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Fishtales

Snook Season Open Sept. 1
By Jonie Maschek
Aug 28, 2008 - 8:51:13 AM

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Fishing has not been great this week because of hurricane Fay, which turned into a tropical storm. Our waterways became muddy,waves were high and fish were exit­ing to safer territories. They ­often sense a storm coming and look for food prior, and then look for deep holes or safe shelter in the roots of the mangroves.

Fishing will not be normal for several days after the storm. The water also will be cloudy for several days and the fish will have a difficult time finding food. It might be a good time to fish, ­after the storm, as the fish will be hungry.

If you have a lure that can be seen in dirty water, it might work, or a good chum that will have a scent that will draw them to you. I wouldn’t venture too far out in the deep, as it is hurricane season. You perhaps will encounter a high wind, which prevails after a storm.
Jonie Maschek Photo Before the storm


This is a good time to catch sailcats, but I don’t eat them. I saw one angler landing a few from a pier and he said he skinned them, soaked them in milk before frying and they were good.

After most storms you will catch a lot of what we call ‘trash fish,’ dogfish, stingrays, blowfish, puff fish and toadfish, to name a few. Some say that a stingray is not a trash fish, and perhaps it is not. I have heard a story many times that scallops are made from their wings, and people cannot tell the difference.

I often order scallops and if they are large and perfectly round, I am sure they are not really a scallop that came from a shell. What do you think?

A number of people dig scallops on the east side of the Longboat Key bridge out of Bradenton Beach and when the scallops come out of the shell, they are not a perfectly round shape. Some have uneven edges. I used to dig scallops and clams in the south waters of the Little Manatee, but all shellfish, including blue crabs in this area, have depleted.

Freshwater catfish are a great tableware and are plentiful  in the upper waters of the Little Manatee and Alafia Rivers. I was told that they are not hiding, but looking for food after the storm and some hefty catfish have graced dinner tables this week. You do need a freshwater fishing license to fish the upper parts of the rivers. Don’t be caught up there with only your saltwater license.

Not one, but many calls and e-mails have come across my desk in regard to the Legend of the Crucifix Fish, which I mentioned in a previous column, but did not print. I only mentioned that a Florida Card about a catfish was made in Ireland. I have had this card for twenty years.

The Crucifix Fish
Of all the fishes in the sea
Our Lord chose the lowly sailcat
to remind us of his misery.
His body on the cross is outlined,
the hilt of the sword
which plunged into his side
is clearly defined.
Look at the back of the fish’s bone
where the Roman shield is shown.
When you shake the bone
you will hear the dice being tossed
for our Lord’s blood-stained dress,
those who can hear them
will be blessed.
            Author: Conrad S. Lantz

A ‘Fish Tale’ from Sun City Center: Deyanira Schierenback tells me that while at Clearwater Beach swimming, she was standing up bracing herself from the waves when a big cobia sailed between her legs and just kept on going. She did not know what kind of fish it was, but was told by the other swimmers. You were lucky Deyanira, as it might have been a shark.

I saw on the tube this week where an angler took his best friend, a dog, fishing with him and he noticed a fish line hanging from his mouth, and the triple hook he had beside him was gone. He stopped fishing, rushing his dog to the vet and his best friend was operated on. Yes, they found the hook, and the little dog was cut from under his chin to his tail and full of stitches when he went back fishing with his master.

Reports of no reds this week; they too have found a place to hide. Our waterways will be back to normal when the wind settles down; it will start to clear and all fish will come out of hiding.

Get ready for snook season, opening Sept. 1.

This might be a good time to clean out your tackle box while you wait for the change in weather.

-- Aleta Jonie Maschek is a ­member of Florida Outdoor Press­.














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