The Fishery is Closed!
Well I haven’t posted in a while. If you have been watching the national news you may know why. The Gulf coast of Florida, from Sarasota to Naples, is facing a heart breaking natural disaster. And get this: its a double barrel assault.
Red tide moved inshore back in November and has steadfastly refused to give up! Incredible my friend. Red tide would normally be a problem for a few weeks. It has now been here almost a year. To that menace we also have toxic blue-green algae flowing down the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee. That slimy poisonous mess exits out near Sanibel Island where in just two weeks time over 300 tons of dead sea life washed up on the beach. Disgust, a real crime.
Right now its breeding time for both snook and reds, so the fishery for both has been closed until further notice.
Another Shot at “Tailing” Reds
Rain Clouds in the Distance
The rain to our immediate southeast had slid offshore and the breeze was dropping with the light. Coupled with it we had a ebbing tide about to turn. You got to love it. Things were set for another shot at “tailing” redfish.
About 7pm, the three of us hopped in Dave’s boat and flew out to the flats. Water temperatures were high, likely pushing toward 90 degrees, but its August after all and one just has to grin and bare it. Six or seven minutes later, we slid up on the sandbar and tossed out the anchor. Time for the magical mystery tour to begin.
Dave’s Tailing Redfish
After grabbing gear, the three of us disembarked, fingers crossed that the angling gods would shine down on us. Andy headed right, I waded forward and Dave went left. The water on the flat was a fair bit lower than we expected. And there were no “tails” to be seen. Bummer. As the sun dipped down to the horizon, our chances were fading fast. But just at last light, Dave found two “tailing” reds. I’ll bet they arrived with the cooler incoming tide. Bingo. Yes, good old Dave scored as usual. No wonder they call him the “fish whisperer”!
Blue Green Algae in Charlotte Harbor ?
Yesterday I spent part of the day in the kayak. Water temperature? 88 degrees plus. No surprise I guess; July was the hottest July ever recorded in these parts. As you can imagine the fishing was painfully slow. Nonexistent.
Blue Green Algae?
Later on, a guide boat came by and chummed the water near me for 30 minutes without raising a single fish for his clients! Yikes, that was an powerful omen to head back to port, but on the way I saw something strange. No it wasn’t red tide again, thank God. It was small amounts of what appeared to be blue green algae? Or at least that is what I believe it might to be. Could be wrong, however. For one thing its not the bright green color you see on the evening news.
Blue green algae against the Kayak ?
With a southerly wind and a rising tide, conditions were ripe for pulling in water from the Fort Myer coast. Blue green algae is a major issue over there. When I got back to the ramp, I found the stuff in the kayak scuppers. Sure looks like algae of some sort. Hopefully this isn’t the start of a something that gets worse here in the Harbor. Right at the moment, whatever it is its pretty minor.
Crap in the Kayak Scuppers
A Week of Tides, A Week of Wind
Last week we were on the building side of a full moon, and along with it came low tides in the evening. Adding to the suspense, there were very few late day thunderstorms as well. Some fine fishing for “tailing” reds was in the making. Yet it wasn’t to be.
All week a stationary low sat right over us. Rare doings. Yeah the front helped keep the thunderstorms away, but it also supplied a steady diet of strong west winds that killed any chance of seeing “tailers”. Gotta say it was disappointing to no end.
Redbreast 12 Year Old, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
The good tides are returning. By Sunday they will arrive, and if the winds cooperate and the storms stay silent, it will be again time to stalk the flats for “tailing” reds. Love it. While I wait for the moon, however, allow me to digress to an elixir every man appreciates – good whiskey.
Note I said whiskey with an “e”. Its not that I have anything against Scotch whisky, but the word is more often spelled with an “e” across the planet than without. Hence I have simply sided with the majority. By preference I like bourbon. Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve are two of the best and easily found nearly everywhere. Conversely Jack Daniels is found everywhere too yet is a poorly made American whiskey often mixed with Coke Cola to hide the flaws. But rather than go on about bourbon, lets cross the pond to discuss the virtues of a fine Irish whiskey.
A favorite of mine is Redbreast from County Cork. It is expensive, costly enough that I rarely have it in the house. A shame that. There are a several variations of Redbreast available, but in this post I refer to Redbreast 12 year old. Made in copper pot stills, it is, like all Irish whiskey born of both malted and unmalted barley and then triple distilled. (To my knowledge triple distillation is rarely done outside of Ireland.) Next it comes of age slowly in sherry oak casks, resulting in a wonderfully smooth whiskey of the highest order, a sensual delight on the palate, smooth, gentle, buttery, apricot and honey-like.
In closing, permit me to add this thought. Many aficionados feel adding a splash of water to a good whiskey is a mortal sin. Let them live in error if they must, but science has shown that a dash of water actually helps release the favor of a whiskey. How can that be? Well the flavor molecules are bound to the whiskey’s alcohol. The splash of water allows more alcohol to rise to the top of the glass bringing the flavor with it. Nice. Ice? Another mine field. But an ice cube just adds water slowly permitting the whiskey’s favor to evolve in the glass over time. Drink up my friends.