Published in the April, 1996, GOFC Newsletter
My dad is a fisherman, and he likes to take little kids fishing. Unfortunately I was little and available much of the time -- my sister always seemed to flee to the safety of the kitchen with Mom whenever Dad started loading fishing tackle into the boat.
The fishing trips with Dad were lots of fun. Waking up at 4:30 in the morning is always fun. Then there was the problem of hooking up the boat trailer in the dark. For some reason Dad always made me hold my hands over my ears while he did it.
Soon we were on our way to Cedar Key in a truck so old that Henry Ford probably built it himself. That old truck did, however, have modern conveniences such as heat and air conditioning. A large hole in the floor sent an invigorating blast of cool air up my leg on winter mornings. That same hole provided plenty of heat during the summer.
Approximately forty days and forty nights after leaving home we would arrive at Cedar Key. Launching the boat was much like hooking up the trailer -- I had to stand to one side with my hands over my ears while a crowd gathered. Thanks to help from the onlookers, we soon would be on our way out to sea. The folks at Cedar Key must have been really religious, because I always saw a lot of the onlookers crossing themselves as we left the boat basin.
The weather forecast usually was for light winds and flat seas. Apparently the weatherman determined this by direct observation of the wave height in a mud puddle in Channel 20's parking lot, since the open Gulf would be so rough that even the fish got seasick.
Eventually we would get to the fishing hole. My job at this point was to be the pin cushion. Half an hour later, after Dad removed all the hooks from me, I got to make a cast. Then I would hand my reel to Dad and put my hands over my ears while he picked out the snarled line.
One trip, however, everything seemed to go right. Not once did I have to hold my hands over my ears, the weatherman was amazingly accurate, and even the fish were cooperative. After casting into a school of sea trout, I felt a solid tug on the line. My visions of a fine trout soon were dashed when I saw that it was only a catfish.
Dad unhooked the catfish and called me over to have a closer look at it. He said, "You have to be careful with catfish because they can stick you with these sharp spines in their fins. It really hurts if they get you."
At that moment the catfish made a sudden flop, flew out of Dad's hands, and buried its venomous spine in my thigh with a "thunk" sorta like a dart striking a dart board. My eyes got real big as Dad ripped the fish from my leg and tossed it overboard. I had only had a few words to say . . . "I WANNA GO HOME NNNOOOOOWWWWW!"
Except possibly for the time I poked a blue crab with my big toe, that is one of the most vivid memories of my youth -- and I still have a scar to prove it!
Return to Interesting Articles Page
Return to Main GOFC Menu
This page last updated 3 November, 1996
Charles H. Courtney (email@example.com)