Fishing….the real deal.

Our Dinner Key mooring ball neighbor Tom stopped by today on his dinghy. Earlier in the week, Tom had shared his ‘fresh catch’ with us – a bag filled with raw fish fillets. I cooked it with a lemon herb rub, and we had it for breakfast. Hard to believe this is “fish”. Hands down it’s the most delicious meat I have ever tasted. It had no fishy smell, no fishy taste, firm, white dense meat – and Tom had done a fab job removing all the bones. We made quick work of polishing off this tasty treat. Any disappointment with my sport fishing debut (using a trolling rod) at Boca Chita Key was becoming a distant memory.

“Tom – that fish you gave us was the best fish we’ve ever tasted….what kind of fish was it?” I inquired as Tom pulled up his dinghy next to Cat Maudy. “Baby barracuda…before they become big and poisonous. I catch them when they are less than 4 feet…” Tom explains. I did my darnedest to get past the part where the fish might be poisonous. Time for a quick body scan. Nope, no numbness has set into the limbs…the heart seems to be pumping…and forgetfulness is alive and well. We continue to listen on to Tom’s fishing story.

WARNING: The story you are about to read is gruesome. Unless you are a fisherman.

OK…If you must continue reading….then allow me to paraphrase…

After Paddy and I departed from Boca Chita Key, Tom went out on his dinghy with a real fishing pole (i.e. a “casting rod”). After experimenting with 10 lures – he found one the fish liked. He played a cat-n-mouse game with the fish. If the lure just moved along at a steady pace – the underwater world ignored it. Instead, he’s got the lure hoppin, skippin and jumpin – above and thru the water….and BAM…a barracuda strikes. It’s just the right size barracuda per Tom’s magic eye measuring stick. Tom gaffs the ‘cuda – so that he can bring it into the dinghy. Once the gaffed ‘cuda is on board….Tom opens up his 5 gallon bucket partially filled with water…..and then slits the throat of the ‘cuda….stuffs him in the bucket…puts the lid on, so the beast can bleed to death while he is flailing about. This way, all of the blood bleeds out of the fish while he is alive or nearly dead….and then there is less chance for poison stuff from the blood to mix in with the fillet. Or some reasoning like that. When Tom returns to shore…the fish is fully “drained”….and ready to be sliced and diced for the frying pan. I didn’t ask what happened to the bucket of bloody water.

Eeeeewwwwww. Is this what fishing is about? This does not sound appealing. Tom is almost as excited about fishing, as he is sailing. He and Paddy are discussing future sailing plans on Biscayne Bay – to even better fishing territory. Tom wants to show us the best fishing on the BB – somewhere in the mangroves. I’m already feeling queasy. Maybe I’ll just stick with my trolling rod….with over sized hooks…and no bait. We can watch Tom fish, and let him do the bloody execution ritual. I’ll be happy to just cook any extras he can’t use.

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