The Fish Were Really Biting This Week

By Jonie Maschek

If you fished any this week you probably hooked plenty of good fish. All the boats I saw coming in, the anglers had a great time “just cruising,” but the anglers who were out there fishing had a field-day.

When you have a fish on the line and it is giving you a fight, have you ever wondered how fast it is going on the line? From a chart I have, if you travel out of the Bay into the Gulf, you might hook on to a sailfish that will take the bait at 70 mph. If you are fishing in waters 2 to 6 feet and catch a bonefish, it is a fighting fish with its jerks and jumps but it only travels at a speed of 22 miles per hour.

Tarpon are huge, but not as fast as the sailfish. They are strong as they jump high into the air. They will give anglers a work-out as they soar up and take off at 35 mph. Bass seem hard to catch as they play hide-and-seek under the roots and along the banks and some just won’t take the bait, but really they lumber along at a mere 12 mph. In the flats and grass beds you will can fish for trout who travel along around 23 mph. Shark are not the fastest out here. Sharks are huge in size and one would think they travel at a greater speed but according to the chart, they can only travel at 30 miles per hour.

Would you guess that a common dog fish travels the same speed as a shark? Mullet dance across the water in jumps and one would think they are a fast traveler but they are a slow, slow fish with a speed of 8 mph. This list is called “ The Speed of fish.” Wonder what they will come up with next.

I have seen some poles on the docks unattended. This is a no no ! The law states that “persons must be present at the terminus of the gear.”

It is difficult for some anglers to know where the saltwater ends and the freshwater begins. The law officer will let you know when he sees your catches in the bait well. Anglers must have freshwater and saltwater licenses if they fish the Bay and upper parts of the rivers.

Catching fish is pure enjoyment. When you sit down to the dinner table to a delectable taste of fresh fish and know that you caught that fish it heightens the taste. If the fish is large enough, bake it. Here is a easy method. Leave the head and tail on and take out the insides. Stuff it with a crab dressing or tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and green peppers. When flaky it is ready to eat.

Many anglers filet their fish. This is an art and not everyone can do this without practice. This is removing the bones. I have been told by experts that the first thing anglers must do is have a very thin, sharp knife. Most bait shops sell them.

This time of the year many anglers use the foil wrap cooking process on their outdoor grills. Again you add all of the meal around fish, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and whatever vegetable suits you. Slow cook it over coals for a great flavor.

Don’t ever dry freeze your catch. Some anglers tell me they put their fish in milk cartons and add water. This prevents freezer burn and the fish tastes fresh when thawed.

I hope that everyone commits themselves to ethical angling as the future of this sport depends on it. Help fish stocks increase through catch and release. Limit the take and don’t always take the limit. Ob- serve regulations and report violations. Escape tradition, try fish. Get hooked on fishing’s thrill not alcohol or drugs.

Bring all garbage back to shore. Captains keep boats safely afloat. Show courtesy and respect, don’t neglect others’ rights. Share what you know to help the sport grow. Buy bait in your own town.

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