Freak On The Beach By Marco – February 2023

I put on five layers of sweatshirts and an outside slicker today, the last day of 2022.

How to get motivated this morning? It’s so cold outside! So I put on the good reggae music, Stick Figure (of course). They’re playing “I Love the Ocean.” Now, if that don’t get you going down there, I don’t know what will. Ya, mon! And, as Jimmy Cliff said, “The harder they come the harder they fall,” and it’s been just like that.

The cold front just hit. It’s the coldest weather in Florida that anyone remembers, down in the 20s. But just before we were ready for them, for two days before the cold blast, the fish were extremely hungry.

I had to hide behind a seawall half the time, the wind was so hard, but the fish didn’t seem to notice. From the first cast, which bent my pole in half, the pompano were fighting to feed. Ya, mon! Ni-i-ice!

After a few minutes I didn’t even notice the cold. My adrenaline was peaking, speed-running from pole to pole! It was on and they were big. Then, all of a sudden, my pole was spinning in the holder! I grabbed it and after a few minutes reeled in a nice black drum. I turned around and my other pole was spinning. After a few more minutes a nice redfish was in the slot. Definitely one of my best days.

I gave a call to my pal Tommy, the fillet master, to sharpen his knives and he was up to the task. He uses an electric fillet knife for the redfish and the black drum. He says it cuts through the scales better. He chooses a regular fillet knife for the pompano, which have no scales.

We are still fishing in front of all the wrecked houses from the hurricanes here in Volusia. It’s a slow process to fix them. And now we have to share the beach with huge trucks, cranes and plows. They’re trying, without much success, to race the ocean, which just keeps taking away what they keep replacing. It’s a very sad situation. The beach ramps, most of them, are still in total disrepair.

There are only a few entrances to get onto the beach, so we do what we can. It’s going to take years to repair the beach, but somehow it’s still beautiful and the place to go if you want to get back to nature.

“The ocean is rebounding. It has cleaned up tremendously, but it just seems like it’s still ticked off…”

The ocean is rebounding. It has cleaned up tremendously, but it just seems like it’s still ticked off. The tides are tremendously higher than they were before the hurricanes, which gives us fewer hours to fish because the high tide comes up to the seawalls. So, there are fewer hours for the workmen to drive their trucks onto the beach. It’s like a race against time, and you know Mother Nature is going to win.

So as the beautiful winter sun starts to set and the temperature goes down, it’s time to wrap up these great days and go home to eat, drink and replenish the super energy we burnt off. It’s time for me and these fish to head to the smoker.
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