Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting back to my roots - Stuart Florida

Shaky, Shaky,Shaky.........

In the beginning of April I started a two week journey back down to Stuart Florida for some R&R and to do some fishing.  I packed up my Explorer with all my fishing gear, tying stuff, my bike and a few changes of cloths and headed south about 1,200 miles.   This trip was something I wanted to do for a few years and brought back a lot of memories.  In the late 80's I was fortunate to attend Florida Institute of Technology located in Melbourne that is only a hour drive from Stuart.  Stuart is were my love for fishing developed and has been strong since then.  I was also fortunate that my parents had a place in Stuart that I could stay.

In the late 80's through most of the 90's I fished a lot and started what is now a life long journey to have that perfect day or evan minutes on the water doing what I love so much.  In Florida I would have been tossing a new plastic bait from D.O.A. or the latest Mirror Lure MR52 or Red Tailed Haws at anything that moved.  I would spend hours talking with Henry at the Snook Nook in Jensen Beach and also throwing some Jumbo Shrimp that he sold in hope of getting that monster Snook.  I was at times the typical tourist making 1,000 casts at every mullet splash thinking it was a big Snook or Trout or  Redfish.  It was slow learning because communication as we know it was just in its infancy.  You relied on a tied chart and talking to people face to face or reading a paper plotter and mapping out you LORAN position on a chart.  Depth, bearing, water temperature, swell direction, wind and distance were all we knew.  Frequent visits to the beach or the sea wall and observing what was happening was key.  We used the Internet in the late 80's to send text messages to other Computer Science Students in Germany and the Netherlands and BBS's were still being accessed with 300 baud modems if you were lucky to get a free phone line.  We did not have the ability to send pictures and a realtime response was measured in hours or days not seconds like it is now.  Cell phones were starting to gain popularity and the Motorola Start-TAC Flip phone would not be released until the mid 90's.  Now, give me an iPhone and Cellular service and I can do anything from getting tides, current flows, water temperatures, realtime weather direction, satellite images of where I am fishing, Doppler Radar.  Everything we need to know to go fishing now.  Now you can stream live video of a fish you a fighting to your friends instead of catching up with them at the local bar and sharing a drink and tell them about it.
During this trip I was able to spend three days on a flats boat with a longtime friend and fantastic person Captan Ed Zyac.  Ed grew up in the Stuart area and has fished the waters for many years.  Ed spends over 200 days on the water either guiding, working with various manufactures and people in the industry or fishing and scouting out new areas to fish.    I met Ed almost 15 years ago and I have been having the pleasure of sharing his boat a few times a year.  When we first met it was all about numbers, spending all the time on the front of the boat and casting for hours on end.  I would have an agenda of what I wanted to do and he would try to make it happen.  As long as it had a gills I was happy.  Over the years it is now more about talking about our families and catching up with each other.  The discussions about fishing are more in depth and encompass things like conservations and the stability of the the fishing grounds.  We also get to fish places we fished a long time ago and tell stories about catching this or that and laughing about.  The agenda now is being set by the wind, water and tied.  
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1 comment:

  1. Brad:

    I know nothing about fishing and it is not an activity that I enjoyed when my father and I would go as a kid but I loved this piece. While it is not something I do, I totally picked up the vibe of why you do it and what you get out of it. Great stuff.