Windy Day Fishing and a Tow with a Tale of Woe
September 12, 2012: This was a solo trip by Capt. Jimmy on a windy but moderate day in the late summer of 2012. I piloted the white Rhino to the first drop to give it a go for some sheepshead with a bucket of fiddlers. A bluff with many dead trees in the water was the destination of this first try. The tide had started out with a vengeance but the water was clear, so I tied to a branch on a dead oak and commenced to drop fiddlers over the side. The wind picked up and caused the boat to swing around notwithstanding the rush of the tide. It was soon apparent to me that the conditions were just not conducive to fishing for sheepshead. So I motored to another nearby drop to try for trout. The conditions there were no better than the first drop. The wind was the really bad factor that proved to be the killer of this effort. Overnight my bait in two float buckets had expired much to my chagrin. So bait was a consideration as the day wore on. I made two attempts for bait at near low water and ended up with a bakers dozen shrimp and many finger mullet from three inches to a respectable eating size. A number were in the four inch range. The mullet were abundant while the shrimp were concentrated in small pods. I slipped into a sheltered cove that I often fish and fished on the last of the outgoing tide. With a good sized shrimp I nailed a nice redfish almost immediately via a float rig and thought the bite was on. Strike after strike produced no fish as the pesky yellowtails moved into the area. They did consume most of the shrimp in short order. I decided to try the finger mullet and put one on a bottom rig with a ¾ ounce egg sinker and a number two Owner circle hook by way of a fishfinder rig. Now the mullet was a bit large for trout or so I thought. It was a full four inches and I hoped to net a large gator trout. I put the rod into the rod holder while I continued to float fish for bass (redfish). About five minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I noted a twitch of the rod tip and grabbed the rod to discover that a fish was on. He was a good one but not a monster by the feel of it. Soon enough I boated a nice one that just made the thirteen inch cut. Into the cooler he went with the sixteen inch red. One more would make supper for the three of my clan. Accordingly, I baited another to the bottom rig and cast in the same area. I put the rod into the holder and tried for reds again. No much later, the rod bent this time with a more substantial fish. He gave me a good tussle and I grabbed the net for this one. I netted him and took a photo of it on the cockpit sole. By then I was out of bait, again and called it a day. But this adventure was not over for me on this mild albeit wind blown day. Near the entrance of my home creek, I came upon a skiff with a beefy young man who had his motor elevated and was near the marsh edge. I slowed in accordance with the hundred foot rule and saw that he was in trouble. I pulled up to his vessel and cut my motor. I asked him if he needed a tow. He said yes since the motor would not go down. I asked it he had a tow line since it is best to use the line of the towed vessel. That way you do not lose your line in the process. It took about twenty minutes to bring him to the landing. I saw him take a phone camera photo of me towing his vessel so I did the same and then shot a short segment of video of the tow. My wife and resident daughter were on my dock waiting for a fishing report and were regaled with a tale of woe, which was too real to be a fictional account. When the boater told me that he had an unbelievable day, I told him that I had been there and done that. He allowed that no I had not and told us his story. It seems that he had just bought this boat and this was his first time out in it. His wife declined to go on this shakedown cruise with him much to her credit, as you will see. At the mouth of the feeder creek there is a big bar that he wanted to shrimp from and he beached the boat on it, way above the tide line, so he thought. With his trusty net he traversed the bar and cast for mostly mullet with only a couple of shrimp for his effort. Shortly, he looked around for his skiff and saw that it was no where to be seen. He looked around the general area and spied the skiff afloat in the main river bound for the far bank. His heart sank and he discarded his net and started to swim out into the river after it without a second thought. He then realized that the wind was taking the skiff one way while the current was taking him in the other direction. He did not fight the tide but went with it to the other shore while he had the strength to swim. His boat came to the other bank about a hundred yards from his position. He knew that he had to get to it and was able to walk in the edge of the shore to it but was exhausted for his effort. At least he had the boat back. By and by he recovered and decided to continue this quest for a shrimp dinner. He went back into the feeder creek where the motor was raised to facilitate casting but when he was done it would not go back down. That is where I came along and now you have the rest of this tale of woe. He allowed that he texted his wife and sent her a picture of my vessel towing his. He said that he would tell her that the two shrimp he had would be their supper. The lesson of this story is that you should always lay your anchor on the bar before you go ashore from your vessel! P/S: I did not give him my name nor did he offer his, but did thank me profusely. I told him that I was sure that he would do the same for me if the need ever arose. He said, Yes sir, I will.