Food for Thought

I love this time of year…grapefruit season. Most mornings from November through March we start the day with a grapefruit freshly picked from one of the trees in our yard. As much as we enjoy our fruit trees, we haven’t made a commitment to planting a garden and growing our food from farm to table.

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So when this morning’s fishing trip a ┬ácouple hundred yards from the house resulted in catching enough bass for lunch, I couldn’t help but think about how strange it seems to eat two meals in a single day consisting of food that didn’t make a stop at the grocery before being served on our table.

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However, I don’t expect the trend to continue for dinner unless we’re able to shoot a squirrel. But do we need a license for that? And how do you clean and cook squirrel?

I think those are questions I don’t really want answered. A trip to Publix sounds like a better idea.

Go Fishing!

It’s easy to pass on a fishing trip. There are plenty of reasons:

  • I don’t eat fish.
  • I don’t like to get up early.
  • I don’t wait to handle worms or shiners or shrimp or other live bait.
  • I don’t ever catch anything.
  • I don’t have a rod or other equipment.
  • I don’t have a fishing license.
  • I don’t know how to cast.

I’m sure you can think of other reasons to add to the list, but fishing has very little to do with most of these excuses and each of the excuses can easily be remedied.

Fishing is about enjoying nature…the sky, the clouds, the birds, the water, an early morning sunrise, an afternoon sunset, maybe even a full moon. Fishing is about the quiet. Fishing is about camaraderie. Fishing can be about fish, but it doesn’t have to be about fish. Fishing should really be spelled R-E-L-A-X-A-T-I-O-N.

Of course, actually catching fish is quite a bonus, providing fodder for tall tales. Who knows, you may even get your picture on a Fishing Wall of Fame or in a future edition of Grandpa’s Fishing Book.

Need to relax? Go fishing.

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Mom

 

 

Go Fishing: Cook Tacos

Monday, on John’s first day of retirement, the alarm sounded bright and early. The 4:45 wake up call signaled time to get out on the water for a day of fishing. An hour later he and my dad were throwing in their lines and at 7:45 I received a text message: Fish tacos tonight!

We feasted on a quick and easy dinner of fish tacos with black beans and rice.

IMG_8886Fish Tacos with Creamy Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Bass filets
  • Olive Oil
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 cups Cole slaw
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (may want to add more)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (light)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • juice from one lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • taco sized tortillas

Creamy Sauce

Thoroughly mix mayonnaise, sour cream, cumin, chili powder, pepper, lime juice and a tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to use. (This is best made 30 minutes or more before serving.)

Tomato Cilantro Topping

Combine tomatoes and cilantro.

Grilled Fish

Brush fish filets with olive oil and then sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning. Grill ’til flaky, flipping once, over medium low heat (about 5-7 minutes).

Place a couple teaspoons of Cole slaw in the center of the taco shell. Add fish pieces. Top with creamy sauce and tomato and cilantro mixture. Serve with black beans and yellow rice and sangria.

Another good reason to go fishing.

 

 

 

 

 

A Day Fishing

A day fishing, even if few are caught, is a good way to spend a morning. Last Saturday only three fish made it in the boat, but it was a good day nevertheless.

I can’t say I was enthusiastic when the alarm sounded at 5:30 on a weekend morning, but by the time we were in the car driving to Dunnellon, I was ready for a morning on the water. We made our first casts before sunrise and by 7:30, I reeled in the first bass of the day.

After some time out for sunrise pictures, I brought in bass number two.

A few more pictures. This time of clouds, and then the third bass of the day made its way on the boat.

Only three fish. No big ones. No problem. A day fishing is a good day.

A Monster Fish for the Book

Despite the cold and windy weather, John and Daniel decided to follow through with their plans for fishing before working on wedding projects…and that turned out to be a good decision. After a couple of hours on the water, Daniel caught the only fish of the day; and it was a monster!

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An 11.5 pound bass, one big enough to be invited into the “Big Bass Club” and be pictured on the wall of fame and be included in The Book (my Dad’s book of fish pictures). I wish I could have been there to witness this event because I know how excited I was when I caught an eight pounder and was initiated into the club. Congratulations, Daniel!

And after a successful morning of fishing, he and John spent the afternoon cutting and sanding wood for tables for the wedding. Not a bad day!

 

Be Still

Last Wednesday morning John and I set the alarm a few minutes early so we could sit out on the dock and watch the lunar eclipse and the blood moon. For almost an hour we sat in the dark watching the moon, stars, and eventually the first light of dawn and listening to the sounds of frogs, birds, and the wind and water.

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John’s picture of the blood moon.

We sat in silence, free from distraction. We were able to relax, unwind, and hear the voice of peace.

I was reminded of a verse from the Bible:

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We live incredibly busy lives. We’re talking on the phone, or texting, to sending email, or doing all three at once. We run from one appointment to the next at a frenetic pace. Our time is spent in front of one screen or another or behind the wheel of the car.

Rushing around is often counterproductive. Sure we get a lot done, but nothing important.

We find ways to stay busy even while waiting in line at the grocery, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor, or while visiting with friends. We fiddle with our gadgets, flip through our papers, read, or do something else to stay productive.

While watching the eclipse, I thought about the early mornings fishermen spend on the water. Maybe it’s not so much about fishing. Instead it’s about quiet and relaxation. It’s about slowing down and doing less. It’s about being still. Catching fish is a bonus.

IMG_6117In the days since the blood moon, I’ve set aside a few minutes each day to sit in silence. Time to take a deep breath. Time without any technology. It’s not easy. I want to plan or solve problems or make lists, but I need to be quiet.

Set your alarm five minutes early or take five minutes before bed. Sit on the porch. Listen. Unwind, Take a deep breath. Be still.

143

Mom

 

 

Prefishing at Blue Gator

Prefishing is s term used by anglers to describe the time spent fishing in preparation for a tournament. These fishermen look for all the best spots on the water in hopes of a winning effort in the tournament.

This is not what I mean by prefishing. Instead, prefishing describes the eating of fish at a restaurant on the water prior to going fishing. Not tournament fishing, just throwing in a line in hopes of reeling in a lunker.

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Last night we went prefishing at Blue Gator on the Withlacoochee River, a new place for me. Sitting on the patio, listening to live music, eating a little grouper made for a pleasant experience.

No complaints about the food. Large portions of fish, fries, hush puppies, and slaw. John must have been confused about the purpose of the trip to Blue Gator since he ordered a cheeseburger. He was pleased with his meal as well, but I’m afraid failure to order fish set our course for the evening.

On our after dinner fishing trip, gators serenaded us while otters splashed around the boat. Turtles, herons, anhingas, and sandhill cranes watched as we threw our Zoom Vibes – blackberry and watermelon seed red – along the weed lines and stumps without much success.

A couple of bites, a small bass that threw the hook as I brought it to the boat, and one just shy of the 14″ keeper size for John. Not a successful evening a fishing, but a great time on the water and a rainbow over the Rainbow River…not bad.

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Fathers and Fishing: 13 Quotes

The two most important men in my life, my dad and my husband, share a love of fishing. Perhaps fishing is actually the secret to being a good father. Standing on the beach or sitting in a boat with a rod in hand, all is right in the world…regardless if a single fish nibbles on the line. Alone, with each other, or with another angler a day on the water can only be described as a good day.

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“Everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll go fishing.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“The solution to any problem – work, love, money, whatever – is to go fishing; and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should last.” ~John Gierach

“Fishing too much. Can’t be done.” ~Ernest Hemingway

“If all politicians fished instead of spoke publicly, we would be at peace with the world.” ~Will Rogers

“Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of mind.” ~Washington Irving

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“Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a big fish goes home through the alley.” ~Ann Landers

“I go fishing not to find myself but to lose myself.” ~Joseph Monninger

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions of hope.” ~John Buchan

“The two best times to fish is when it’s raining and when it ain’t.” ~Patrick F. McManus

“I love fishing. You put that line in the water and you don’t know what’s on the other end. Your imagination is under there.” ~Robert Altman

“Three-fourths of the Earth is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn.” ~Chuck Clark

Happy Father’s Day to two terrific dads who also happen to be first rate fishermen.

“Fishing is not about the fish. It’s the time spent together catching them.” ~Unknown

Let’s go fishing!

 

 

 

Catchin’ Snook

No record-breaker, but my first snook!
No record-breaker, but my first snook!

As we crossed Tamiami Trial from Miami heading to the west coast of the state, I announced that I wanted to catch a snook while in Sanibel. Although a little skeptical, John let me know he’d get me set up when I was ready to fish off the shore, something I’ve never done before.

Friday I read on the beach, went for a long walk, swam in the warm waters, but didn’t throw in a line. Meanwhile, John caught five snook in front of our hotel and then caught two more at Blind Pass at sunset.

It looked like I may have missed my opportunity to catch my first snook when we woke to find it windy with rougher, cloudy water on Saturday morning. Nevertheless, John caught a couple before breakfast so when he returned to the beach I decided it was time to give it a try. John provided a few tips and told me to cast out my line and feel for a hit while reeling and to be prepared to set the hook quickly.

It must be beginner’s luck (or a very good fishing instructor) because ten minutes later I reeled in my first snook. John caught six and although I only brought in one…I brought in one! Another way to enjoy time at the beach…snook fishing.

Two snook in two days!
Two snook in two days!

One for the Book

It looks like Sarah wants to be included in Grandpa’s next book. She and Daniel even woke before sunrise to join John on the Withlacoochee River for a morning of fishing. They met with success early and often catching seven keepers…although they only kept five since that was plenty for their eating pleasure.

It’s a great day fishing when all catch fish. Daniel started things off with a nice bass, but within a couple of hours, all three fishermen landed fish in excess of three pounds…not monsters…but perfect for eating and fun to catch.

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They finished the day keeping a stringer of five bass that weighed in at a little more than 18 pounds. After cleaning, Sarah and Daniel have fish for two dinners and John and I will be eating fish later this afternoon. Not a bad day’s work…maybe that should be not a bad day’s fun!

Oh, and what is this Grandpa’s book? A Shutterfly book created to share his and his family and friends’ fish pictures. Can’t get in the book without a fish. Looks like Sarah and Daniel will both be in the next edition. (Make sure you click the link, Grandpa’s book, to see the one published earlier.)