Watching Fish, Catching Fish….

Winners in a local charity fishing tournament

A number of organizations here have major fishing tournaments each year as fundraising events; other tournaments are strictly for fun and profit. I grew up with freshwater cane pole fishing and mostly bass tournaments. I actually stopped fishing when I was 9 or 10, deciding that I had better ways to spend my Saturdays. (No fishing on Sundays because that was church and family visiting day). I didn’t mind putting the squiggly worms on a hook and there is something about reeling in a fish, but then you do have to clean them. Freshwater, cane pole fishing for eating-size bream, crappie, and catfish is different from rod and reel action and I never made it to that point.

You don’t have to make a choice between sport fishing (angling) and scuba diving, although most people do. The primary reason is because it takes approximately the same amount of time to do one as the other. As I discussed in my non-fiction book, Islands in the Sand: An Introduction to Artificial Reefs in the USA, I erroneously thought that the scuba community was on the forefront of artificial reef creation. I quickly learned that the sport fishing world had been at it as early as the 1950s and the scuba community were newcomers. Mixing divers and anglers together on the same reef can be a little tricky, although there are multiple ways to work it out. I cut this passage from the final version of the book, but one day when we were diving on the North Shore of Oahu, my husband and I were coming in from a shore dive, threading our way through the rocks, nearing the entry/exit point. I felt an odd tug on my right foot and couldn’t tell what was going on. I was having difficulty in moving forward and the tugging continued, so I paused, assuming my husband would look back and he did. He swam to me and  and despite his inclination to cut the line, he removed the hook from my bootie and tossed it aside instead. The woman casting from the ledge above us apparently was oblivious to the fact that she had snagged me instead of a fish.

Anyway, since diving and sport fishing are both huge activities here in South Florida, I’ve gotten to know several anglers and charter boat captains. The radio stations I usually listen to have a noon and 4:00 p.m. fishing report and it’s always fun to hear what they have to say. I still prefer diving to see fish, but I have gained a new appreciation for the sport. And yes, Florida has catch limits and regulations to help sustain the fish populations.


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