afraid it was going to break! It felt like this monster fish weighed a ton! Finally, I got it near the boat, and Charlie netted it. It was absolutely humongous! It measured at 27 inches long, and weighed over 7 pounds! And, the most exciting thing was, I caught it by myself! My left neck was feeling a little strained at this point, but I wasn't concerned. I just needed to stretch it a little - or so I thought.

On the way back in, the winds really picked up! The waves were bigger, and the water was much rougher.

As we came around Marsh Island, we hit a couple of big waves, and I received a "big jar". My neck, back, and jaw were hurting, and I was thinking, "Oh, no! I hope I haven't hurt myself again!" 

Charlie slowed the boat to avoid more problems. Larry now moved to the back where is was smoother riding, so we were all behind the windshield at this point. 

The waves were now 3-4 feet high and white-capped in the Bay. It took about 2 hours to get back to shore. It is usually a 40 minute ride in calm water.

When we got home and checked the weather, the winds were almost 30 mph, much harder that was predicted. I felt rather achy and shaken, so I did some stretches and rested. 

The pain increased to a migraine by the next day. You guessed it: my TMJ issues had returned again. That meant more headaches and migraines; neck, shoulder, and back pain; dizzy spells, and more trips to the doctor and Acupuncture. 

I also continued my exercise program, which includes Pilates and Yoga. My Pilates Instructor/PT said the rough water along with catching those large fish had caused the damage, and my doctor agreed.

On the plus side, we really had a great "Fish Fry" with those unbelievable "Nancy's Hush Puppies" the next day!

Carolyn, me, and the "Big Catch"!

The "Big Catch" of the day!

It's been over a year now, and the painful episodes are less intense and farther apart. My TMJ Doctor has told me to never go fishing again as well as never go boat riding again. I am taking his advice, at least for now.

But was it worth it? What do you think? While it has been a very long and painful recovery, at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that one glorious day in the Gulf, I caught the most fish, and...

I caught ...

the "Big One"!

The "Big One" is on the right!

Related Posts:

Fishing in the Gulf!                           


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