Gulf Shores, AL – by Sea –

Deep Sea Fishing –

As usual, I’m the first to arrive at Hudson Marina at Skull Harbor for a deep sea fishing charter.  Once the Captain arrives, he  introduces his crew for the day including Jason who is as an off duty 1st mate just out for a day of fishing.

Having been on charters before, I know that the sides of the boat are idea spots for getting tangles with your neighbor.  With 13 others on board, I dutifully plant myself on a back corner, next to captains apprentice, Jason.

Curious Craig - Fishing-Boat.jpg

Next to me is a couple that I’ll  call the Bama’s. No dispersions to Alabama, but just because I don’t know their names. We strike up some idle conversation when the portly Miss Bama,  in a Pink Mossy Oak sweatshirt, corners Jason and begins quizzing him about his filleting technique for triggerfish.

I find her line of questioning presumptuous and aggravating but that sweatshirt is just plain wrong.  The florescent pink screams, “Look at Me” while the camo says “You can’t see me”.  I find that dichotomy perplexing and kind of annoying.

Curious Craig - Horizon.jpg

The air is cool and water is splashing over the bow during our 15 mile off shore excursion.  As the city begins to disappear on the horizon, I take a cue from the first mate and duck inside the cabin for a seat and warmth.    After a couple of riveting episodes of Duck Dynasty on DVD, (I wonder if Sadie ever gets her drivers license) the boat finally slows over our first fishing hole.

I exit the cabin and notice that Mr. Bama has now shifted down and is baiting the hook on my rod.  “Thanks Curious Craig - Reel.jpgfor hooking me up”, I jest.   My attempt to reclaim my spot peacefully falls on deaf ears as he proceeds on with hooking the cut squid on the circle hooks. Miss Bama is waving her hook to shield me and provide further cover for this egregious breach of protocol.  Back down Miss Pink Mossy Oak. “Seriously, are you planning to stay there” I assert.   Incredulous, Mr. Bama backs down and steps back to his original spot.

Nothing was ever said again about this exchange, but the gauntlet was thrown. There is much pride at stake and we will settle this at the end of a 60lb test line and a 5 gallon bucket of the days catch.

Round One

Triggerfish season has just opened and that is to be the prized quarry of the day.  Mr. Bama strikes first with a small non-keeper triggerfish. Miss Bama assumes the role of cheerleader, “Good job, Honey”, “You’re so good”, blah, blah, blah.  This just rattles me, like a boxer caught by a surprise jab. But he’s not done, he immediately yanks in a couple of Red Snapper. None of which can be kept but I’m on the ropes.    I know he’s laughing inside that he has the boats’  “hot spot”.

Finally, I hook a nice Red Snapper and wouldn’t you know it, the fish runs up the side of the boat entangling him.  Next is a flurry of punches, uh catches, me a Red, him a Red, me a Pin fish, him a ruby lips.  Two heavyweights standing toe to toe.   The Bama’s are throwing everything they can keep in their bucket. I, on the other hand, will only keep one of two.   I catch a nice Vermillion Snapper, as a cheap shot veiled as a peace offering,  I look to the Bama’s and ask if they would like me to toss it in their bucket. “I’ll never be able to eat all I’ll catch anyway”, I chide.

Round Two

Bam! My rod tip bends, a much harder pull than anything previous.  The Captain announces “That’s a trigger!” over his PA system.  My heart races as I feel eyes upon me and my wrists straining to keep reeling in the 100 feet of line I have out.

I get the whopper to the boat and in my bucket; the biggest Triggerfish on the boat thus far.   There is a satisfying hush from the Bama contingent.  I retain the big fish honor for rest of the day, almost.  Just as I’m satisfied the 6 hour trip is winding down and I’ll retain the title of Triggerfisherman of the day, Bama with one last roundhouse,  hail Mary punch hooks the mother of all Triggers.  So much so, it requires netting assistance from the first mate.

Over the PA again, the Captain announces  “Look folks, the biggest trigger we have caught in a long time on the starboard, stern.”

Ding, Ding, Ding!. Technical Knock Out.

I’m a humbled Mr. T to Bama’s Rocky.

Objects in photo are larger than they appear.
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