Fishing Can Be a Cure For Stress

By Jonie Maschek

An old saying is “Boy, am I stressed out!” There is a cure for you but it isn’t a doctor and pills. Why not try changing your value system and getting away from the work stress. Try pondering the fundamental questions relating to human experience. You might be out in the deep blue sea, trying to land a tarpon entertaining yourself by watching the playful dolphins. They will play hide-‘n’-seek, will soar in the air like an acrobat and slide across the water with such grace that you would think that they were performing a stage production just for you.

If you happen to see a tarpon, they too, put on a great show. While fishing at night and there happens to be a full moon, they often soar through the air. One can’t help but wonder, how a fish that size could possibly be so graceful.

Have you ever experienced the antics of the manatees? They are huge, but can be found resting near the surface. They take a breath of air about every 3 to 5 minutes, then they drift back to sleep. Often a whole family is floating quietly along just below the surface resting after eating, playing or traveling.

If you cannot find a manatee to view, go to Tampa Electric power plant where you can view them in the wild. In cooler weather they stay near the warm water discharged from the power plant.

Another relaxing sight in the flats is to watching the tails of the redfish high in the air. They have their heads and noses down in the grass eating. Often their tails are swaying back and forth as you enter the flats. Turn off the boat motor, anchor or pole in. If anglers make a lot of noise they get spooked.

A cobia is big. It can entertain sometimes for 45 minutes as it soars in the air. It will nose dive, jump and run. It will give anglers a run for their money. It takes time to outsmart this fish and a lot of patience.

Black tip sharks are strong, graceful swimmers and a challenge to any angler. They often are playing around trying to find a prey to eat. If you hook on to this guy, he will really give you a work out. It often takes two people to bring this one into the boat.

A fun time — but not that easy — is to hook into a school of mangrove snappers. They might be small, but that doesn’t mean that they are a cinch to catch. They are small but mighty and one can have a great day catching them.

Now a sheepshead can aggravate you often more than entertain you. The sheepshead has a very bony mouth making it difficult to set a hook.

Another hard fish to catch is the speckle trout. It has a very soft mouth. It too, may take all your bait before you make a catch. Even though the hook has been set, the trout can release it from the tender tissues of its mouth. Best to have a net at the side of the boat and scoop it up as soon as it gets within arms length.

Jack Osmar of Sun City Center sent us a picture of a hog snapper weighing 19 pounds, 2 ounces. He caught in the Carolina Beach area. It looks like a pig. I have never seen one before. Perhaps one of you anglers have seen one. His son lives up there but visits here often.

I will do more recipes soon. Thanks for all the calls and letters.

Fishing is great, the weather is cooler, so drop a line and catch a fish.

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