By Jonie Maschek

On this Thanksgiving Day it is time to say thanks, as we gather with our love ones.

Be thankful that you live on the water, remember, “A fish is caught in Tampa Bay everyday.”

As an angler be thankful for the mangroves, as the mangroves are a fisherman’s best friend and we are thankful we still have some of them left.

As all of you know, construction of new homes and people have ballooned upon us.

Everyone needs to help save the mangroves as they are a prime producer in the aquatic food chain. The trees take energy from the sea and sun converting it into organic material. This in turn provides food for the bacteria upon which shrimp-like amphipods feed. Also small bait fish feed on the amphipods. Often in the next cycle bait fish are often eaten by the larger fish.

It is the mangrove that start the cycle. Without them the entire food chain would collapse. The mangroves serve nature in other ways too. This whole area, particularly in the protected section encompasses a haven for exotic and wild birds. All openings in the mangrove shorelines are good bets for snook. Limited catches of snook can be made by using white minnows, floating plugs, spoons, large shrimp or greenbacks or small pinfish.

One great phenomenal aspect of the mangrove is that it continues to claim land from the ocean. This is what the hardy pant does best. Over the years, the mangrove will shore up its share of land in Florida.

Be thankful that you can fish the year round in the Sunshine State.

Be thankful hat you are not cutting a hole in the ice to fish.

Be thankful that you don’t need to fish with layer after of layer of clothes on.

Be thankful that you live in a state almost completely surrounded by water.

Be thankful that you can cook your fish outside almost any day of the week.

Be thankful for the Coast Guard, who comes to your rescue in time of need.

Be thankful for the Florida Game and Wildlife Commission who regulate fish and the waterways.

Be thankful that in November you can fish at night

Be thankful tat your boat doesn’t have to go in storage in September.

Be thankful that you are fishing and not shoveling snow.

Be thankful that we have the best largemouth bass in the nation.

Be thankful that within minutes you can go from saltwater to freshwater fishing.

Be thankful that you have variety of fish all year.

Be thankful that you can live a “laid back life” in Florida.

Be thankful for the bridge, pier and open water fishing.

Be thankful that you don’t need a boat to go fishing.

Be thankful for the charter boats and captains.

Be thankful for the aroma of the sea, the sounds of the birds, the beautiful sunsets, the crystal clear waterways, the tides going in and out, the fish jumping in the air; the sight of redfish feeding in the flats.
Be thankful that you still can cast a nod and bring in a big catch, there are some that no longer can do this.

I hope that part of your thanksgiving feast includes a fish salad or perhaps some baked snook or redfish.
You could stuff mushrooms with flaked fish with a bit of lemon juice, nutmeg, chopped onions, a cup of thick cream mixed with the fish, salt and pepper and 2 tbsp. melted butter. This will fill 24 mushroom caps if you have about a pound of flaked white meat of fish. Cook until mushrooms are tender.

Stay with your family today and if you go fishing — take them with you.

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