And that is why Joe’s willing to do whatever it takes (sort of…) to land a big one! This year he hauled his 12-foot, flat bottom-V boat to Florida for the sole purpose of dropping bait, and boy did it work! He reeled in three large sharks (6 ft. plus) this year because of it! We don’t know exactly how big they were because at that moment the goal is to enjoy the fight, get them to shore, and then quickly release them back, unharmed. Because we don’t eat the shark he catches, and I always have a photo opportunity, measuring them has never been a priority. But what was a priority, and a great lesson for me, was how to conquer a fear…in real-time (or is that reel time??? HA!) all because of that little boat.
Though he would not agree- that he conquered anything- I believe he did. If you know Joe or have ever talked to him about ocean fishing, then you know he is TERRIFIED of sharks. Yep…he is very intimidated by those amazing 6 ft. creatures he’s pulling onto the shore. Ironic, right?! And though taking that boat out may not look as if it’s a big deal, believe me, it is! It’s a pretty small vessel when you’re looking at an ocean of water before you. Even when it looked calm enough to me, if it didn’t look like a lake, it was a no-go! One little mishap or “surprise” (like the dolphins that popped up right next to him!) could produce a whole different ending.
The first time was a complete mess…he got into his head instead of the moment, and let it get the best of him; his line ended up into a tangled ball creating a lot more work than he had anticipated. He was not happy! In fact, he was really pissed at himself. He didn’t let it stop him though, he did it again and again and again and saw the fruits of his labor with those three shark he caught, all on dropped bait. Success!
By the time we left Florida’s forgotten coast, he had made numerous trips out in that small boat. He says it never got easier, he felt just as nervous the last time as he did the first. In fact right before we left he went out into rougher water- rougher than he felt “comfortable” doing (you know, it was that now or never mentality- JUST. ONE. MORE. CAST.) and decided that was it. He was done! (As in, “I will never do that again.”)
And so even if in the end he decided taking his little boat out into the big ocean wasn’t for him, he never let his fear stop him from trying it…not even once. What an excellent lesson (at least it was for me). He felt the fear and all the sensations that came with it- racing heart, sweaty palms, shaking etc., proceeded with necessary caution (and a life jacket) and did it anyway. AWESOME!
Most of the fish in the pictures are red and black drum. There’s also a sail cat, a whiting and a blue crab. 🙂