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.





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!


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!


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.


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.

photo 2

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.


“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


“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!




Fishing with Gary

John’s cousin Nancy’s husband passed away a few weeks ago due to complications from ALS. We were asked to compose a message about a special remembrance of Gary to be shared at his memorial service today. John wrote about a day the two of them spent fishing on Lake Rousseau.

Megan & Jon Wedding 242

Nancy and Gary decided to take a couple days off several years ago and come to Ocala to spend some restful days on Lake Weir. The weather was blustery and cool but Gary was eager to go fishing.

My father-in –law had been experiencing recent success on Lake Rousseau catching a number of bass in the 10 pound category. Gary was anxious to land his own lunker.

As we arrived at the lake we found conditions to be less than perfect. The weather was cold and windy but the sun was out.

We paid our $40 for two dozen shiners. We spent most of the day drowning bait fish at $2 a pop. With about six shiners left I decided to move to an area of the river that was littered with underwater tree stumps.

Marker 71 had produced several large bass for me over the past year. On the first pass, Gary had a hit and jumped a 10 pounder. The wind was blowing so hard we could not control the boat and lost the fish when it wrapped around the stump.

On the next five passes through the area Gary would exclaim he had a hit. He would forcefully set the hook and fight the fish. Each time with the same results, the fish escaped.

The day ended when we ran out of shiners. On the way home, all Gary could talk about was the one that got away and a possible return to Lake Rousseau to catch a trophy bass.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that at the base of Marker 71 is a very large stump that is decorated with many a fisherman’s hooks and lures.


54 Ways to Celebrate Florida!

On this date, March 3rd, in 1845, Florida entered the union as the 27th state. That sounds like reason for celebration. Make March celebrate Florida month. Can you complete ten of these Florida friendly tasks this month?

Visit a Florida State Park

Go to the beach

Wear sunblock

Eat key lime pie

Listen to the music of Floridians like Lynard Skynard, Mel Tillis, Tom Petty, Ray Charles, or Gloria Estefan.

Read a Carl Haisaan book

Eat a Cheeseburger in Paradise

Go fishing

Place a bet on the “ponies” at the Florida Derby at Gulfstream.

Wear flip flops

Travel by boat

Visit the “Ancient City” of St. Augustine

Swim with the manatee



Drink a glass of orange juice

Eat shrimp

Visit a Florida spring

Ride a bike trail

Paddle a canoe or kayak


Register to vote (or update your registration)

Visit a tacky tourist trap


Eat a Cuban sandwich

Sip a frozen tropical drink


Take a hike


Visit a botanical garden

Tour a fort

Take an airboat ride

Drink from the Fountain of Youth

Play golf

Watch a Major League Baseball Grapefruit League spring training game

Enjoy to a festival

Go to Ron Jon

Explore the Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center

Drive on Daytona Beach

Eat gator

Smoke a cigar from Ybor City

Collect seashells

Climb a lighthouse

Ride a glass bottom boat


Experience bike week in Daytona

Eat sugarcane

Sleep in a chickee

Collect sharks teeth

Treasure hunt

Drive the overseas highway

Ferry to the Dry Tortugas

Sing the state song while on the Swanee River


Get LOST on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST)

Drive Spook Hill

Whale watch from Gamble Rogers State Park

Crack a coconut

Leave a comment and let me know what I forgot, but don’t forget to celebrate Florida! And don’t forget to take pictures!










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.


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.)

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Yesterday, April 13, was my Dad’s birthday so it seems like a good time to recognize the fact that not only mother’s dish out advice. In my case, my Dad’s advice doesn’t come so much through his words as his actions. Here’s some of the things I’ve learned from my Dad:

Even though his wallet or cell phone contains pictures of fish instead of his wife, children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren; his family is number one. He’s there to celebrate good times or protect in hard times, just don’t expect to get your picture in one of his books if you don’t catch a fish.

Caught 4/11/13.  11lbs. 8 oz.
Caught 4/11/13.
11lbs. 8 oz.

Make time for fun. Hard work is only worthwhile if there’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Go on vacations. Visit theme parks. Play games…all kinds of games. Go fishing. Tell jokes. Laugh.

Invest in a good grill and make sure you learn how to use it (or marry someone who can). Food from the grill is an essential ingredient in family fun.

Happy Birthday, Dad and thanks for the lessons on family, fun, food, and fish.


Thanks, John! Writer’s Block Solved!

As I sat on the porch trying to write something to post today, John came to my rescue. After only about 30 minutes of fishing, he returned to the house and called me to meet him downstairs. I noticed that he was holding his hands in front of him so I wasn’t sure what to expect. A fishing lure dangling from his right thumb greeted me when I stepped outside.


He preceded to tell me that he needed me to wrap a piece of fishing line around the hook and then quickly yank on it to dislodge the hook. Me…the one who passes out when someone merely mentions they know someone who was hooked…the one who lies on the floor of the kitchen when her daughter splits open her forehead so she doesn’t pass out…the one who breaks into a cold sweat at the mention of blood. I’m proud to say I did not pass out. I did not run to the bathroom. I did not lie down. I also did not pull out the hook.

Sure, loop fishing line around the hook and jerk it out!
Sure, loop fishing line around the hook and jerk it out!

After several attempts to get the line at the right angle, John decided that it would be wise to first remove the lure from the hook embedded in his thumb. This would reduce the possibility of a being hooked a second time while in the process of removing the hook. My job…take the pocketknife and open the ring on the lure so it could be removed from the portion lodged in John’s thumb. Surprise…success! Now we were back to the looping line around the hook.

At this point I started looking up addresses to the nearest walk in clinic so someone else could remove the hook. John Googled “how to remove a fish hook from your finger” and the number one method was indeed wrapping a piece of line around the hook and then firmly jerking to remove it. With renewed confidence, John took the matter into his own hands (or should I say hand) looping the line, pulling tight, and then rapidly jerking to remove the hook…no problem!

My only responsibility: open the band-aid and apply to his thumb.

John put the lure back together so he could go back out in the boat. His plan: catch fish and eat them for dinner as a payback for the injury to his thumb.

What a great husband! Willing to shed a little blood to unlock my writer’s block!