Recently my family celebrated my husband's birthday. We took this opportunity to #pushawaythescreen and do something with the trio that we have been waiting YEARS to do. Take them deep sea fishing.
The sea is a very special place for both James and me. I grew up pretty much living on the Gulf of Mexico, spent my summers at Mote Marine Laboratory, went to college and earned a degree in Marine Biology, worked with Mote Marine Aquarium developing their educational curriculum, worked with top shark biologists on their boats collecting data, and the list just goes on and on. James and I both use the sea as a place to recharge our batteries. To feel connected with Mother Nature, and with each other. In fact, our first date was to the beach.
We've taken our trio fishing to the Skyway Pier and out in our backyard lake, and my Uncle Bobby has taken Ronin out on the bay in Venice, but we've never had the opportunity to take all 3 of them out, way out, fishing.
This is where Hubbard's Marina comes in. I contacted Hubbard's and inquired about fishing trip options. James originally wanted to take the kids for a 12 hour trip. Say what? I pretty much vetoed that, and Hubbard's agreed that for a first time trip, a 1/2 day option was probably our best bet! Not only that but they supplied all the tackle, rods, reel and bait! All we had to do was show up!
We scheduled our trip for a Saturday, leaving the dock at 1pm. Coming from a fishing background I was a bit hesitant that 1pm would be a good time to fish. It just gets so hot, for both the fish and the fishers! But I was assured that the fish would be biting, and that they had an AC galley if anyone needed to cool off!
Everyone was gathered in a waiting area where Ella and Ronin were picked to be the official helpers. They passed out arm bands
We also went over some rules. Did you know that BANANAS are not allowed on fishing boats?? In all my years on boats, I had never heard the banana story before. And wouldn't you know it...I had bananas with me. And beer. And I wasn't allowed to bring my own beer on board either. That's seriously all I had in my cooler. Beer and bananas. Well, and water, grapes and Pringles, but I wasn't going to drag along a 30 gallon cooler just for water. So I took out the water, and rolled my cooler back to the truck.
We boarded the boat, and off we went! Ronin and I headed up stairs (where we were ALONE!!) while James and the girls remained downstairs with everyone else.
Ronin and I had a good time upstairs on the 90 minute or so ride out. Who do you think was the first person to spot dolphins riding and playing in our wake? Yes, ME!
Those beautiful mammals kept us entertained for at least 5 minutes. But the fun was far from over!!
Ronin went and knocked on the captains door and asked if he could come in. Much to my surprise, and to Ronin's delight, the captain said YES!! And he also offered Ronin the opportunity to pilot the boat!
The girls also had their chance, and true to their form, they shared the piloting duties.
But that wasn't all!! Ronin asked if he could use the microphone to wish his daddy a Happy Birthday! Well, first he asked if he could say FREE SNACKS like he did on Jet Blue airlines, but we quickly nipped that idea in the bud! Ella and Ronin each got the opportunity to speak on the mic and they loved it!
The kids loved the ride out to the fishing grounds! Haley went to the front of the boat, put her hands up and yelled "I'm the Queen of this boat." She's such my daughter! Best part...she had NO IDEA I was behind her!
We made it to our destination! We'd be drift fishing which meant we'd just go with the current. It was a very calm day, so we had to move locations a few times, but overall we did very well! Our family caught a total of 12 "keepers" and several that we had to throw back including 2 Red Groupers. I was so hoping for a grouper for dinner. Next time!
James caught the biggest and most unexpected catch of the day! A Spanish Mackerel!
I just love the genuine smiles on all their faces. It made me so happy to see them having so much fun!!
Ronin loved fishing, though the waiting for a fish to bite was difficult for him, but he made friends with the captain and the deck hands, and they made sure he was pretty much always reeling in a fish.
I managed to catch a few myself!
Our time off-shore ended too quickly and we began our trek back to the dock! It was late (past 7pm) by the time we got back to the dock and we were starving! Lucky for us, the Friendly Fisherman restaurant will cook your catch for you! So that's exactly what we did! We had our fish cleaned at the dock, then took them upstairs for dinner! It does not get any fresher than that!
Was there anything I didn't like about the trip? Only one thing. They allowed smoking on the boat. It really sucks when you can't escape from the smokers. That really bothered me and my family. It seemed that everywhere we moved, someone was lighting up a cigarette. Other than that, it was a GREAT day and I would go back in a heartbeat!
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Have you ever heard of the bad luck banana??
Would you like to catch your own dinner?? What's your favorite type of fish to eat??