Like all men, not being as wise in our younger years, we fail to realize when one of these events is about to occur. So it was with John and I when we decided that we needed to spend all day, all night, and all day the next day fishing out of an eighteen foot open boat. We had all the right reasons for this foray, things like, "the fish bite better at night", and "it will be a lot of fun". Isn't it amazing how we seem to overlook the obvious when we are about to do something really dumb?
I remember in grade school when we were going to "camp out" in the woods next door, we took everything we needed and put all of it in a pillow case, one that to this day, my mother does not know about. "Everything" meant a pound of bacon, the kitchen frying pan, and a whole bunch of candy bars. Why we thought we needed to fry bacon is still beyond me.
In this case, our "everything" included flour, cornmeal, five gallons of oil, salt and pepper, a frying pan, a very old Coleman stove, a huge jar of jalapeno peppers, a box of Ritz crackers, and a ton of Pepsi's. Never did things like forks, spoons or plates enter our mind. All we saw were fresh fish filet's being fried and eaten literally within minutes of being caught. Talk about fresh fish! I can remember saying that over and over to myself.
We left very early; I believe four in the morning rings a bell. We always had to get there early. I think that's because the mosquitoes are always thick early in the morning, and it just wouldn't be fishing without those mosquitoes to complain about. The destination was Flamingo in the Everglades National Park. Flamingo sits right on the tip of Florida and offers access to Florida Bay and all of the estuaries surrounding the tip of Florida.
The day was not unlike other fishing days - nice weather, light wind. Except that I now firmly believe that the fish knew our plan. We were relying on our catch to feed us for three days. "Talk about fresh fish" - remember that phrase?
I guess it was sometime in the afternoon of that first day that John and I finally talked about the impending problem. All through the day as we fished, we each thought about the problem, but neither of us would talk about it. Oh, we talked about a lot of things, but never about the fact that we were not catching any fish! I can't remember whether it was John or myself that decided to broach the subject.
We were back behind Carl Ross Key (it was named Sandy Key at the time) off of marker 9 and 10 and stone crab traps dotted the water as far as we could see. Being very subtle about our situation, I said, "You know, there are crabs in those traps, and they probably would go good with the fish we're going to fry."
John's reply was just as subtle, "Yeah, kind of a nice appetizer."