by Bob Holzhei…….
Six miles out from shore in the waters of the ocean called the Atlantic, aboard a 21-foot Sea Cat center console, the fishing trip of a lifetime began.
The anchor was lowered and shrimp were used as bait on the number one long shanked hook. Even though 25-pound Spider Wire was on the open-faced reel either a Mackerel or Barracuda cut the line. Twelve-pound Flora Carbon, a lighter line was more successful in landing fish. Also, used as bait was Ballyhoo, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces which stayed on the hook longer than the shrimp as they thawed. The last half of the Ballyhoo was butterflied to create a fluttering action to attract fish. No sooner had I lowered the line to bottom when a Billfish rose out of the water without warning; a huge splash followed and only the tail of the fish re-entering the ocean waters was seen. Not only was that image frozen in time, an escort of two separate groups of dolphins surfaced as we boated back to shore.
Friends Ken and Bob invited me on the fishing trip; folks only use first names in the Florida Keys. The 8:00 A.M. departure from Venture Out Resort located in Cudjoe Key aboard a 21-foot center console provided a comfortable ride with only one foot waves.
It wasn’t long after the lines were cast with 25 to 30 foot of line stripped off the reel. The bail was left open and two fingers held the line. When a fish took the bait, it was allowed to run with it, before closing the bail and setting the hook. Our fishing trip began with undersized fish that were boated and released. The first legal Lane Snapper was landed and put in the cooler. We were now in a school of legal sized snappers. A pair of Hogfish added to our catch in the six-hour trip. As mid-day arrived, and Silversides cut into 1 inch pieces were used as chum to entice the fish into biting. The action slowed as 11:00 o’clock announced the arrival of noon, the fishing action earlier in the day was excellent. A total of 15 keepers made for a successful morning in an ocean called the Atlantic, which covers 1/5 of the earth’s surface.
Atlantic is derived from Greek Mythology meaning “Sea of Atlas.” In mythology Atlas was condemned to hold up the sky for eternity.
“According to the Greeks, Atlantis was an island located in the Atlantic Ocean. It was an island paradise that sank into the sea one day. Atlantis was a paradise where no one had to work hard and food was plentiful. The people lived in a golden age of harmony and abundance. As the Gods intermarried with human’s, greed arrived. Angered by the behavior Zeus sent a series of earthquakes that made Atlantis sink into the sea; Paradise was lost.
The Florida Keys are a magical place stretching 113 miles on the highway named U.S. 1. The chain of coral and limestone islands along the route is connected by 42 bridges, one is 7 miles long. The islands were connected with bridges; construction began in 1982. Leapfrogging from Key to Key was a magical journey; the stuff dreams are made of. The breathtaking Caribbean blue waters created a permanent memory.
Often a fishing trip becomes much more than catching fish. While fishing in Paradise, Paradise was found.