Fishing in the Rain

By Jonie Maschek

Watching the boats coming in this week, I saw many big catches. “Big” I mean heavy catches.

Did you ever stop and wonder, if the angler making these catches, works out each day? It takes muscle to survive a heavy catch. We know these guys aren’t couch-potatoes, watching the tube.

Outdoor sports take stamina to endure the inclement weather, such as we have had this week. (I just returned from Washington, D.C., and while in Maryland I had a fire in the fireplace. I couldn’t believe it! It’s June! I took a photo of it to prove that it was true.)

Fish do bite in the rain. Those of you that fish everyday have proven that. You are in shape to stay in the sun all day and are able to withstand the elements of the weather. Casting out a line each day, gives you strength in your arms. But do you have strength in your legs to stand firm when soft mud swishes by in the flats? Or the strength to withstand the water currents which at times can be rough.

I see many anglers launching boats daily. They pull on them and guide them along. That takes strength. One afternoon I saw an angler and his buddy pulling their trailer without a vehicle, and that takes a lot of strength.
Some tell us that casting is a skill and that it doesn’t take strength. Others say they have sore muscles after a day of fishing.

I have decided if you fish regularly, you have strength. It is those who fish now and then who end up with the sore muscles.

I’m sure if we were to ask these guy’s wives how they could get in shape, they would come up with a long list. Perhaps, mowing the lawn, picking up a paint brush, cleaning out the gutters, wash the car and many “honey-do” lists.

I hope during hurricane season anglers will believe that boat cushions can be used as life jackets. You must have the proper life jacket aboard.

Be sure and have your numbers displayed on the right side of your vessel.

If you have a new boat, take awhile to become use to it before going on a long trip.

If you are not a lifetime boater and have decided after retirement to buy a boat I suggest you take a boating course.

Be sure to fill your fuel tank. Know how much fuel you have and don’t use all of it going out. Remember it take a third of tank to go out, a third to runaround and a third to come home. I have seen more than one boat out of gas out there.

Always file a float plan and leave it with someone ashore, or leave it on your car windshield.
Make a complete check off list. Check lights, radio, spare parts, tool kit, paddles, bailer, anchor, all lines and be sure to have an up-to-date fire extinguisher.

If you find yourself in a stressful situation: you or your boat are threatened by grave or imminent danger requiring immediate assistance call the Coast Guard or local sheriff, try channel 16 or use your cell phone. If possible, know your position, location and the problem you are facing. Give them the name of your boat and the registration number.

What you may consider a minor problem often can develop into a situation beyond your control. Contact someone before you have a big emergency.

Fishing has been good this week even in the rain. Those who have braved the weather have come in with fish.
Some have fished from the piers catching sheepshead.

I didn’t see many grouper, but the ones I saw were big. Anglers were staying closer to shore this week.

Other big catches this week were cobia.

Some Spanish mackerel catches were seen.

As always, drum catches in brackish water...were caught after the rain.

The big ones are out there so go after them.

A Bit of History

In 1924 nine snook were caught in two hours, one angler was Lang Atkins of Grange Hall Loop.

In 1940 I was told that live shrimp were sold for 3 for a $1 and in Gibsonton, the first bait shop in the area was opened by the late Jeannie and Al Tomaini. Al was known to everyone as the “Giant” and this is how the bait shop got its name.

Bob Michell was president of the Hillsborough County Tarpon Tournament in 1989. (There are no longer any tarpon tournaments in the county.)

Back 1994 Travis and Zeke Ackroyd were fishing with their Dad, Terry and caught a snook and a jack. The 8.26 pound jack took junior division honors at the snook tournament at Wes Landing. (Wes landing is history.) The Ackroyds are still in Ruskin.

Good advice anytime especially this fourth of July ... If your hands are on the throttle ... Stay away from the bottle.

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