Friday, January 21, 2022

The lure of the backwaters

This is the view that greets Capt. Jay on his way to work every day.

This is the view that greets Capt. Jay on his way to work every day.

If the fishing conditions of late February were a Perry Mason plot it could aptly be called, “The Case of the Missing Water,” a “who done it” and “where did it go” mystery.

This is historically the season of extremely low tides. When the low tides are compounded with the existing northeast winds we have been experiencing, the small creeks, rivers and bays of the backwaters look more like grazing land than our accustomed pristine sparkling blue water with fish “a jumping.” Pity the hapless angler that runs tight aground on a low outgoing tide and expects the never coming incoming to get him going again.

While it is true that low water can cause boating problems, it also means there are fewer places for the fish to hide.  Happy is the angler upon locating a deep channel or hole into which the fish have been forced to go by the receding waters. However, before success is to be celebrated, it is important to remember to approach the potential dinner time meal judiciously and with thought.

Remembering the frigid winter we had in February, I am glad it has passed and that March is here. Southwest Florida, like most of the country, has experienced colder than normal temperatures for this time of year. Most fish, in the cold water, slow their metabolic rate, thus, eat less and minimize their movement.  Warmer weather is on the horizon, though, which means those fish are going to be hungry after their winter hibernation.

Trout have been the mainstay of action lately with an occasional redfish or pompano yielding to the lure.

My good friend and occasional visitor to our area, Dan Culbertson, spent an afternoon looking

Dan Culbertson

Dan Culbertson

for redfish and found a reputable specimen that went to dinner with us both.

I stumbled on an easy and delicious method of cooking mild flavored fish.  I use this recipe mostly for trout but any fish that’s not oily would be a good candidate.


Place your boneless fish filets in a glass bowl. Sprinkle the filets with dried crumbled thyme leaves. Sprinkle to taste. I personally like an abundance of thyme. Squeeze the juice from a lime over the filets and add a little dry white wine. Cover the dish.  Marinate in the fridge for about an hour. Cook by sautéing them in a non-stick skillet. Add a small dab of butter and a little olive oil. Bon Apetite!

And now for the rest of the story

I recently read where researchers in Germany have concluded that the risk of heart attack may be as much as 50% greater on Mondays than any other day. Reading between the lines I propose that it is stress related from work that causes unhealthy lives, which is one more argument for putting that ‘gone fishing’ sign on your office door.

Well, even though it isn’t Monday, I’m going to take my ‘precious heart’ out for a fishing trip. There’s a small creek that empties into a river that’s close by and it is a great place to spend an afternoon to hide from a cold wind.  I wish you could go with me.  The tide should turn just about the time I get there.

Remember to conserve our waters and all other resources; take only what you need and take a kid fishing.

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